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Clawsworth

Victoria, BC

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I was accepted at UVic and was wondering if anyone could tell me more about the city. Specifically, I am looking for housing that will accommodate my husband, pet bird, and myself close to UVic. I was also wondering about good organic grocery stores in the area and possibly vegan restaurants nearby. Any other information is greatly appreciated as well -- shopping centres, good and bad neighbourhoods, and interesting things to do in the area. (We are not into bars or clubs, but would be interested in art galleries, drama theatres, and orchestras.)

More generally, what do you think of the city? Thanks!

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I was accepted at UVic and was wondering if anyone could tell me more about the city. Specifically, I am looking for housing that will accommodate my husband, pet bird, and myself close to UVic. I was also wondering about good organic grocery stores in the area and possibly vegan restaurants nearby. Any other information is greatly appreciated as well -- shopping centres, good and bad neighbourhoods, and interesting things to do in the area. (We are not into bars or clubs, but would be interested in art galleries, drama theatres, and orchestras.)

More generally, what do you think of the city? Thanks!

Hello! I grew up there and still visit often. Congrats on the acceptance!

• The city itself is absolutely stunningly pretty. Gorgeous views, tree-lined boulevards, tidy little houses, parks everywhere, mountains and water and trees. Very moderate climate: no extreme temperatures at all. UVic itself is a very pleasant campus for the most part. Nice gardens around it, and sunny fields. Lots and lots and lots of rabbits.

• Organic food is easy to find. Most of the supermarkets have local/organic sections. Specifically organic grocery-stores: Planet Organic and LifeStyle Market. Another good bet is the Market on Yates.

• The vegetarian/vegan-ish restaurants I can think of are downtown: ReBar, Lotus Pond, and Green Cuisine. There's lots of great Japanese food, too, if you're into that.

• Sketchy-ish areas: not many! I'd stay away from Fernwood (roughly the rectangle formed by Blanshard, Bay, Fernwood, and Pandora) and some parts of Esquimalt. Downtown can be a little gritty (avoid Pandora between Cook and Douglas), but only a little. Nothing questionable even close to the University; it's surrounded by desirable neighbourhoods (with a beach down the hill on one side).

• Art galleries: the main one is the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Most of the rest are little local ones such as the Winchester Galleries.

• Theatres: the Royal Theatre and the McPherson Playhouse are the two main ones. Smaller: Belfry Theatre.

• The city orchestra is the Victoria Symphony. and there's also an opera company, Pacific Opera Victoria. Otherwise at the Royal and McPherson (and the local arena, the Save-on-Foods Centre) you find all sorts of plays, musical groups, musical theatre productions, comedy, and more. Lots of visiting performers.

• Other things to do: I'd just Google around looking for these! Gardens, bookstores, quirky gift-shops, parks/hiking/lakes, ocean beaches, shopping downtown, shopping at malls, golf courses, historic sites, the Royal British Columbia Museum and IMAX theatre, sailing, paddling, etc. Never a shortage of things to do!

• Anyway, yeah. As you might be able to tell, I'm pretty darn fond of my hometown. * laughs * The only problem I have with Victoria is that (along with most of the Pacific Northwest) its winters are miserable. They're not cold, but they're incessantly dreary and it can really drive you crazy. Sometime in October it clouds over for the winter, and then it pretty much just stays that way until April or May. And it's most likely raining at any given time before then. Seeing the sun in the winter is unusual, and seasonal affective disorder is a big problem. If you don't like rain, invest in some good lighting for indoor light-therapy. On the flip-side, the summers are just gorgeous: almost always sunny, never humid, never too hot, and always with a nice little sea-breeze.

So...yeah! Good luck with any decisions! I can't help much when it comes to housing, but if you have any other questions, let me know!

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Thank you! Your post was incredibly helpful. :) It sounds like a great place and I can't wait to move there!

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Thank you! Your post was incredibly helpful. :) It sounds like a great place and I can't wait to move there!

You're welcome! Happy to go on and on about the city like that. * laughs * Feel free to send me a message anytime if any other questions come up!

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Can anyone tell me what the music scene is like in Victoria? I really love going to shows, and I would hate to give that up if accepted to UVic.

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Would you say that Victoria is more of a small town or a city? I haven't been to Victoria since I was 12 or so, and I really just cannot remember the feel of the place.

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Would you say that Victoria is more of a small town or a city? I haven't been to Victoria since I was 12 or so, and I really just cannot remember the feel of the place.

I grew up there, and it's definitely a "city" now. I think the population (including all the 'burbs) is around 300,000.

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Which places would you recommend living in around U of Victoria? Something close to campus that also isn't far from a grocery store? Something close to downtown would also be nice.

Is Victoria mostly flat or does it have a lot of hills?

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I love the idea of going to UVic for grad school. Even though it's no where near the highest ranked program I am applying for, the department seems right on with my interests and Victoria in general seems amazing.

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@abc Have you checked out google street view to see how hilly the area around the University is? That would be my suggestion!

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It's not a "hilly" city. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the flattest of the flat, and 10 being San Francisco, Victoria is about a 4 (imho, of course!). I grew up there, and the hills are there, but not everywhere. You can easily bike/walk anywhere. LOL

Edited by Andsowego

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It's not a "hilly" city. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the flattest of the flat, and 10 being San Francisco, Victoria is about a 4 (imho, of course!). I grew up there, and the hills are there, but not everywhere. You can easily bike/walk anywhere. LOL

I actually just got back from visiting there! The people there kept talking about how hilly Victoria is, but it's got nothing on Seattle. I'll be fine! :P

Thanks for your input! You have been so helpful.

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Hi everyone,

 

I recently accepted UVic's offer and will be heading off to do my MA there in September. I'm wondering if anyone has advice and info about living in Victoria. I am from Alberta so I know a little about the city and have been there when I was younger, but I'm a little lost in terms of where to live. Ideally, I would like a place that is close to the University (whether walking distance or on a good bus route, as I'm not sure I will have my car there), and maybe not too far from downtown. Affordability is a big must, as I'm sure all you grad students know. I'm not the kind of person that goes out on the town a lot, but I don't want to be isolated, either. 

 

If anyone who lives or has lived there has any helpful info about different neighborhoods, price ranges ,etc., that would be awesome! 

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I don't know how to link to the post, but if you search in the forum you will find a discussion on Victoria, some of it is insightful, some of it not so much.

 

I am also considering accepting an offer from UVic, the campus is supposed to be beautiful.  

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I am also considering accepting an offer from UVic, the campus is supposed to be beautiful.

 

Any time I tell a professor I am going to UVic, this is the first thing they say. I was only accepted last Friday and live in NY, so I wasnt able to visit before accepting the offer, so this sort of feedback makes me even more excited.

 

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Hi everyone,

 

I recently accepted UVic's offer and will be heading off to do my MA there in September. I'm wondering if anyone has advice and info about living in Victoria. I am from Alberta so I know a little about the city and have been there when I was younger, but I'm a little lost in terms of where to live. Ideally, I would like a place that is close to the University (whether walking distance or on a good bus route, as I'm not sure I will have my car there), and maybe not too far from downtown. Affordability is a big must, as I'm sure all you grad students know. I'm not the kind of person that goes out on the town a lot, but I don't want to be isolated, either. 

 

If anyone who lives or has lived there has any helpful info about different neighborhoods, price ranges ,etc., that would be awesome! 

 

Congratulations on coming to UVic!

 

Affordability and Victoria don't really mix well as far as housing and accommodations go. Coming from Alberta you will find housing to be shockingly expensive (unless you're used to living in downtown Calgary), so either be prepared to pay $900-1200+ for a one-bedroom (less for something like a basement suite), or think of looking for roommates if you need to live for less. Here's a link to a listing of off-campus housing maintained by UVic: http://housing.uvic.ca/ads/index.php?a=19  

 

As for where to live? Anything in Oak Bay, Victoria proper (which includes the neighbourhoods of James Bay, Fairfield, Rockland, Fernwood, and many others) or the Southern reaches of Saanich and Gordon Head will keep you within a reasonable bus ride or bike to campus. UVic has one of Victoria Transit's (the bus system) major terminuses with nearly a dozen different routes serving it. Commuting-wise, avoid anything advertised as in the "West Shore" communities of Langford, Colwood, and Metchosin; these bedroom communities (think Sherwood Park in Edmonton, but not quite as far, but no real highways to get you into town or UofA) will all involve a 1hr or more commute by bus . Personally, I would also avoid anything from Esquimalt, View Royal, or Vic West as they are not always the nicest neighbourhoods and will be a bit of a pain as far as commuting goes. This is just my personal opinion as someone who grew up here in Victoria, though others may have different positive experiences.

 

Once you've finalized your application with UVic, you could try contacting your department's graduate secretary to see if there are any other incoming grad students who are looking for housing. They might be able to pair you up with someone.

 

@sdt13 and YotG

 

It is indeed a beautiful campus, especially in the summer and late fall. It is, however, a relatively new University (founded only in 1963 I think) and many of it's main buildings were built in the Canadian institutional brutalist style, with plenty of concrete slabs and stucco in the older buildings. There has been a slow progression of new buildings, with the Social Science and Mathematics (SSM) building completed in the last 5-10 years being quite a nice, modern setting. 

 

PS: YotG, have you been accepted into the Economics MA at UVic, or will you be studying resource economics at another department? If you're in Economics try to get to know C.G. van Kooten, he's our main resource economics person, as well as Daniel Rondeau who does resource/environmental with a lot of game theory mixed in.

Edited by Exocet

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@exocet

Thanks for the info about the city and neighbourhoods! It's helpful to know which ones will be convenient and which won't. Now I'm just hoping I don't have too much trouble finding a place!

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PS: YotG, have you been accepted into the Economics MA at UVic, or will you be studying resource economics at another department? If you're in Economics try to get to know C.G. van Kooten, he's our main resource economics person, as well as Daniel Rondeau who does resource/environmental with a lot of game theory mixed in.

 

I have been accepted into the MA program, paid my deposit on Friday so I guess it's happening!  I was considering emailing van Kooten, Rondeau, and I think there were a couple of other profs (but I may be thinking of another school) over the summer.  Just to put some feelers out there regarding supervisor potential.  Thanks for the tip though.

 

Are you in the MA program? (feel free to pm me if you don't want too much of your info to be on public display)

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Hi everyone, 

I currently live in the East Coast of Canada (New Brunswick). I want to attend the counselling psychology program at the University of Victoria. I love Vancouver Island and it is my dream to live there--in spite of how expensive it may be to do so. I am wondering: If I get accepted to their program and complete my Masters (and perhaps PhD) at the University of Victoria, is it likely that I will be able to stay and find permanent residence on the Island? 

 

Thanks so much everyone!

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