Victoria  is a shopper’s delight. Most shops and all major department stores are generally open Monday–Saturday 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and stay open for late-night shopping Thursday and Friday nights until 9 p.m. The touristy shops around the Inner Harbour  and along Government Street are all open on Sunday. The bottom end of Government Street, behind the Fairmont Empress , is where you’ll pick up all those tacky T-shirts and such.
Farther up the street are more stylish shops, such as James Bay Trading Co. (1102 Government St., 250/388-5477), which specializes in native arts from coastal communities; Hill’s Native Art (1008 Government St., 250/385-3911), selling a wide range of authentic native souvenirs; and Cowichan Trading (1328 Government St., 250/383-0321), featuring Cowichan sweaters.
In Old Town, the colorful, two-story Market Square courtyard complex was once the haunt of sailors, sealers, and whalers, who came ashore looking for booze and brothels. It’s been jazzed up, and today shops here specialize in everything from kayaks to condoms. Walk out of Market Square on Johnson Street to find camping-supply stores and the interesting Bosun’s Locker (580 Johnson St., 250/386-1308), in business for over half a century and filled to the brim with nautical knick-knacks.
Don’t be put off by the touristy location of Munro’s Books (1108 Government St., 250/382-2464 or 888/243-2464). It holds a comprehensive collection of fiction and non-fiction titles related to Victoria , the island, and Canada in general. In seaside Oak Bay, Ivy’s Bookshop (2188 Oak Bay Ave., 250/598-2713) is a friendly little spot with a wide selection that ranges from local literature to current bestsellers.