We booked the whale watching, salmon bake for 2:30pm. arrived at meeting spot by 1:45, only to be told at 2:25 that it was cancelled. Found a kiosk that took us whale watching at 2:30, but boat was very small and crowded, so they transferred us to a larger private group. Stressful day, but whales and eagles were worth it.
With 3 other ships in it was very crowded. We tendered, but that was not a problem. If you did not go out of town all you saw were souvenir stores, all with the same junk. We took the duck tour to get out of town, which was ok.
Again, tour operator overbooked, so tried to separate our group. After some complaining and delay, got put with another driver, and rest of day was wonderful! Spectacular scenery, great driver.
Had pre-booked a private guide, but there are lots of excellent tax's that can be rented by the hour or day. Did a "city tour" which was actually a nice drive through some beautiful residential neighborhoods along the water. Spent a little over an hour at Butchart, which was wonderful, but all that we needed. As we only had a short time in port (we left at 2pm) we also wanted to visit a winery. Went to Church & State when they opened, and it was great! We were the only ones there, and they did alot of extra stuff for us. As we thought we had time, guide also took us to DeVine Winery, which was beautiful. An antique car club was there for an extra treat. However, we kept stressing time and got back to the ship closer than we would have liked (we arrived 1:15 for 1:30 all-aboard for 2pm sailing). Later found out 3 did miss the ship!
Beautiful gardens, hasn't changed much in 20 years!