ASLO 2018 Summer Meeting

Optional Activities

We are working on organizing ASLO-exclusive activities.  If you mention the ASLO Summer Meeting – you, should be afforded the ASLO group rate, or you can enter the ASLO promo code provided. Planned activities range in size, accommodating from 10 to 75 people.  To allow the greatest selection of excursions and time flexibility, links to the specific websites will be provided.  Participants will be able to make reservations and provide payment once on the selected page.

Butchart Gardens Tour

This landmark is synonymous with Victoria, British Columbia, and no visit is complete without experiencing this transformed one-time quarry site.  Created in 1904, over 55 acres of stunning gardens and grounds are featured.  Spend a leisurely day enjoying the seasonal offerings of this world-class site.  Several dining options are available on site, from snacks to lunch and dinner in comfortable, casual environments.

Butchart Gardens are located just 40 minutes from Victoria’s Inner Harbor.  CVS Tours provides round-trip transportation, as well as admission to the Gardens.  With frequent departures from The Empress Hotel (beginning at 9:00 am) transportation to and from the Gardens is provided on a daily basis.  Enjoy the flexibility of choosing from one of many available return times on the direct and express motor coach.

CVS Tours provides transportation via motor coaches and knowledgeable staff.  Information and reservations for the Butchart Gardens tour (and other excursions) are available via, with the designated conference online promo code of ASLO2018.

Whale Watching and Butchart Gardens

What a combination!  Begin the afternoon with a whale watching adventure (see more information in the Whale Watching Excursion section), then transition to a tranquil tour of Butchart Gardens (full details noted in the Butchart Gardens section, above) in the evening. This will be quite spectacular on Saturday, 16 June, as a special fireworks display ends the evening at the Gardens.

Prince of Whales Tours and CVS Tours partner to provide these two outings.  Departure will be from the Inner Harbor on a high-tech vessel.  After the whale watching adventure, you will be taken to Butchart Gardens, arriving at their private dock.  Then, enjoy a relaxing evening at the Gardens, returning to The Empress Hotel via a CVS motor coach.  Complete details and reservations are available via the sign-up link that will be provided.

Whale Watching and Marine-Wildlife Excursions

Explore the rich Salish Sea and experience the natural side of British Columbia via water.  Prince of Whales Tours provides the best vantage point to view many marine species – each outing provides its own special show!  Explore the Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca in search of the majestic wildlife, including assortment of sea birds and several different species of whales. While waterproof suits are provided for those venturing on the Zodiac-style craft, windbreakers, sweaters, long pants and closed-toes shoes are recommended attire for the comfort of all passengers.

The fleet includes custom fabricated vessels built specifically for whale watching, as well as the smaller Zodiac-style craft.    Experienced skippers and knowledgeable naturalists will be aboard all vessels, providing excellent commentary about wildlife viewing during the tours that venture a maximum of 100 miles out.

Additional information, including reservations, is available via  Please use the online promo code ASLO2018 for the group discount.


Explore the Inner Harbor from the comfort of a kayak.  Spend a couple of hours or a full day with a knowledgeable guide.  Highlights include Victoria’s coastline, wildlife, or possibly a venture into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Harbor seals, river otters, and many types of shore birds will be seen.

Want to end the day with a leisurely bit of kayaking?  The evening tour is another option and a special time to experience the Inner Harbor

If more time on the water is what you want, the full-day excursion includes paddling among kelp forests and along the intertidal zone.  A west coast picnic lunch is included in this longer water adventure.

Kelp Reef Adventures has various options and additional information, including reservations, via

Amazing Grace Countryside Tour


Craft breweries, vineyards and distilleries are among the area highlights of Victoria and the surrounding area.  How to decide which one to take?  The Amazing Grace Brewery, Winery, Cider and Distilled Spirits Tour is just the answer – combining these three offerings in one great adventure.

Depart from downtown Victoria, then venture out to the beautiful Saanich Peninsula to tour and sample the best local craft brews, wines, ciders and distilled spirits that Vancouver Island has to offer. Full transportation is provided from The Empress Hotel to all venues (brewery, winery, cider farm and distillery). Each facility has food options available, as well. This tour truly has something for everyone!

This four-hour outing will wind through the beautiful British Columbia countryside before returning to The Empress Hotel.

Scheduled for Saturday, 9 June, the tour departs from The Empress Hotel at approximately 1:00 pm.  The motor coach will return to The Empress Hotel at approximately 5:00 pm.

Per person cost is $115.00 plus a $2.50 per ticket service fee (CAD), excluding food options.  Those who would like to participate in the Amazing Grace Tour can make reservations and provide payment directly to the tour company.

You may sign up for the Amazing Grace: Brewery, Winery, Cider and Distilled Spirits Tour at:

Walking Pub Crawl Tour

Enjoy a relaxing three-hour, in-town tour, strolling through beautiful and historic downtown Victoria.  Stretch the legs and wet the palates on this leisurely pub crawl to three of Victoria’s finest watering holes! Each location will have discounted food and beverage options, as well as a personal and knowledgeable guide. Cheers!

Scheduled for Tuesday, 12 June, the tour departs from The Empress Hotel at 7:00 pm.  Per person cost is  $50.00 plus a $2.50 per ticket service fee (CAD) excluding food and beverage.  Those who would like to participate in the Walking Pub Crawl Tour can make reservations and provide payment directly to the tour company.

You may sign up for the Walking Pub Crawl Tour at: