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Sunshine, beer gardens & beats: Whistle Buoy's big patio days are here!

Mathieu Poirier's monthly Matter of Beer column

After a less-than-stellar Juneuary of weather, it seems like summer might finally be peeking out from behind the clouds, so it’s time to go outside and enjoy it while it’s here, and before we start complaining about the heat instead.

Market Square is an amazing venue in the middle of the summer, with such a variety of vendors all in a space that allows the feel of downtown, the proximity to the water, and the shelter of the surrounding buildings. It also has a fantastic, locally focused brewery: Whistle Buoy. With a fantastic open-air patio, it's a summer destination, but sometimes weekends can fill it up pretty quickly. So the brewery has a plan for you with their Big Patio Days.

Select Saturdays from Jun 22 to Sep 21, the brewery is expanding the patio into the square, with DJs starting at 1 p.m., and bands starting at 7 p.m. July’s artists are Victoria Stampede ft. Bo&Robbie and Whiskey Business on the 6th, then Garden Party ft. Juice, Blush, and Brothers on the 27 with a $5 cover charge to get in, a hand-stamp for reentry, and an array of food vendors, games, and new beer releases.

If that wasn’t enough, outside food and well-behaved dogs and families are also permitted, making this the perfect reason to trek downtown for a fun Saturday afternoon in the square.

As much as it seems odd to mention September just as summer begins, there’s a good reason to: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets are now on sale, with a change of venue to Topaz Park this year due to a conflict with Royal Athletic Park and the sold-out BC Lions game on Aug 31st.

Happening from 4-9 pm on Friday, Sep. 6, and 12-5 p.m. on Saturday, Sep. 7, tickets are available through, and offer three tiers of pricing each day: $25 for entry only, $45 for entry and ten beer tokens, and a new $80 Premium ticket with entry, sixteen beer tokens, and a private area with food served by The Courtney Room, and a separate entrance from the general public, allowing you to skip the standard line and get to those favourite beers sooner.