When it comes to uncovering the oldest bars in Canada, the eastern provinces definitely have an advantage over the west. However, it just so happens that one of the oldest English pubs in the country is situated right here in BC – and it’s even said to be haunted, according to its website.

Situated in Victoria’s historic Bastion Square, Garrick’s Head Pub has been pouring drinks for over 125 years, a local fixture since 1867.

History of Garrick’s Head

In its early days as a saloon, the pub was located across from the city’s first courthouse, where Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie presided over Victoria’s “rowdy mining labour force,” according to the pub’s website.

Its storied past begins with serving convicted murderers, who were awarded their final meals at Garrick’s Head. And if you think that’s a grim way to start a business – it was apparently common for bar patrons to down a pint before heading over to the gallows to watch a public hanging take place.

As a result, local legends formed over the years telling tales of the pub regulars and lost souls, including the ghost of former owner Michael Powers, who was mysteriously murdered early one morning over a century ago.

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garricks head pub victoria bc
Photo via City of Victoria Archives


While its historic location and building remain a prominent part of the pub, Garrick’s Head has been a welcoming spot for years now, offering visitors an outdoor patio during the warmer months, and the city’s largest selection of craft and imported beers on tap.

During the winter, there’s a wood-burning fireplace to keep the space warm and bright.

So there you have it, BC! If you’ve never explored Bastion Square, keep your eye out for Garrick’s Head when you visit!

Garrick’s Head Pub 

Where: 69 Bastion Square, Victoria