The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria boasts many historic buildings and some of the most fascinating museums in Western Canada. The city benefits from one of Canada's mildest climates, which allows its residents to pursue outdoor pleasures all year round.
Victoria enjoys some of the country's most exhilarating scenery: there's an ocean or mountain vista around every corner, while the city's flower gardens are famous all over the world. Whether your taste runs to golfing, hiking, biking and fishing or you're more the shopping, dining and theatre type, there are no end of delights for you and your family in Victoria – the city was included in the Top 10 Family Vacations in Canada in the TripAdvisor 2011 Travelers' Choice awards.
Established in 1843 by James Douglas as a fort for the Hudson's Bay Company, Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens, and tearooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan centre with a lively entertainment scene and a wonderful array of attractions.
Official site of Tourism British Columbia:
The waters surrounding Victoria make for excellent whale watching and wildlife viewing.
Orcas (killer whales) are most frequently sighted, but humpback, minke and grey whales can also be seen, along with harbour seals, Steller and California sea lions, bald eagles, and harbour and Dall’s porpoises.
Many Victoria whale-watching tours leave right from downtown, so it's easy to combine an afternoon of whale watching with shopping or golfing. Nearby Sidney and Sooke are also popular whale-watching spots, and some tours travel to the Victoria area from Vancouver.
Attractions in Victoria are educational, beautiful and inspiring.
Known as “The Garden City” due to the abundance of gardens and city parks, Victoria also has an impressive selection of historic sites and heritage architecture. See floral displays year-round or wander through a castle.
Museums in Victoria cover everything from Aboriginal culture to science and nature. This is also the home of the Royal BC Museum and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
Annual Events & Festivals in Victoria, BC
Victoria International JazzFest
This annual festival features over 275 Canadian and international musicians of various styles of jazz, blues and world music.
Victoria International Buskers Festival
But for this special week, there will be more than 500 performances by over 50 performers from around the world. Spot them in the inner harbour and along Government Street.
Victoria Dragon Boat Festival
Stemming from ancient Chinese cultural and spiritual roots, the traditional dragon boat races that comprise the annual Dragon Boat Festival are bright and festive. The contests involve 24 paddlers racing in a 650 metre sprint, dressed in colourful costumes.
Vancouver Island’s biggest city – Victoria, British Columbia – gets a positive knee-jerk reaction for those who’ve been, usually talking about its coastal beauty, retiree-filled hotels and a very very English air. But with that, the story too often stops.
Yeah, there’s plenty more than that. On a recent stop, I decided to take in Canada’s fittest city on two wheels, and found a city – hilly but manageable – that’s simply more fun when seen by bike. Here’s a few things to consider on how to bike in Victoria.
If that seems like too much work – and it is a fair share – you can always go by scooter. If it’s not enough, brace yourself for fun paths out of the city: Lochside Trail (to Sidney) and the Galloping Goose Trail (to Sooke). There are a couple central places to rent bikes or mopeds, including Cycle BC Rentals, a block east of Inner Harbor. The simple free map from the visitor’s center is enough to navigate the trip.