Victoria, named in honour of Queen Victoria, is Western Canada's oldest city. It is also known as the City of Gardens. Established in 1843 as a Hudson Bay Company trading post, this intimate, sophisticated seaside locale is the vacation capital of Canada and the premiere tourist spot in the Pacific Northwest. Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria's climate is sunny and temperate, the environment pristine, and the lifestyle peaceful.
Victoria's unique character is deeply rooted in its 150-year history, a history full of colourful people and fascinating tales. The city's British colonial heritage is still much in evidence, but contemporary Victoria has a distinctly Pacific Northwest flavour.
Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, includes the municipalities of Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal and Esquimalt. Passenger and vehicle ferries that sail between Victoria, Seattle, Bellingham and Port Angeles dock in Victoria's Inner Harbour along with float planes and small boats. Moorage can be found near the Canada Customs wharf. At night, visit the Inner Harbour to see the nearby Legislative Buildings lit up with thousands of golden lights.
If you like specialty shops, explore Government Street. For antiquarians, try Antique Row on Fort Street. And don't forget Chinatown: Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada, has interesting and unusual shops. There's also Market Square, a two-level complex with an inner courtyard that features over 40 shops and restaurants.
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A major whale migration occurs in mid- winter when approximately 20,000 Pacific grey whales leave the Baja Peninsula and journey north to Alaska, passing Vancouver Island en route. During the peak of migration in March and April, the whales pass close to shore. You can observe them from the Wickaninnish visitor centre at Pacific Rim National Park. Several pods spend the summer months in Clayoquot Sound, and you can see them via daily boat tours to Hot Springs Cove.
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