Alternately known as the “City of Gardens” and “God’s Waiting Room”, Victoria famously lures tourists and retirees alike. A pristine and handsome city with a small metro populace of 330,000, Victoria is the primary hub of Vancouver Island and resides 100 km across the British Columbia mainland from the city of Vancouver.
While the provincial capital’s nicknames infer a breezy, almost sleepy city, Victoria, in point of fact, is a dynamic hub that exudes abundant charm. A tidy, attractive cityscape makes for easy exploration on foot and a temperate maritime climate makes Victoria the envy of the rest of Canada come winter. Premier points of interest include the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Royal British Columbia Museum, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Butchart Gardens and Emily Carr House. As the capital of the province and a very popular tourist destination, Victoria also hosts many festivals throughout the year and has an eclectic arts, culture and culinary scene.
Victoria Top 10
10. Victoria Bug Zoo has a remarkable collection of rare insects.
5. Thunderbird Park is a must to admire First Nations totem poles.
9. Fan Tan Alley punctuates the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
4. Emily Carr House was the childhood home of Canada’s most famous painter.
8. Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Site in Brentwood Bay.
3. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has quite a few works by Emily Carr, among others, in addition to a world class gallery of East Asian art.
7. Pacific Undersea Gardens is home to more than 5,000 species of native marine life.
2. Maritime Museum of British Columbia chronicles the province’s integral maritime heritage.
6. Hatley Park National Historic Site is a grand baronial manor built in the early 20th century.
1. Royal British Columbia Museum is arguably one of the most impressive museums in the country, let alone B.C.
- Royal BC Museum - Contains exhibits of prehistoric life in the region, including a woolly mammoth diorama and First Nations gallery.
- Point Ellis House and Gardens - A mansion built in the 1860s where the wealthy used to socialize.
- Craigdarroch Castle - Erected in the 19th century by a coal baron, this building contains 39 rooms. Climb the tower to view the Olympic Mountains.
- Maritime Museum - Explore Victoria’s maritime past and present. The museum contains over 400 model ships and John Voss’ boat, the Tilikum.
- Hidden Dragon Tours - Learn about Victoria’s seedy past that included opium dens.
Victoria Art & Culture
- Fan Tan Alley - This street sits in the centre of Chinatown, Canada’s oldest Asian district.
- Parliament Buildings - Take a tour and learn about the rich history of these buildings.
- Bastion Square - An old neighbourhood that once held a brothel, gallows and a jail. The small market Bastion Square Festival of the Arts opens here in the summer.
- Art Gallery of Greater Victoria - An art gallery where you will find Carr paintings and other shows.
- Emily Carr House - The home of British Columbian painter Emily Carr. The rooms have been recreated with displays of her art.
- Smoking Lilly - A tiny Victoria shop that houses an eclectic assortment of clothing and accessories.
- Artisan Wine Shop - This shop contains wines from Mission Hill. You can also take a tour of the winemaking process.
- Starfish Glassworks - Colourful glass artwork that ranges in price. You can also watch the glassblowers do their work.
- Hemp and Company - A great place to purchase fashionable, mainstream clothing made entirely out of hemp. Also sells hemp soaps and vegan shoes.
- Lyle’s Place - A new music store where you can purchase music by top-selling artists.
Gay & Lesbian Victoria
- Paparazzi Nightclub - The largest gay club in the city. Hosts drag nights and karaoke.
- Victoria Pride Society - Hosts the annual Pride Week Victoria, usually in July.
- The Ledge Lounge - A space that welcomes LGBT.
- HUSH - A gay-friendly nightclub.
- Steamworks - A gay-friendly sauna and spa.
- Butchart Gardens - A grand manicured garden containing 20 hectares of flora and foliage to enjoy.
- Victoria Bug Zoo - A great place for kids. This zoo contains a variety of bugs, including millipedes, ants,and glow-in-the-dark scorpions.
- Thunderbird Park - This park sits right outside the Royal British Columbia Museum. There are totem poles and an old doctor’s building filled with historical minutiae of life at the time.
- Prince of Whales - Take a boat tour and watch the whales play around Victoria.
- Beacon Hill Park Carriage Tour - Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the oldest park in the city.
- Rent kayaks and tour the river.
- Take a six-hour cycling tour of the Victoria seafront.
- Go scuba diving or take a course.
- Visit the marina and rent a boat for sailing.
- The winter is a great time to go skiing in the area.
Victoria, BC, Canada
Sitting upon the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria, British Columbia, is a wonderful holiday spot in Canada. With its mild climate and natural beauty, visitors cannot go wrong when choosing this city to stay and play in. There are plenty of things to do and see, both manmade and natural, in this city tucked away in British Columbia.
Victoria, BC, Attractions
- Craigdarroch Castle
- Butchart GardeCns
- Royal BC Museum
Victoria, BC, Activities
- Tour Vancouver Island
- Take a Victoria Heritage Tour
- Enjoy a visit to Miniature World
Victoria, BC, Climate
Victoria has a sub-Mediterranean climate that is quite moderate. Visiting can be done almost any time of the year. Average annual rainfall for the area is about 25 to 30 in (635 to 762 mm). The humidity is very low, and a slight ocean breeze is always blowing. Although winters are mild from November to March, warm clothing is essential.
Getting There & Around
Possessing a strong network of transportation, Victoria, BC, has air and ferry services to get visitors in and around. Travelling by air to this region of Canada requires helicopters or seaplane services, which can be found at the airport. The ferries make more than 100 crossings daily, and they have the ability to carry vehicles.
Upon arriving in Victoria, there are a number of ways to see the city. There are both bus and train services for transportation, as well as rental cars and taxis.
Rifflandia Festival takes place in late September and is Victoria’s version of SXSW.
The Swiftsure International Yacht Race is one of top long distance competitions for avid sail enthusiasts in North America. Royal Victoria Yacht Club hosts the event in May.
The Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race is the premier offshore race in the Pacific.
The Victoria Symphony performs throughout the year at the Royal Theatre.
The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival lures the best teams from all over North America to the Inner Harbour in mid-August.
The Great Canadian Beer Festival takes place in Royal Athletic Park in early September.
When to Go
Victoria has a temperate oceanic climate that summons very mild winters for a country like Canada. To wit, temperatures waver from 37°F (3°C) to 47.5°F (8.5°C) in December, January and February, with minimal snowfall but a fair amount of rain.
Summers see temperatures rise to a range of 50°F (10°C) to 68°F (20°C) between June and September, with very few thunderstorms.
On the whole, Victoria gets well over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year.
More Info On Getting Around
Victoria International Airport is small but still serves over 1.5 million passengers a year. Major connections include Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto-Pearson.
Most visitors take a ferry from Vancouver or Seattle to Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island. Options vary, from the ultra-fast Victoria Clipper catamaran to the express Pacific Coach Line.
Victoria is lovely to explore on foot. Bicycle paths circumnavigate the city and stay open year round, thanks to the clement weather. Victoria Regional Transit System, a division of BC Transit, operates a fleet of double decker buses.
The rest of exquisite Vancouver Island is easy to explore by rail, bus or car.
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