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Victoria is located at the very southern tip of Vancouver Island, just off the coast of the British Columbia mainland in southwestern Canada. Known as the “City of Gardens”, this city with a metro population exceeding 350,000 enjoys a wonderful temperate climate due to its on-the-water setting.
Victoria International Airport (YYJ), Via Rail and the Trans-Canada Highway all create great access to the British Columbia capital city. Getting around is fairly easy using automobile or city bus; ferry service is also widely used, particularly useful for visiting Vancouver BC and Washington State. Ogden Point at Victoria Harbour receives a great many cruise ships, many sailing to and from Alaska; the Inner Harbour is one of the world’s few natural harbours. Iconic photos of Victoria often show the stately, historic Fairmont Empress, just steps from the water - choosing a Victoria BC hotel in this area provides a wonderful home base while visiting. Annual events such as the Victoria Symphony Splash, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival and Vancouver Island Blues Bash are celebrated here. February brings the annual Victoria Film Festival, attracting huge numbers of attendees, filmmakers and well-known actors.
Downtown Victoria is adjacent to the Harbour, and many of the Parliament buildings and attractions are located here. Market Square, a few minutes walk from the Inner Harbour, is a shopping and dining district, one of the city’s oldest landmarks; just to its north you will find the oldest Chinatown in North America, small but packed with authenticity. Cultural opportunities abound, including discovering some of the millions of historic artifacts at the Royal British Columbia Museum, enjoying engaging Victoria Symphony performances at the Royal Theatre, and listening to the “change ringing” of the bells at Christ Church Cathedral. To cheer on the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals or for fabulous concerts, head to Save-On-Foods Centre.
The University of Victoria, about 8 km east of downtown, educates 20,000 students each year and offers cultural performances at Farquhar Auditorium at University Centre and athletic competitions at Centennial Stadium. Beacon Hill Park affords visitors incredible views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains; families with children really enjoy the park’s Children’s Farm. Another family-friendly attraction is Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, a thirty minute drive to the north in Sidney.
Bicycle, hike, ride your horse or walk along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, stretching from Sooke to Victoria, and up the peninsula to Sidney. The weather is grand and there’s no better way to explore the beautiful countryside. Well, perhaps there is another way – the Vancouver Island Golf Trail! The Victoria area boasts five fabulous courses along this Trail. Whale watching on the Pacific Ocean is naturally one of a visit’s highlights; you can see orcas, humpbacks, seals and other sealife, plus behold stunning views of the coastline. BC Forest Discovery Centre is worth its hour drive; favorite activities here are birdwatching, walking trails amidst 400 year old fir trees and riding the train.
Last but certainly not least, world-renowned Butchart Gardens is located just 20 km to the north of downtown Victoria. These amazing gardens attract visitors from all over the world, and offer stunning displays and events year round. Don’t miss Butchart Gardens!
Do you have enough reasons to visit beautiful Victoria? Read a little more about her other attractions, then begin making your reservations – it’s going to be a great time!