Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia is always in season! Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada, and is a place so green all year that flowers fall out of the sky and even the lamp posts bloom. It is no wonder that it is called The Garden City! The wild beauty of the Pacific coast and the adventure of the great outdoors are within the city limits and ocean and mountain vistas will follow you wherever you go.
Victoria remembers its colourful history with First Nations totem poles, heritage architecture and afternoon tea. Shop windows are full of British imports, Native art and the latest trends. Restaurants and cafés serve the freshest cuisine. The harbour is alive with the romance of an era when tall ships moored alongside the wharf and evenings glitter as lights twinkle and cast their magic from atop the landmark British Columbia Legislative Buildings.
The Garden City is a year-round tourism destination that offers a friendly, safe haven for all visitors. Getting here is very easy, and, once here, you will feel a million miles away. With a clean environment and charming ambience, it is no surprise that Victoria, BC is one of the world's favourite destinations.Victoria is a scenic 1.5 hour ferry ride from Vancouver or 4 hours from Seattle. Summer is peak tourist season, so be sure to reserve your spot on the ferry. Arrival can also be arranged by air, float plane, helijet or land plane.
Things to Do
Enticing visitors to Vancouver Island since the early 1900s, these breathtaking gardens are now a designated National Historic Site. Starting with the Sunken Garden, once a limestone quarry, The Butchart Gardens offers 55 acres of spectacular beauty in every season. Spring features countless tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, with the glorious Rose Garden bursting into bloom in the summer. Perennial borders start their stunning show in late summer, and the Japanese maples turn to russet, gold, and red in the fall. Entertainment highlights in July and August include music under the stars, Night Illuminations, and Saturday Fireworks. Christmas is a magical wonderland, including an outdoor ice skating rink. www.butchartgardens.com
Be it legends and lore, ceremonies and potlaches or totems and masks, the First Nations people's heritage and legacies live on in Victoria and on Vancouver Island. A First Nations experience adds a special cultural flavour to any visit to Victoria. Visit a museum or a cultural centre, attend a powwow or take a Native heritage tour around the Island to truly learn about Victoria's history.
Up Island and the Gulf Islands
Situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the gateway to the many fascinating communities “up island” as well as the Gulf Islands. Visit the east coast of the island where you'll find the rustic storm watching communities of Tofino and Uculuet hugging the shores of the “other” Long Beach. Or stick to the west coast of the island and wander the beaches of Oyster Bay, Qualicum and Parksville. Head north and visit the fantastic fishing communities of Campbell River, Port Hardy and Alert Bay where you can try your luck on the pier for a coho or join the Tyee Club with your salmon catch “over 30 lbs.”
Take a short ferry ride where you are likely to see a pod of whales and visit The Gulf Islands. These islands which hug the west coast of Vancouver Island encompass Salt Spring, Mayne, Galiano, Pender, Gabriola and Saturna islands. Each island holds a charming collection of laid-back villages and is worth a visit.
You will find yourself coming back again and again to Vancouver Island and Victoria, BC.