Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this scenic metropolis, also known as the "City of Gardens", is renowned for its sweeping harbor views and British-inspired historic sites. Originally a trading post in 1843, Victoria became the port of entry to the colonies and Vancouver Island during the Gold Rush. Today, the city is home to Canada's western naval base, a major fishing fleet and a growing ship-building industry.
Voted one of the top 10 cities to visit by travel magazine Conde Nasté Traveler, Victoria is known for its regal ambience that can be felt all throughout town. From the narrow city streets which are emblazoned with English-style lamp posts and hanging floral arrangements to the countless boutiques and eateries nestled inside historic Victorian buildings, the city imbues a sense of timelessness to all who visit.
Places to Explore
- Butchart Gardens
A historic 55-acre site featuring the city's most beautiful floral landscaping. This show garden, considered one of the world's best-known horticultural attractions, provides spectacular views of floral finery and features world-renowned English, Italian, and Japanese gardens; water gardens and rose gardens.
- Victoria Butterfly Gardens
An encounter with hundreds of brightly-colored butterflies amid a sprawling indoor rainforest. Learn about the life of a butterfly while amidst the lushness of this unique garden setting.
- Beacon Hill Park
A sprawling, 63-acre park originally constructed in 1882 that features gardens, playing fields and a petting zoo for the little ones.
- Craigdarroch Castle
A late 19th-century castle perched on a hill overlooking the city with 39 rooms for exploration and includes a myriad of exquisite stained glass windows, intricate woodwork and antique furnishings. Be welcomed by costumed servants who tell the story of the Dunsmuir family.
- The Empress Hotel
It's the iconic symbol of the city and destination for the rich and famous for over 100 years. Overlooking the Inner Harbor, the lush Edwardian chateau-style hotel features 477 rooms and is famous for serving afternoon tea in the main lobby daily-reservations required.
- Royal British Columbia Museum
Built in 1886, features 3 permanent galleries and boasts over 7 million historical papers and relics, including a replica of an age-old ship and a mighty wooly mammoth.
Treasure hunters will want to visit Market Square, home to a number of boutiques, eateries and clubs. Government Street Promenade is one offers 5 blocks of souvenir shops. British collectibles can be purchased at Antique Row, located on the eastern side of downtown Victoria.
English is the official language.
The Canadian Dollar is the official currency. However, U.S. currency, travelers checks and major credit cards are widely accepted.
- How to Get Around
The Inner Harbour and downtown area are best explored on foot; however, to discover the rest of the island, numerous options are available such as a taxi, 2-seater pedi-cab, public busses and ferries.