Surrounded by water, British Columbia’s capital is famous for its marine life and harbor, but there are also excellent museums and heritage buildings to explore.
Situated on Vancouver Island in Western Canada, Victoria boasts the country’s mildest climate and has more sunny days than Vancouver on the mainland. Make the most of the climate by taking part in some of Victoria’s wide range of outdoor activities, such as a harbor walk or whale-watching excursion. On your trips around the city, notice the historic architecture, double-decker buses, teahouses and formal gardens, all testament to this region’s British roots.
Getting around is easy on foot as most major attractions are in or near the compact downtown area. With miles of bikeways, and bike racks on most city buses, Victoria is also extremely cyclist-friendly.
Walk along the city’s most popular shopping and entertainment thoroughfare, Government Street. It is full of historic buildings and you can learn about what took place behind some of their facades during a ghost walk. In Chinatown Victoria, visit the old teahouses around Canada’s narrowest street. Enjoy a classic afternoon tea at the grand Fairmont Empress hotel.
Go to the Inner Harbour to join a whale-watching tour to spot orcas and seals in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. During the warmer months you can also expect to see humpback, minke and gray whales. Around the corner from the harbor, sample fresh seafood at the colorful floating village of Victoria Fisherman’s Wharf.
Come back to the harbor at night when the thousands of lights on the 19th-century British Columbia Parliament Buildings give it a fairy tale-like appearance.
Don’t miss out on Victoria’s excellent museums. Learn about the human and natural history of the province at the Royal BC Museum and find a collection of intricately carved totem poles at the museum’s Thunderbird Park. See work by the celebrated Canadian artist Emily Carr at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and get insight into the area’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, housed in Victoria’s Old Courthouse.
Rent a car to venture farther out and hike to the isolated beaches and forests full of wildlife in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.