Victoria is a city full of charm and character, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The city is famous for its heritage, stunning natural scenery, and welcoming atmosphere. Victoria is also a great destination for nature enthusiasts, with easy access to whale watching tours and over 1,000 parks and green spaces. With its mild climate, friendly locals, and countless attractions, Victoria is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Canada’s west coast. Read our Victoria travel guide to find more!
Victoria, British Columbia, is a city with a rich and fascinating history that dates back over 10,000 years to the arrival of the First Nations people. The area where Victoria is now located was initially explored by Spanish and British explorers in the 1700s, before the city itself was established in 1843 as a fur trading post by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Over the next few decades, the city grew rapidly and became a key player in the province’s economy.
One of the most significant events in Victoria’s history was the gold rush of 1858. Thousands of prospectors from around the world flocked to the area in search of gold, and Victoria became a bustling hub of activity. The influx of people led to the development of infrastructure such as roads, hotels, and businesses. During this time, the city’s Chinatown also began to take shape, and it became the second-largest Chinatown in North America.
In 1871, Victoria was named the capital of British Columbia, which further cemented its status as an important city in the province. The city continued to grow and prosper, and many significant landmarks and buildings were constructed during this time, including the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, which were completed in 1897. Victoria also played a significant role in both World War I and World War II. During the First World War, the city served as a major naval base for the British Empire. In World War II, Victoria was home to the Esquimalt Naval Base, which was the largest naval base on the west coast of North America.
Today, Victoria is a thriving city that is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful natural surroundings. It’s also well known for its cuisine, which features a mix of traditional British fare, seafood, and locally sourced ingredients. Popular dishes include fish and chips, bangers and mash, and the famous Victoria Creamsicle, which is a delicious ice cream dessert – and a local favorite!
- Whale watching: Victoria is known for its whale watching tours, which take visitors out on the water to see orcas, humpback whales, and other marine wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Visit the Royal BC Museum: This world-class museum showcases the natural and human history of British Columbia, with exhibits on First Nations culture, local wildlife, and more.
- Take a ghostly walk tour: Victoria has a reputation as one of Canada’s most haunted cities, and a ghostly walk tour is a great way to explore the city’s spooky history.
- Stroll through Butchart Gardens: This stunning garden features over 900 varieties of plants and flowers, spread out over 55 acres. It’s a must-see for any nature lover.
- Explore Craigdarroch Castle: This impressive castle was built in the late 1800s and is now a National Historic Site. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the castle’s 39 rooms, which are filled with original furnishings and artwork.
- Visit the Inner Harbour: Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a bustling hub of activity, with street performers, vendors, and a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to people-watch and soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
- Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens” and has over 1,000 parks and green spaces, including the famous Butchart Gardens.
- The world’s tallest totem pole stands at 127 feet in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park.
- Victoria is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with an average of 2,223 hours of sunshine per year.
- Bring comfortable shoes: Victoria is a very walkable city, so make sure you bring comfortable shoes to explore the various parks, landmarks, and attractions.
- Bring a camera: Victoria is known for its stunning natural scenery, historic architecture, and colorful gardens, so be sure to bring a camera to capture all of the beautiful sights.
- Try the local cuisine: Victoria has a thriving food scene, with plenty of local delicacies to try. Be sure to sample some fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and craft beers or wines.
- Learn about local history: Victoria has a rich history dating back to its early days as a fur trading post. Take a visit to one of the city’s museums to learn more about its past.
- Respect the wildlife: While it can be exciting to spot wildlife like whales and seals in their natural habitats, it’s important to remember to respect their space and not disturb them!