WELCOME TO VICTORIA
350,000 people call the BC city of Victoria home, enjoying the mediterranean climate and hours of sunshine – yes, Victoria is the 6th sunniest city in Canada! BC’s capital city, owing it’s rapid growth to the gold rush, has historic buildings at every turn. It is served by ferries, floatplanes, and an international airport. Here is a city where people throng to sidewalks and bike lanes, where an after-work sail is par for the course, and world-class surfing is only an hour away.
Food & Drink
Victoria boasts a multitude of fine dining options, and is home to more than a dozen craft breweries. If you like something more challenging than Coors or Labatt’s, Victoria’s craft brewing scene is for you. With more breweries per capita than anywhere else in Canada, west coast IPA’s to dark stouts or ciders can be sampled and enjoyed here. Food options range from fine Italian dining at Il Terrazzo to French delicacies at Restaurant Matisse, from seaside pub eats at Spinnakers Brewpub to delicious sushi at Sen Zushi! If you are in need of something quick, a food truck is never far away.
Vancouver Island is also home to 38 licensed wineries, many of which are in the immediate vicinity of Victoria. In addition, Victoria hosts many great coffee shops and several roasteries such as Fernwood Coffee and Caffe Fantastico. No matter what taste, preference, or style, it can be found in Victoria’s thriving foodie scene!
Victoria is the main jumping-off point for adventurers looking to experience Vancouver Island. The city itself boasts kilometres of bike lanes and dedicated bike pathways such as the Galloping Goose Trail, and cycling to work earns you praise rather than road rage. Mountain biking on epic, adrenalin-pumping single track can be found within Victoria itself, at Bear Mountain and Hartland/Mount Work Regional Park. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, Victoria is an ocean sport mecca, and there is never a shortage of kite surfers, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders, and sailors. Surfers are a short drive away from Jordan River, Sombrio and China Beaches, and only a few hours away from world-famous Tofino. Victoria is also home to many marinas (many of which boast excellent restaurants and cafés), including the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Oak Bay Marina.
Prior to the arrival of European sailors and mappers in the 1700s, southern Vancouver Island was home to various Coast Salish peoples, and this history is still evident in the city today. The city itself was incorporated in 1862, and its long and rich history is readily apparent around every corner. The world-famous Royal Victoria Museum is located on the inner harbour and hosts a series of fixed and rotating exhibits. Directly opposite are the neo-baroque BC parliament buildings, first built in the 1890s and home of the BC legislature, and the historic Empress Hotel. Victoria’s chinatown is the oldest in Canada, and the second-oldest in North America, and continues to be a vibrant area and cultural hub. Around the city are a variety of sculptures, statues, and castles that provide for endless exploration.
The University of Victoria is the primary degree-granting institution in Victoria, and was founded in 1903 as an affiliate of McGill University. It is now fully independent and consistently ranks in the top three comprehensive universities across Canada. The metropolitan area also hosts Camosun College and Royal Roads University, home of Hatley Castle and previously a military college. It is now a public university and offers many degree and professional development programs. The Greater Victoria School District operates a variety of elementary and high schools, french immersion programs, private and charter schools, and specialised schools.
Arts & Culture
Known as the cultural hub of BC and possessing old-world charm, Victoria is called the most British city in Canada. Music lovers of all varieties can find almost any music style — from the Victoria Symphony to Rifflandia Music Festival. The Victoria Fringe Festival, Belfry Theater, and many other performing arts venues make for a great (and sometimes interactive!) night out, and are best followed up with a nightcap at one of Victoria’s brewpubs. For those with more discerning taste, Butchart Gardens chased with afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel gives a decidedly more tranquil and recharging experience.