Mon, December 12th, 2011 - By

Spotlight: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria is the administrative capital of British Columbia, Canada’s west coast province. The city, located off the coast of Vancouver on Vancouver Island, takes the badge with pride, if the photo below is any indication. The funny thing, given that Victoria is about as far away from England as you can get in Canada, it’s one of the most English towns I have visited – everything from the food and beverage, the architecture and ambiance. Here are a few highlights of one of Canada’s most romantic and prettiest cities.

Victoria nocturno

Strolling the Harbour

The focus of Victoria is the harbour/waterfront, if for no other reason than Victoria isn’t a big place – on a bike, you can easily be miles out in the countryside in a few minutes. A few spots along the harbour you can’t miss:

  • Parliament: The gorgeous parliament building looks as good by day as night. Portions of it are available for tour, but really just sitting and admiring it from afar is just as satisfactory. It has such a charm – even though it looks similar to other Parliamentary buildings in the world, it is just pretty.
  • Royal British Columbia Museum: Before I left for Victoria, many people told me they felt this was the best museum in Canada, if not the world. Their collection of works, everything from prehistoric artefacts to imposing totem poles, is certainly impressive – you’ll need at least a couple of hours here to explore the extensive galleries properly.
  • The Empress Hotel: Perhaps just as iconic as the Parliament building, if not more so, the Empress is one of Victoria’s prominent hotels, but you don’t have to spend the night here to enjoy it. I personally am a huge fan of their curry buffet – great value, including the cocktails – though you might want to make reservations for the wildly popular high tea.

A Trip to Butchart Gardens

Everyone will tell you to go to Butchart Gardens, and everyone is right – this is one of the highlights of Victoria, a lavishly landscaped and extensive garden with various types of fauna. There’s the rose garden, the Japanese garden, the hidden lanes that jut down to the water, winding routes that take you in and around the nearby forest – time flies here because there’s so much to see and do, no matter what’s in bloom that season.

Star Pond, Butchart Gardens

Getting In/Out

Even though it is an island, Victoria is quite accessible. There is ferry service direct to Seattle, and there is also a bus that takes you onto the ferry a few miles north that connects into Vancouver. Kenmore Air also flies small planes to both Vancouver and Seattle. You just need to do a little planning ahead as some ferries only run 2-3 times a day, especially off season in winter.

Photo credits: Andrea Schaffer, German Poo-Caamano, Robin Zebrowski

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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One Response to “Spotlight: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada”

  1. […] More than a daytrip, Vancouver Island is awesome – and easy to get to. I’ve mentioned Victoria before, can’t recommend it […]

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