When we first arrived west of the mountains in the early 1990s we had come up by Washington State Ferries from Seattle to visit Victoria BC on our trip across Canada. It was our first time on Vancouver Island and the first time we had seen Victoria and to us, it instantly felt like home. The "City of Gardens" sure lived up to it’s name but has so much more than just spectacular gardens. If you want to talk about gardens first though, you would have to mention Butchart Gardens in Saanich. The sprawling 55 acre garden, at more than 100 years old, it is the most grandiose English style garden anywhere outside the United Kingdom, hands down. When you come to Victoria, you should visit Butchart Gardens. Continuing the theme of gardens, the City of Victoria has a hanging flower basket program for the downtown core where they add a beautiful basket of plants and flowers to each and every light standard. It truly is breathtaking in the spring, summer and fall. The area is also well known for it's spectacular beauty. Being on the ocean and framed by mountains, whoever you look in Victoria, you are presented with a level of natural beauty we have not found elsewhere in any city we have visited, anywhere in the world.
Part of what makes Victoria such a great city to visit is it’s people. Some believe there is a different attitude here, a more laid back attitude. A commonly seen bumper sticker on local cars reads, ”Slow Down, this isn't the Mainland” referring to when people arrive here from Vancouver, often referred to as the Mainland, they should remember this is an Island life and they should slow down! It sure is nice to be in a place with this kind of attitude, where things are taken at a bit of a slower pace. Victoria has all of the amenities you would expect to find in a large city, the big box stores, all the major banks, grocery stores and some of the best restaurants and cafés in Canada and possibly the world. Some would say that a-list celebrities have been known to have purchased property close to certain local restaurants so they have somewhere to stay when they come to eat. We don't know if this is true or not but we would think it is, the food that can be found locally is second to none!
Victoria is located on a large island amongst a number of islands, some large and accessible by ferry and some small and difficult to access unless you have a private boat. Victoria is situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island which is 460 kilometres (290 miles) in length and 80 kilometres (50 miles) in width at its widest point. Greater Victoria has a number of areas of interest, all with different attractions and merits which include a large selection of world-class attractions, museums, galleries as well as hiking, ocean sports, diving, surfing and whale watching.
There really is something for everyone in Victoria and should you want to venture out to visit other parts of Vancouver Island, Victoria makes a perfect home base for day trips to Parksville Beaches, to the Botanical Beach Park at Port Renfrew, up to Cowichan Lake for a swim, fishing or some boating or even over to one of the many beautiful Gulf Islands by ferry from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. Most are less than an hour long ride by ferry away.
As a world class tourist, destination, a trip to Victoria is well worth the time for anyone to experience. We have it all on Vancouver Island, the beaches, the trees, the surf and the sights. Come an experience it all!
Find what you are looking for on your next visit to British Columbia. Find it in Victoria.