capital city of the province of British Columbia, Canada

For other places with this name, see Victoria.

Victoria is the capital of Canada's westernmost province; British Columbia, near the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Victoria contains a perfect combination of the old and new Canada. Amidst the bustle of this little city, you can venture through the classical British architecture to the preserved Chinatown, or all the way back in time to the original First Nations (Indigenous) culture. The colourful gardens and paintings are worth admiring, while the natural beauty just a short distance away from the town is simply breathtaking.

For the purposes of this guide, Victoria includes the nearby municipalities of Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt and Brentwood Bay.

Understand edit

First-time visitors stepping into Vancouver Island might be surprised by the very different atmosphere as opposed to the city of Vancouver just across the Strait of Georgia.

While the island is mainly quiet and laid back, Victoria is a step up as the largest city on the island, aided by the fact that all of British Columbia's governmental offices are here. The quaint skylines in the city centre meet with the genteel and natural design on the outskirts of the downtown, designating Victoria as a resort town for western British Columbia.

History edit

Victoria's prime location, right between the Canadian mainland and the Pacific Ocean, makes the area become perhaps one of the earliest modern developments of Canada. From its humble beginnings as a backup trade post for Fort Vancouver (at Vancouver in the USA's Washington State) erected by James Douglas in 1843, the city's ports have been a witness of historic events that brought influxes of people from all over the world to Canada: from the Gold Rush to opium trade between Asia and North America. The real estate boom after World War I however, is what gives the city its well-known character, with Edwardian skylines popping up in the city center that transitions to genteel civility in the suburbs. A trip to Victoria would not be complete without admiring its classic buildings and a trip to the park or the houses outside the city.

Victoria was named in honour of the ruling queen of England in 1843 and designated as the provincial capital of British Columbia in 1871.

Climate edit

Victoria (British Columbia)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
See the Victoria 7 day forecast at Environment Canada
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Much like the whole coastal British Columbia, the winter is mild with temperatures averaging above freezing for all of the year and most of the year's worth of rain falling. The summer however is cool and comfortable enough to get outside as much as possible, and the sun doesn't set until 9PM! Compared with the Vancouver city however, the city is less wet and receives more sunshine as the mountains at the USA's Olympic Peninsula and the island mountains usually managed to block the heaviest precipitations. Snow, while infrequent, is not unheard-of at least every year.

The whole island is a casualty to at least one mild windstorm every year, which would usually blow after a rain shower. The wind can range from nuisance at best to damaging at worse. It is a good idea to check the weather forecast during your visit to get you prepared.

Visitor information edit

Get in edit

By plane edit

Main airport edit

See also: Sidney (British Columbia)#By plane
  • 1 Victoria International Airport (YYJ IATA), 1640 Electra Blvd, Sidney (terminal), +1 250-953-7500. The airport is located 4.5 km southwest of downtown Sidney and 27 km north of downtown Victoria.    
    • Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal is served by BC Transit. Travel between Victoria and the airport involves the following bus routes, including transferring buses at McTavish Exchange:
      • Route 88 operates between the airport, McTavish Exchange, and downtown Sidney on a half hourly frequency from Monday to Friday, and an hourly frequency on Saturdays and Sundays. Travel between the airport and McTavish Exchange takes 4 to 6 minutes.
      • Route 70 operates between Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal and downtown Victoria via downtown Sidney and McTavish Exchange. It is a limited stop service, which is faster than route 72. Travel between McTavish Exchange and downtown Victoria takes 35 to 45 minutes.
      • Route 72 operates between Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal and downtown Victoria via downtown Sidney and McTavish Exchange. Travel between McTavish Exchange and downtown Victoria takes 45 to 60 minutes.

Seaplanes edit

  • Victoria Inner Harbor is a much more convenient port of entry right at the heart of town that serves helicopters and floatplanes. There are daily departures from the harbour on the north side of Vancouver's downtown (35 minutes; $157), Vancouver International Airport (30 minutes; $135), and as far south as Seattle's Lake Union (55 minutes). Seasonal flights from Tofino (1 hour).

Seaplane airlines edit

Helicopter airlines edit

  • Helijet, toll-free: +1-800-665-4354. Operates helicopter flights primarily between downtown Vancouver and near downtown Nanaimo, and between downtown Vancouver and near downtown Victoria (35 minutes). The helicopters are parked overnight at Vancouver International Airport, thus flights are available between the airport and both Nanaimo and Victoria via downtown Vancouver, when the helicopters start and end their days in the morning and evening.    

By boat edit

By ferry to Victoria edit

The Black Ball Ferry Line's M/V Coho and Victoria Clipper IV in Victoria's Inner Harbour
  • 2 Victoria Clipper, 254 Belleville St, toll-free: +1-800-888-2535. Operates a modern ultra-fast catamaran ferry from downtown Seattle. Service is once a day in the winter and up to 3 times a day in the summer. The sailing time is 2.5 hours. US$115+ for one way, US$145+ for round trip.
  • 3 Black Ball Ferry Line (MV Coho), 430 Belleville St, +1 250-386-2202, toll-free: +1-800-264-6475. Is a passenger and vehicle ferry running between Port Angeles, Washington and Victoria across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Crossing time is 90 minutes. Service runs all year except for an annual refit for one week in winter time. In the winter, this ferry runs 2 sailings a day and in the summer up to 4 sailings per day each way are scheduled. Fares are US$70.00 for car and driver and US$21.00 per passenger 12 years old and older, US$10.50 for children 5-11 years old, free for children 4 years old and younger.    

By ferry to Sidney edit

About half an hour drive north of Victoria, there are ferry services in Sidney.

See also: Sidney (British Columbia)#By boat
  • BC Ferries, toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries connecting coastal British Columbia communities.    
    • 4 Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal.    
      • Operates routes from:
        • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) ferry terminal (1 hour 35 minutes crossing. Adults $18; child (5-11) $8; vehicles $62)
        • Five of the larger Southern Gulf Islands.
      • Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal is served by BC Transit on several routes including
        • Route 70, a limited stop bus route connecting to downtown Victoria via Sidney. Travel time from the ferry terminal to downtown Victoria is around 45 to 55 minutes.
        • Route 72, a bus route connecting to downtown Victoria via Sidney. Travel time from the ferry terminal to downtown Victoria is around 55 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

By recreational boat edit

Private Boats at Victoria

Victoria is a popular destination for boaters from the U.S.A. as well as the Vancouver area. The trip is a long one; the leg across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca from Puget Sound is over 50 km. Because of frequent gales and small craft warnings, the boating trips may be rough, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has a "no one turned away policy".

By cruise ship edit

Each year, from April through October, over 200 large cruise ships dock at the 8 Ogden Point   cruise ship terminal, with berths for three cruise ships and about 2.5 km southwest of the downtown inner harbor, and disembark more than one-third million visitors to the greater Victoria area. Ogden Point is a transit port for cruise ships, typically coming from or going to San Francisco or Seattle, i.e., no cruise ship is home ported at Victoria.

To get to downtown Victoria from Ogden Point, cruise ship visitors have many options: take a pleasant 30-minute walk through the James Bay residential area (Dallas St. along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then north on Menzies St.), hop on ($2.25) the public bus #30 or #31 that runs along Dallas St., use the Ogden Point Bus and Marine Cruise shuttles at the terminal, or hail a taxi/limo lined up at the pier.

By car edit

There are two highways that reach Victoria:

  • Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) travels south from Nanaimo (Departure Bay) ferry terry terminal to Victoria. Only the portion from just before Langford to Victoria is a freeway. In Langford there is an interchange with Highway 14 for travel from Port Renfrew and Sooke. In Nanaimo, the highway intersects with Highway 19 for travel from areas north of Nanaimo.
  • Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) travels south in along the Saanich Peninsula from Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal just north of Sidney. This is the route to take if traveling from either of the two ferry terminals around Sidney or from Victoria International Airport. There are not many intersections along this highway though it is not a freeway.

Highway 1 and Highway 17 do not intersect. Instead, the easiest way to travel between the highways is via Mackenzie Ave.

By bus edit

  • Amtrak Thruway Connector. Amtrak's rail service from Seattle ends in Vancouver, but a ticket can be booked to Victoria with the remaining segment completed by bus.
  • BC Ferries Connector, toll-free: +1-888-788-8840. offers an express coach service between Vancouver and downtown Victoria. This bus service runs on BC Ferries, and tickets can be purchased on board for the trip into town. Despite the "express" name, this bus takes the same or more time than the transit bus in Vancouver, although it is a much more comfortable ride. Travel time between Vancouver and Victoria is 4 hours. As of April 2022, cost from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria is approx $68 one way, or approximately $20 for the trip from the ferry terminal to downtown Victoria..
  • IslandLink Bus, . Operates daily using a hub and spoke bus service with hubs in Nanaimo and Buckley Bay. Trips run non-stop from the hub to the destination area. This system works well if direct travel would run by a hub anyway, but can result in significant detours if direct travel would not pass by either hub. Using this service, the hubs connect to Campbell River, Oyster River, Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Bowser, Parksville, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Mill Bay, and Victoria. As of January 30, 2023, service is also available to Port Alberni, Tofino, and Ucluelet, though trip frequency ranges from 3 days per week in the winter to daily in the summer.
  • Tofino Bus (Vancouver Island Connector). Seasonal service operating between May to October with daily routes between Victoria and Tofino, and between Victoria and Campbell River. Both routes travel between Victoria and Parksville with stops in Langford, Duncan, Ladysmith, and Nanaimo. The route to Tofino continues with stops in Coombs, Port Alberni and Ucluelet. The route to Campbell River continues with stops in Qualicum Beach, Bowser, Courtenay, and Oyster River. Some trips only travel between Victoria and Nanaimo. Travel time to Victoria from Campbell River is 6 hours, from Courtenay is 5 hours, from Nanaimo is 2.25 hours, from Parksville is 3.5 hours, from Tofino is 6.5 hours, from Ucluelet is 5.75 hours, and from Victoria is 2.25 hours.
  • West Coast Trail Express, +1-250-477-8700, toll-free: +1-888-999-2288. Seasonal service allowing hikers of the West Coast Trail to reach the northern (Bamfield) and southern (Port Renfrew) ends of the trail. Operates route that connects Victoria with Port Renfrew, Gordon River, and Bamfield. Travel time from Bamfield is 6 hours and from Port Renfrew is 2 hours. The route operates from May 1 to September 30.

Get around edit

Map of Victoria (British Columbia)

By foot edit

Walking is an easy, free, and fun way to explore the entire downtown area. Make your way from hotel to museum to shops; stop for coffee; stroll along the harborside; grab a pint and some fish-n-chips - take it in!

By bike edit

Biking Victoria is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Canada, which may have something to do with the very mild winters. There are many places to rent bikes. One place is CycleBCRentals, at 685 Humboldt St. ( +1 250-380-2453 or toll-free +1-866-380-2453). Bike rentals start at $6 and they also rent scooters and motorbikes here.

By public transit edit

  • BC Transit (Victoria Regional Transit System), +1-250-382-6161.    
    • Runs a bus network within Victoria, between Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula including Sidney, and between Victoria and cities to the west including Langford and Sooke. Regular fares are a flat $2.50. Children aged 5 and under are free. Bus tickets can be purchased in books of ten, and give a slight discount. Day passes are also available; they cost $5.00 cash, or two tickets. No transfers are available with a single cash fare -- buy a day pass instead. Victoria, along with Kelowna, Toronto and Ottawa, is one of only a few cities in North America which use double decker buses in their city transit systems. Some notable bus routes:
      • 50 - Frequent route between downtown Victoria and Langford. Travel time between Victoria and Langford is 45 to 50 minutes.
      • 61 - During morning and afternoon rush hours from Monday to Friday travels between downtown Victoria and Sooke. Outside of those hours, the route travels between Langford and Sooke (connects with route 50 in Langford during this time).
      • 70 - Limited stop route between downtown Victoria and Swartz Bay ferry terminal with a stop in Sidney. Travel time to downtown Victoria from Swartz Bay ferry terminal is about 50-55 minutes, from Sidney is 45-50 minutes, and from McTavish Exchange is 35-40 minutes.
      • 72 - Route between downtown Victoria and Swartz Bay ferry terminal with a stop in Sidney. Travel time between downtown Victoria and Swartz Bay ferry terminal is about 1 hour 15 minutes. Travel time to downtown Victoria from Swartz Bay ferry terminal is about 1 hour 15 minutes, from Sidney 1 hour, and from McTavish Exchange is 55 minutes.
      • 75 - Route between downtown Victoria and Saanichton Exchange with a stop at Butchart Gardens. Travel time between downtown Victoria and Butchart Gardens is 50 minutes.
      • 88 - Route between Sidney and Victoria International Airport with stops at McTavish Exchange and in downtown Sidney. Travel time between the airport and Sidney is 17 minutes. Travel time between the airport and McTavish Exchange is 4 minutes.
  • BC Transit (Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System), +1-250-746-9899.     Bus routes:
    • 44 - Route between downtown Victoria and Duncan with a stop in Langford. Travel time between Victoria and Duncan is 1.25 hours. Cost per trip is $10. Operates several trips on Saturdays. As of September 3, 2023, these trips will be renumbered as route 66.
    • 66 - Route between downtown Victoria and Duncan with a stop in Langford. Travel time between Victoria and Duncan is 1.25 hours. Cost per trip is $10. Trips from Monday to Friday leave Duncan in the morning before 6:30 am (before 9:30 am as of September 3, 2023), and leave Victoria in the afternoon.
    • 99 - Route between downtown Victoria and Shawnigan Lake. Operates Monday to Friday, consisting of early morning trips to Victoria and afternoon trips to Shawnigan Lake.

By taxi edit

By ride hailing edit

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See edit

Peacock, Beacon Hill Children's Farm

Many of Victoria's attractions (and tourist activity) are in or around the Inner Harbour and downtown, including the Parliament Buildings, the Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum and Beacon Hill Park. If you're pressed for time, it would be hard to go wrong spending your time there. Beyond the harbour are a handful of attractions, including the renowned Butchart Gardens, and many parks and beaches with trails, views and fewer tourists.

The Inner Harbour and Downtown edit

The Inner Harbour and area is the focal point of many trips to Victoria. It has the bulk of the must-see tourist attractions, and the artists, buskers and other entertainers add to the atmosphere. Many find it fascinating to watch the float planes taking off and landing. In the springtime, the Inner Harbour is filled with many beautiful flowers.

  • 1 Beacon Hill Park, Douglas St & Dallas Rd (head south on Douglas St from downtown; or take Bus #3). Large park close to downtown with trails, lakes, gardens, splash pads/playgrounds for the kids and sports fields. The south end is on the waterfront, with a walking path and a view of the Olympic Mountains across the strait. There are plenty of ducks, some wild peacocks running around and herons. Attractions within the park include the Beacon Hill Children's Farm, which features a goat petting area, Mile 0 (the western end of the Trans-Canada highway) and the Beacon Hill Park Story Pole, which, at nearly 39 m, was the tallest free-standing totem pole in the world when it was first raised in 1956. Free.    
    Rotunda of the Provincial Legislature
    2 British Columbia Parliament Buildings, 501 Belleville St (at the Inner Harbour), +1 250-387-3046. Late May-early Sep M-F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM; M-F 9AM-5PM at other times of the year. The legislative assembly for the province of British Columbia since 1898, the domed neo-Baroque and Romanesque Revival architecture is a distinctive feature of Victoria's waterfront. The free public tours (usually offered throughout the day) are considered excellent. Self-guided tours are available on weekdays, booklets can be picked up at the Parliamentary Tour desk or downloaded from the website. The buildings are equally nice to view at night night, when they are lit up with 13,000 lights. Free.    
  • 3 Chinatown, 500-600 block of Fisgard St (Fisgard St, between Store & Government). The oldest Chinatown in Canada and second oldest in North America. At its peak in the early 1900s, there were over 3,000 people living amongst its narrow lanes, businesses, theatres, schools, temples and opium dens. Some of the distinctive architecture remains, and a new generation of restaurants, Chinese fruit and vegetable stores, bubble tea and coffee shops have taken over. Other landmarks include The Gates of Harmonious Interest (at the corner of Fisgard & Government) and Fan Tan Alley, Canada's narrowest "road".    
    Emily Carr House
    4 Emily Carr House, 207 Government St (a 5-10 minute walk south of the Inner Harbour on Government St), +1 250-383-5843. May - Sep: Tu-Sa. Emily Carr is one of Canada's greatest and most loved artists. This is her childhood home, which has become a heritage site and museum on her art, writing and life. $6.75 (adult), $5.75 (student/senior), $4.50 (child 6-18), $17 (family).    
  • 5 Maritime Museum of BC, 634 Humboldt St (inside the Nootka Court building at the corner of Humboldt & Douglas), +1 250-385-4222. Late May-early Sept: daily 10AM-5PM; other times: Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. Small museum with exhibits relating to Canada's or British Columbia's maritime history. There's also a gift shop with model ships, books, caps, prints and all things related to boats. $10 (adult), $8 (senior/student), $5 (youth 12-17).    
  • 6 Miniature World, 649 Humboldt St (at the back of the Empress Hotel), +1 250-385-9731. Mid May - late Sept 9AM-9PM, 9AM-5PM at other times of the year. An extensive display of miniature landscapes, cities, etc., some rather bizarre or at comically mismatched scales. Includes the world's smallest working saw mill at a scale of 1:12. $15 (adult), $11 (senior), $10 (youth), $8 (child).
    Royal British Columbia Museum
    7 Royal British Columbia Museum, 675 Belleville St (between the Legislature and the Empress hotel, near the Inner Harbour), +1 250-356-7226, toll-free: +1-888-447-7977, . Daily 9AM–5PM (10AM-5PM in winter). This tells BC story, especially from 1850 to 1920. It has amazing exhibits, and is easily worth half a day. There are three permanent galleries: Modern History, story of the European settlement; First Peoples, pre-contact and post-contact; and Natural History, mainly oceans, large animals, and climate. All are explained with phenomenal immersive exhibits. $22 (adult), $16 (senior, student, youth 6-18). Prices vary for special exhibitions.    
    • IMAX Theatre, 675 Bellville St (part of the Royal BC Museum), +1 250-953-4629. The largest IMAX screen in British Columbia with a mix of Hollywood feature films and traditional IMAX films. $9-12, Hollywood feature films are an extra $3.25. Tickets are not included with regular museum admission but discounted combo tickets are available.
  • 8 Victoria Bug Zoo, 631 Courtney St, +1 250-384-2847. M-F 11AM-4PM, Sa Su 11AM-5PM; 10AM-6PM extended summer hours. Looking at bugs while on holidays doesn't sound like it'd be appealing, but this is a fantastic little place filled with very knowledgeable and friendly guides, and where else would you get the chance to hold so many crazy creatures? $14 (adult), $8 (youth) $10 (senior, student).    

Other attractions edit

  • 9 Abkhazi Gardens, 1964 Fairfield Rd (one block east of Foul Bay Rd, or take Bus #7 from downtown and walk from the Foul Bay stop), +1 250-598-8096. Apr-Sept: daily 11AM-5PM; Oct-Mar: W-Su 11AM-5PM. Love affairs make great stories, and this one resulted in a great garden. Prince and Princess Abkhazi along with designer John Wade came together and created a garden that took over 40 years to come together on a beautiful property overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. There's also a teahouse that does afternoon tea and light lunches. By donation, $10 suggested.
  • 10 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss St, +1 250-384-4171. M-W, F-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM (closed on Mondays mid-Sept to mid-May). Art gallery with some notable works from BC artist, Emily Carr, and one of the largest collections of Asian art in Canada. There are also rotating exhibitions. The outside grounds include an Asian garden and the only authentic Japanese Shinto Shrine in North America. $13 (adult), $11 (senior, student), $2.50 (youth 6-17).    
    Butchart Gardens
    11 Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay (from Hwy 17, exit at the Keating X Rd and head west until it ends; or bus route #75 from Victoria/Saanich), +1 250-652-5256, toll-free: +1-866-652-4422, . Varies by season: generally 9AM-5PM but open until 10PM in summer (mid June - Labour Day in Sept). A large garden planted in a former limestone quarry. Quite remarkable. During the summer they have fireworks set to music and during winter evenings, the gardens are lit up and include displays illustrating the twelve days of Christmas. You can reach Butchart Gardens from Vancouver and Victoria on several bus tours and also by public transit from Victoria or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. Adults $35.40 April thru Mid June, $39.50 Mid June thru September.    
  • 12 Cadboro Bay Beach (Cadboro-Gyro Park), end of Sinclair Rd, Saanich (follow McKenzie Ave east past the University of Victoria, and keep following as it turns into Sinclair Rd and then a tiny dead-end street). Popular park with a stretch of sandy beach, many picnic tables, tennis courts, playground, play sculptures and a small zip-line. The view of the bay is pretty, and on clear days, you can see across to the Olympic Mountains in Washington state.
    Craigdarroch Castle
    13 Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum, 1050 Joan Crescent (in the Rockland area, about a 25-min walk from the downtown core, or take Bus #11 or #14 up Fort St), +1 250-592-5323. Mid June - early Sept: 9AM-7PM; other times of the year: 10AM-4:30PM. This castle was built in 1890 by a wealthy and powerful Scottish family who at that time owned a quarter of Vancouver Island. Great architecture. Its 39 rooms are still furnished with Victorian-era furniture and the building is noted for its stain-glassed windows and intricate woodwork. $20.60 (adult), 19.60 (seniors) $14.80 (student), $10.00 (child 6-12).    
  • 14 Oak Bay Village, Oak Bay Ave, between Yale and Monterey (the #2 bus travels frequently between downtown Victoria and Oak Bay, the #8 is more infrequent and connects Oak Bay with suburban Victoria and Saanich). Oak Bay is an older suburb east of downtown Victoria. Its splash of Tudor-style buildings, boutiques, restaurants and the Penny Farthing Pub, lend the town center some "Olde England" charm and make it a pleasant place to stroll around or browse through shops.
  • 15 Willows Beach Park, end of Dalhousie St, at Beach Dr. The most popular hangout place in Oak Bay. The water is fairly shallow and the beach provides nice views of Discovery Island and Mt Baker (on clear days). There's also a small playground, picnic tables, lots of grass and a concession stand/tea room.

Do edit

Victoria's Inner Harbour Area

Whale watching edit

Whale watching is a popular activity in Victoria. Three pods of orcas (killer whales) have feeding grounds between Victoria and the mainland, plus grey whales, humpback whales and minke whales migrate through the Georgia Strait at different times of the year. Some companies offer whale watching tours year-round, but the best time to see whales is considered April to October. Tours outside of those times focus less on whales and more on the other marine wildlife. Many of the companies offer whale guarantees, but they are seasonable and tend to have conditions, so careful consideration is advised if you are making a decision based on the whale guarantee.

Tours are usually around three hours and the style of boat can vary, from open-air Zodiacs to yachts with heated cabins. Zodiacs are fast and low to the water, but can be very wet (protective suits are usually supplied) are not recommended for young children (restrictions vary by company), and people with mobility issues or injuries.

  • 1 BC Whale Tours, 1234 Wharf St, +1 250-590-5030. Two daily departures from Mar-Oct. Winter tours (Nov-Feb) are run on demand. 3-4 hour whale watching trips with a choice between open Zodiac-style boats or boats that have outdoor and indoor seating. Maximum number of passengers on a trip is 12. $121 (adult), $81-101 (children), a trip on the Luna costs an additional $10.
  • 2 Eagle Wing Tours Whale Watching, 12 Erie St (at Fisherman's Wharf), +1 250-384-8008, toll-free: +1-800-708-9488. Minimum 3.5 hour whale watching trips with open and semi-covered options. Maximum number of people per trip ranges from 12-50, depending on the boat. $85-135 (mid May-Oct), $55-105 (Nov-mid May).
  • 3 Five Star Whale Watching, 645 Humboldt St, +1 250-388-7223, toll-free: +1-800-634-9617. Two daily departures from early May to late Sept. Departures in April and Oct dependent on demand. Long operating family business (since 1985). Three hours whale watching trips in their catamaran that includes several outdoor decks and a heated indoor cabin. Maximum number of passengers is 45. $130 (adult), $95-109 (child).
  • 4 Orca Spirit Adventures, 146 Kingston St (Marina level), +1 250-383-8411. Daily departures year-round. Offers covered vessels with indoor seating, liquor license, and onboard washrooms, as well as open Zodiac tours. Maximum number of passengers ranges from 12-170. $115 (adult), $75-85 (child). Winter tours (Nov-Mar) are $10 cheaper.
  • 5 Prince of Whales, 812 Wharf St, +1 250-383-4884. Three sailings daily in July & Aug, one sailing daily at other times. Zodiac tours are on demand. Three-hour whale watching tours with a choice of semi-covered boat (with an elevated viewing deck) or open Zodiac in summer. Winter tours (Nov-Mar) are in Zodiac boats only. $120 (adult), $85-95 (child). Adult tickets $15 cheaper in winter.
  • 6 SpringTide Whale Watching and Eco Tours, 1119 Wharf St, +1 250-384-4444. Multiple daily departures Apr-Oct, winter tours are offered once daily weather and demand permitting. Three-hour whale watching tours in a semi-covered yacht or open Zodiac in summer. Winter tours (Nov-Mar) are in Zodiac boats only. Maximum number of passengers is 12 in the Zodiacs and 84 in the yacht. $85-115, winter tours are $10 cheaper.

Parks and trails edit

The Victoria area is an amazing place to explore if you're inclined towards natural spots. A couple of converted railbeds provide longer-range multi-use trails (the Galloping Goose and Lochside) that stretch from Victoria to Sooke (and beyond) and the Saanich Peninsula. North of Victoria is Saanich, which has many fine parks that are popular spots for hiking.

  • From the Inner Harbour you can walk along the water in either direction to the very popular local Dallas Road, or you can cross 7 "The Blue Bridge"   (the Johnson Street bridge) and end up on the Westsong Walkway into Esquimalt. Both have beautiful views of the Inner Harbour and even Port Angeles across the water.
  • 8 Galloping Goose Regional Trail (The Goose), Mile 0: Wharf & Pandora (east end of Johnson St bridge). A 55 km trail on a decommissioned rail bed from downtown Victoria through Langford and the West Shore and onto Sooke and the hills beyond. The varied scenery includes urban, rural and wilderness, and it connects with many other trails in the Greater Victoria area, including the Lochside Regional Trail and the E&N Rail Trail - Humpback Connector. In Victoria, the trail starts at the corner of Wharf & Pandora St and then crosses the Johnson St bridge to Harbour Rd. There are also a number of access points along the way to Sooke, several of which have parking. The Capital Regional District (CRD) website has directions to access points with parking lots. A few places rent bikes and this is a great afternoon or day trip.    
  • 9 Lochside Regional Trail, Switch Bridge info kiosk between Hwy 1 bridge and Carey Ave bridge. A 29-km multi-use trail that runs from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal near Sidney to the Galloping Goose trail in Saanich. It is mostly paved (there are a few gravel sections though) and rolls through suburban Victoria to the farmland of the Saanich Peninsula, passing close to several parks, beaches and wetlands. Designated parking lots to access the trail are at Lochside Dr & Mackenzie, Lochside Park, Cy Hampson Park and Tulista Park.    
  • 10 Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, Hwy 17, most parking accessed from Elk Lake Dr (by car: from Hwy 17, exit at Royal Oak (exit 11) and head west, turn right onto Elk Lake Rd and then left onto Beaver Lake Rd to enter the park; by bus: #70 or #72, there is a stop at the park entrance at Beaver Lake Rd). Park open daily year-round, Nature Center open June-Sept Sa-Su noon-4PM. Popular park with two lakes (actually it's one lake with different names, connected by a channel), a number of beaches that are popular swimming locations and a 10-km trail that circumnavigates the entire lake. Picnicing, rowing, wind surfing and fishing are also popular. A nature center near the main entrance on Beaver Lake Rd has displays on the park's natural and cultural history and staff on hand to answer any questions you may have. Free.    
  • 11 Mount Douglas Park is on the edge of Gordon Head neighbourhood. It features extensive walking trails and a beautiful view across farmland and Greater Victoria.
  • 12 Mount Tolmie Park is actually just a small hill but the most popular place in Greater Victoria to see a view of the skyline and surrounding scenery. Drive up Mayfair Drive, and park your car at the summit where you can watch the most stunning sunsets in Victoria. Mount Tolmie is also somewhat accessible by bus, take the #14 UVIC, but get off at Cedar Avenue (along Richmond Road) and you can scramble up the hill from there.
  • 13 Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary (Swan Lake Park), 3873 Swan Lake Rd (By car – from McKenzie Ave, head south on Rainbow St, turn left onto Ralph St, then turn right on Swan Lake Rd to the parking lot; By bus – #70 stops at McKenzie & Hwy 17, the #26 stops across from the park on Saanich Rd), +1 250-479-0211. Park open daily dawn to dusk, the Nature House open M-F 8:30AM-4PM, Sa Su noon-4PM (closed statutory holidays). There is a nature trail that goes around Swan Lake on a boardwalk through beautiful marshlands. The Nature House, at the main entrance, contains information about the natural wildlife in the area, some interpretive exhibits, a reading room with materials for both children and adults, and a small gift shop. If you wish to trek further, across McKenzie Avenue from Swan Lake is the hike up Christmas Hill, which has a viewpoint overlooking Swan Lake and Saanich. There is also a bike route connecting to the Lochside Regional Trail. Entrance to the park is free, admission to the Nature House by donation.    

Other activities edit

  • Harbour tours Small harbour ferries (about six passengers) provide transport around and a view of the Selkirk Waterway and Inner Harbour.
  • Wine tasting There are five wineries within a 45-minute drive of Victoria, on the Saanich Peninsula, including some estate wineries. These wineries have a wide range of wines including those made from their own grapes, grapes grown elsewhere and fruit wines.
  • 14 SilverCity Victoria Cinemas, 3130 Tillicum Rd (behind the Tillicum Mall), +1 250-381-9301. The largest cinema in Greater Victoria.
  • 15 Victoria Royals Hockey, Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard St, +1 250-220-7889. The local junior hockey team and an entertaining option if you want to catch a hockey game while in town. Games are usually 2-3 teams a week from Oct through early April. Tickets can be purchased online through the Royals website or at the arena. $18-28 (adult), $18 (senior/student), $14 (child).    
  • 16 Victoria Kayak, 1006 Wharf Street (Floating) (on the docks below the old customs house), +1 250-216-5646, . 9AM-8PM. Kayak rentals in the Victoria Harbour.

Learn edit

The historic Young building at Camosun College's Lansdowne campus.

There are many different schools in Victoria including ESL & Language schools, films school, art school, private colleges and so on.

  • 2 University of Victoria (UVic). Publicly funded, this is the biggest school in the area. It's on a hill a short walk from the ocean, UVic prides itself on its beautiful campus with tree-lined paths, large gardens, lush green grass and a large fountain. The school is on the smaller side, with the whole campus inside a circular road known as Ring Road. You can walk from one end of campus to the other in 15 minutes – and that is if you walk slowly. UVic is home to many international students and just completed several new residence buildings for those who wish to live on campus. Many different programs are offered, but the school is known for its Earth Science, environmental law and fine arts departments, among others. The campus community is very earth friendly – as is the city of Victoria itself – and is a good place to catch cheap theatre, free lectures and small music, art or film festivals.    
  • Camosun College, +1 250-370-3000, toll-free: +1-877-554-7555, . A major publicly funded community college in Victoria with two campuses. It concentrates on skills-based education. Camosun classes have a maximum of 35 students and provide close contact with instructors. Camosun also enjoys having many international students and new residents to Canada taking ESL courses.    
    • 3 Camosun College - Lansdowne campus, 3100 Foul Bay Rd. Lansdowne Campus has nursing, medical radio technician, criminology, dental and academic studies programs.
    • 4 Camosun College - Interurban campus, 4461 Interurban Rd. Interurban campus offering degrees, diplomas, and certificates focussing on business, technologies, trades. Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence is based on this campus. Camosun offers degrees in athletic therapy and coaching.
  • Royal Roads University is also in the area, see Langford.

Buy edit

Johnson Street. Most of the buildings in the old center of Victoria date back at least a century, but were well restored in the 2010s.

Victoria is full of little shops tucked away in every nook and cranny in the centre. Souvenir shops are all around the Inner Harbour. Although people generally think Victoria is a tourist destination only, there are more than just tourist shops.

  • Americans so inclined may want to take the opportunity to pick up a Cuban Cigar or two. Thanks to trade agreements with Cuba, you can import up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars into America.
  • Government Street, from the Inner Harbour up to Chinatown, is the biggest (and rather touristy) shopping drag. The best way to go is just to wander the streets but make sure you check out some little gems like 1 Market Square, at the bottom of Johnson St. In the summertime there's live music here.
    Munro's Books
    Fort Street is otherwise known as Antique Row. From Blanshard to Cook Streets, Fort Street is lined with small antique shops and auction houses.
  • The Inner Harbour has artisans selling their crafts during the summer (and part of spring and fall as well sometimes), and 2 Bastion Square (off of Government Street) often has a summer craft market as well.
  • LoJo or Lower Johnson Street has several higher-end fashion boutiques. It's a good place to find local and international designer clothes.
  • 3 Munro's Books, 1108 Government St, +1 250-382-2464. M-Sa 9AM-6PM; Su 9:30AM-6PM. In 2016, National Geographic ranked Munro Books as number 3 of the 10 best destination bookshops. It is in an attractively restored former bank building.    
  • 4 Tillicum Centre, 3170 Tillicum Rd (at intersection of Burnside Rd and Tillicum Rd), +1 250-381-7123. The biggest mall in Saanich.  

Eat edit

Victoria has the second-highest number of restaurants per capita of all North American cities! The waterfront tourist area is home to a wide variety of restaurants and eateries, including several English-style pubs. Try the fish and chips or shepherds pie for a taste of England in Canada. For a more eclectic Victoria experience, check out the classy restaurants that surround Chinatown, offering interesting west-coast fusion and Asian dishes.

Pubs edit

Swans Hotel
  • 1 1550's Pub Style Restaurant, 1550 Cedar Hill X Rd, Saanich (between Cedar Hill Rd and Shelbourne), +1 250-472-0047. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa 9AM-midnight, Su 9AM-11PM. Typical pub fare, but very good. Large selection of burgers. Great location for hangover brunch; sitting on the patio is quite pleasant. Starters $8-15, mains $14-18.
  • 2 Bent Mast Pub and Restaurant, 512 Simcoe St (at Five Corners, in James Bay), +1 250-383-6000. M-Th noon-midnight, F noon-2AM, Sa 10AM-2AM, Su 10AM-midnight. Burgers, sandwiches and pub fare in an old Victorian house. A great place to drink, eat, make friends, and have fun. Talk to the staff for a bit of the history of the house. Starters $6-14, mains $10-20.
  • 3 Garrick’s Head Pub, 66 Bastion Square, +1 250-384-6835. M-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-midnight. A simple pub — and “One of the oldest English pubs in Canada” according to their website (est. 1867) — but with excellent food and amazing friendly service. As is typical in such pubs, not a great selection for veggheads, but their veggie burger (nuts and chick peas) is really fantastic. The fries are beer-battered to a lovely crispy dark golden colour and the fish is cooked really well, flaky, not squeaky. Mushy peas that come with the steak pie are very tasty. Lots of traditional British food... but with taste. There are also over 50 beers on tap. Not enough for you, how about that fireplace? Starters $7-15, mains $13-19.
  • 4 Irish Times, 1200 Government St, +1 250-383-7775. 9AM-1AM. Wonderful pub meals, good beer and lots of seating. Live music most nights.
  • 5 Maude Hunter's Pub, 3810 Shelbourne St, +1 250-721-2337. M-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-11PM. A neighbourhood pub.
  • 6 Spinnakers Brewpub, 308 Catherine St, Esquimalt, +1 250-386-2739. Restaurant open 8AM-11PM, taproom open 11AM-11PM. Within walking distance of downtown. A great place to go for a drink or a meal. There is a restaurant on the main floor, and a brewpub upstairs. Great atmosphere and a nice view of the Inner Harbour, especially in the evening. A variety of in-house brews, as well as whatever else you want to drink. $6-24.
  • 7 Swan’s Restaurant and Hotel, 506 Pandora Ave, +1 250-361-3310. M-F 11AM-1AM, Sa 10AM-1AM, Su 10AM-midnight. Swan’s brews their own beer and feature live music every night of the week. Menu includes thin crust pizza, sandwiches, burgers and a number of meat and fish dishes. Starters $5-16, mains $11-22.
  • 8 The Penny Farthing, 2228 Oak Bay Ave, Oak Bay, +1 250-370-9008. Tu-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su M 11AM-11PM. Feels like your typical British village pub, and the type of people you meet here are as charming as the pub itself. Large menu with flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, cheese and meat boards, and a number of entrees including some traditional British favourites like bangers & mash, fish & chips and shepherd's pie. Starters $6-13, mains $14-30.

North American Cuisine edit

  • 9 Big Wheel Burger, 341 Cook St, +1 250-381-0050. 11AM-10PM daily. A classic American cheeseburger joint with a focus on sustainability (it was Vancouver Island's first carbon-neutral restaurant). Delicious cheeseburgers and shakes gluten-free, vegetarian options and kid-friendly. Serves beer and wine as well. $10-20.
  • 10 Blue Crab Seafood House, 146 Kingston St (in The Coast Harbourside Hotel & Marina), +1 250-480-1999. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. Beautiful harbor-view dining with elegant atmosphere. True to its name, there are a number of crab dishes, as well as other seafood options. Starters $10-26, mains $20-60.
  • 11 Fairfield Fish and Chips, 1275 Fairfield Rd, +1 250-380-6880. Tu-Sa 11:30AM-7:30PM. Get your chips to go and take them 4 blocks down to the waterfront and enjoy the view of Juan De Fuca Strait. They do an especially light and fluffy batter.
  • 12 Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill, 536 Yates St, +1 250-360-1824. M 11:30AM-10PM, Tu-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 10AM-11PM (Upstairs oyster bar opens at 5PM nightly). Two restaurants — the grill and patio (with a focus on sandwiches, burgers and oysters) downstairs, and the upstairs oyster and seafood bar. A large menu and classy atmosphere, perfect for first dates or nights out with friends. Even the burgers are good. Starters $5-16, mains $11-32.
  • 13 John's Place, 723 Pandora Ave, +1 250-389-0711. M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa Su 8AM-9PM. A local favourite with some of the best staff in town and excellent food at decent prices. Does breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch on weekends. The Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is to die for (10 varieties)! Breakfast $7-15, dinner mains $9-17.
  • 14 Shine Cafe, 1458 Fort St (near Oak Bay Corners (Fort and Pandora), outside of downtown), +1 250-595-2133. 8AM-3PM daily. A very popular brunch spot with a variety of breakfast dishes, soups, sandwiches and burgers. A particularly interesting dish they make is Scottish breakfast with black pudding and potato scones. Expect a long wait after 11AM on weekends. There is now a second location downtown at 1320 Blanshard St (corner of Blanshard & Johnson). $7-15.

European Cuisine edit

  • 15 Brasserie L'ecole, 1715 Government St, +1 250-475-6260. Tu-Sa 5:30PM-11PM. A highly-acclaimed fine dining destination with the atmosphere of a classy but comfy Parisian restaurant. Considered to have some of the best food in Victoria. Starters $5-20, mains $20-50.
  • 16 Cafe Brio Restaurant, 944 Fort St, +1 250-383-0009, toll-free: +1-866-270-5461. Tu-Sa 5:30-10:30PM. Cured meats and Italian and local dishes in what Northwest Palate Magazine has called "a destination for serious diners from all over the U.S. and Canada." $13-34.
  • 17 Il Terrazzo Ristorante, 555 Johnson St (off Waddington Alley, behind Willy's Bakery), +1 250-361-0028. M-F 11:30AM-3PM & 5-10PM, Sa Su 5-10PM. Great Italian in a charming patio atmosphere. Salads & antipasto $8-16, pizza & pasta $16-22, mains $27-42.
  • 18 Oh Gelato!, 1013 Government St, +1 250-381-1418. 9AM-10:30PM. 66 flavours of beautifully-presented gelatos, garnished with bits of fruit or chocolate to illustrate their flavour, at $6.95 for a two-scoop cup. Also snacks and Canadian food souvenirs. Worth a stop to photograph the gelato.
  • 19 Pagliacci's, 1011 Broad St, +1 250-386-1662. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 10AM-10PM. One of the most popular Italian restaurants in town. Intimate settings and addictively scrumptious endless free bread. Always a good experience. Starters $7-15, pastas & mains $14-28.

West Coast Fusion edit

  • 20 Rebar Modern Food (Rebar), 50 Bastion Square, +1 250-361-9223. M-F 11:30AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-9PM, Su 9:30AM-8PM. A partially vegetarian restaurant with a diverse modern menu and a nice location. Limited vegan options, and many menu items contain fish. $8-22.
  • 21 The Mint, 1414 Douglas St (between Pandora and Johnson), +1 250-386-6468. M-F 11AM-4PM (The Mint Lunch); 5PM-2AM daily (The Mint). Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine in a swanky atmosphere, DJs included. The main restaurant (The Mint) is downstairs, with lunch fare (The Mint Lunch) served at street level. A popular spot for students. Starters $5-18, mains $10-23.
  • 22 The Noodle Box, 818 Douglas St, +1 250-384-1314. 11AM-9PM daily. Another very popular spot for locals. Serves southeast Asian food fresh and in a takeaway box. Wait times vary depending on the time of day (for example, 20-25 minutes during lunch hour rush), but the meal is worth it. Minimize the wait by phoning in your order in advance. The boxes look deceptively small, but they make a very filling meal. There are also locations at 3500 Uptown Blvd and Saanich (205-3749 Shelbourne St). $9-18.

Other cuisine edit

  • 23 2% Jazz Coffee, 1701 Douglas St (south side of the Hudson Building), +1 250-590-8282. M-F 7:30AM-3:30PM, Sa-Su 8AM-2:30PM. Coffee roaster and coffee shop, with regular blends and a rotating selection. For people who support socially-aware businesses, their single-use cups are biodegradable, and they pay their staff a living wage.
  • 24 Afternoon Tea, at the Empress Hotel, +1 250-389-2727. This is quintessentially Victoria or unbearably kitsch, depending on your taste. Afternoon Tea, served from noon, includes fine teas, fruit with cream, and elegant petite sandwiches. Altogether it is a full meal. West Coast Tea, served Th-Sa from 7PM onwards during the summer only, builds on the concept but is designed for cruise ship visitors. $42 per person. Reservations required, and should be made 1-2 weeks in advance. Dress-code is "smart casual": dresses and ties not required, but avoid tank tops and flip-flops.[. Price changes with the season, from $48 per person in summer to $38 in the winter.
  • 25 Bon Sushi, 1467 Hampshire Rd (Hampshire at Oak Bay Ave), +1 250-592-0008. M-W 11AM-8:30PM, Th-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 5PM-8:30PM. Small neighbourhood restaurant with eat in or take out. Authentic, no-frills, just good Japanese food. $10-20.
  • 26 Green Cuisine, 5-560 Johnson St (in the Market Square Centre), +1 250-385-1809. 10AM-8PM daily. Vegetarian Restaurant offers a buffet of 100% vegan dishes. $1.75 per 100g, with fruit drinks and soy milk shakes about $4 on top of that. A generous meal for two was under $30.

Drink edit

Because Victoria’s downtown is fairly small, most of the nightlife is within walking distance. Cabs aren’t too expensive and there isn’t too far to go to get from point A to B. Victoria's police force has an aggressive crackdown on drinking and driving, so take a cab, all you have to do is stumble to Douglas and eventually you will grab one before someone else. But if it’s a special night like Halloween or New Year’s Eve, expect a bit of a wait. Compared to clubs in larger cities, cover in Victoria is cheap, ranging from $3 to $10. Fridays and Saturdays: expect to pay $7 to get in the door and another $2 to check your coat. Compared to larger cities, Victoria's liquor is pretty pricey. There is a law in Victoria that requires all drinks to cost $3 at minimum for a serving of alcohol. Expect to pay at least $3 but most likely more for each drink. Beers and shots are about $5. Most bars have cash machines inside, and accept only cash as payment.

  • 1 Lucky Bar, 517 Yates St, +1-250-382-5825, . A bit small, but not nearly as costly as others. Wednesday night is Mod Night so dress in your hipster finest. Thursday night's "Hang The DJ" is probably the most tasteful music in the city, and the music-snob crowd reflects that. The crowd is a mix of straight and queer. Monday night is 90210 so dress to impress and get down there early.
  • 2 Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery, 350B Bay St, +1 250-380-0706. M-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F 11:30AM - midnight, Sa 11:30AM - 11PM, Su 11:30AM-8PM. A "beer" bar. Food is matched to the beer. In-house German-inspired beers are served along side craft beers from around British Columbia. Free overnight parking.
  • 3 Paparazzi (formerly known as Prism), 642 Johnson St, +1 250-388-0505. Victoria's gay crowd, although usually more comfortable at Lucky, will occasionally show their support and hang out at the “official” gay bar on Johnson St. The music is pumping and special drag shows or karaoke contests are often. Straight people are welcome...sort of...if they are willing to have a little fun anyway. This place is also home to the only good Karaoke night in town.
  • 4 Upstairs Cabaret, 15 Bastion Square (in Bastion Square), +1 250-385-5483, . For a slightly older crowd. Above the popular pub Darcy’s, the place gets busy on Saturday after the pub crowd are kicked out at 1AM when the (awesome) rock cover band finishes. Upstairs is a good size and plays a wide variety of music. The staff often ignores all patrons but their friends but with a bit of persistence you’ll get a drink.

Sleep edit

There are a number of areas to stay in Victoria with the most popular location being downtown. Other options include Sidney, the West Shore and the Upper Harbour district.

Budget edit

  • 1 Days Inn Victoria Uptown, 229 Gorge Road East, +1 250-388-6611, toll-free: +1-800-565-3777, fax: +1 250-388-4153, . In the heart of Victoria along the Gorge Waterway, rates starting at $69 per night with free internet and free parking. Pets are welcome and kids under 18 stay free. Rooms with kitchens are available.
  • 2 HI-Victoria Hostel, 516 Yates St, +1 250-385-4511, toll-free: +1-888-883-0099, fax: +1 250-385-3232. Check-in: Noon, check-out: 11AM. A bit institutional, but a good location otherwise. 24 or 44 people in a dorm. Private rooms also available. Internet access, free wifi, laundry, luggage storage, and lockers offered. Dorms from $20/member, $24/non-members. Private rooms from $57.75/members, $65.75/non-members.
Ocean Island Inn
  • 5 Ocean Island Inn, 791 Pandora Ave (in downtown core, corner of Pandora & Blanshard), +1 250-385-1788, toll-free: +1-888-888-4180, . Open 24/7. Weekly and biweekly rates available. There are also discounted monthly rates from October to May. Accommodations are comfortable and this place definitely has character (and an all-ages licensed café). Lots of rooms info and online booking on their website. Cheapest budget hotel downtown, free wireless internet in every room, and an internet café with computers that even have Skype. Shared dormitory-style rooms (4-6 people in a room) $19-27/night; Private hotel-style rooms $28-78/night.
  • 6 Turtle Hostel, 1608 Quadra St, +1 250-381-3210. Free coffee every morning, linens are provided, free wireless internet, laundry facilities, etc. It is in a neighbourhood noted for crime and drug use and attracts a crowd that many will not like. Private rooms are safe but unsuitable for all but the most desperate. $14 for a dorm bed a night to $35 singles.
  • UVic Housing (University of Victoria), +1 250-721-8395. Accommodation is available at Craigdarroch House for $60 (including cafeteria breakfast). Most suitable for those visiting the University. In the summer the University dorm rooms are available for $44-55 , or a 4 bedroom unit in the cluster housing for $160.

Mid-range edit

  • 7 Ambrosia Victoria Historic B&B, 522 Quadra St, toll-free: +1-877-262-7672. Ambrosia Victoria bed and breakfast is a historic 1897 heritage home. $125-255.
  • 8 Best Western Carlton Plaza, 642 Johnson St, toll-free: +1-800-663-7241. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Featuring free internet and complimentary bicycle rental. $89-179.
  • 9 Best Western Plus Inner Harbour Hotel, 412 Quebec St (650 m from coach station; 300 m from U.S. ferry terminal), +1 250-384-5122, toll-free: +1-888-383-2378, fax: +1 250-384-5113, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Complimentary continental breakfast buffet and covered parking. Outdoor seasonal heated pool, indoor whirlpool, sauna, steam room, and fitness room. Rooms are spacious, and each has a balcony or patio, some with a partial view of the harbour. Free wired and wireless internet access and tea/coffee maker are included. $99-699.
  • 10 Birds of a Feather, 206 Portsmouth Dr, toll-free: +1-800-730-4790. Bed and Breakfast Waterfront Accommodation with free parking. From $140.
  • 11 Dashwood Manor Bed and Breakfast, 1 Cook St, toll-free: +1-800-667-5517, . Beside historic Beacon Hill Park. Eleven ocean view rooms, some with fireplaces and double Jacuzzis. Full breakfast. Free off-street parking. The style and elegance of an old-world and gracious home. Monthly and weekly rates available.
  • 12 The Embassy Inn, 520 Menzies St (next to the Parliament Buildings), +1 250-382-8161, toll-free: +1-800-268-8161. An inner harbour hotel, offering a wide variety of rooms and suites available at your request. Free parking and wireless internet included in your booking. Starts at $89 plus taxes.
  • 13 Fairholme Manor B&B, 638 Rockland Pl, toll-free: +1-877-511-3322. A Victorian mansion. $145-325.
  • 14 Howard Johnson Hotel & Suites, 4670 Elk Lake Dr, +1 250-704-4656. Clean, comfortable rooms. $109-248.
  • 15 Huntingdon Manor Hotel, 330 Quebec St, toll-free: +1-800-663-7557. Good location on the south side of the Inner Harbour. Slightly faded rooms with British character. $100-250.
  • 16 Marketa's Bed and Breakfast, 239 Superior St, +1 250-384-9844. Edwardian heritage home serves continental breakfast. $90-140.
  • 17 Ocean Island Garden Suites, 143 Government St, +1 250-385-1785, toll-free: +1-888-828-0824, . Individually designed and decorated bright character suites. In quiet and historic James Bay, one block from Beacon Hill Park. Fully-equipped kitchens, queen sized beds, spacious garden/deck, private entrance, TV/DVD, laundry facilities, free parking, free wireless internet. Starts at $95/night.
  • 18 Quality Inn Downtown Victoria, 850 Blanshard St, +1 250-385-6787. Meeting & banquet facilities, pet friendly, on site restaurant, heated indoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, fitness room, free local phone, kitchenette available, jacuzzi suites, executive suites
  • 19 Ramada Victoria Hotel, 123 Gorge Road East, +1 250-386-1422. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Meeting & banquest rooms, business center, seasonal pool, complimentary internet, free parking, kitchenette suites, pet friendly $69-199.
  • 20 Victoria Harborwalk Bed & Breakfast Suite, 427 Heather St, +1 250-294-9985. A popular private character suite in James Bay just behind the Legislative Buildings and the Royal BC Museum. $108-148.

Splurge edit

Fairmont Empress Hotel
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe

Stay safe edit

There is a drug presence among people living on the streets and in the bars. This means that panhandling can be a problem. Panhandlers are aggressive despite laws against this behaviour. You may wish to avoid Pandora Ave between Cook and Quadra as this is where a huge majority hang out. Do not walk around parks and grassy areas in sandals or bare feet as there are many needles discarded in these areas, city workers are quick to clean them up but it is always a good idea to be careful in these areas. However there is a strong police presence on downtown streets during the summer, especially on weekends at night. This problem is generally confined to the tourist area bounded by Blanshard Street.

Because all the bars and clubs are very close together, many drunken people spill into the streets at 2AM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and are in fact more dangerous than the street people. If you are out and about at this time (or have your downtown hotel room window open) be prepared to deal with all that drunken idiots have to offer such as public urination, shouting and rude comments.

In the unlikely event of a major earthquake, duck and cover and stay where you are during the shaking, then go outside once the shaking stops. Buildings and other structures are unlikely to collapse. Your largest threats come from breaking windows and falling objects such as ceiling tiles and bookshelves. Try to get under a table, desk, or door jamb to reduce your exposure to these threats. You are more likely to be injured if you try to run during the shaking.

Connect edit

The area codes for Victoria, and British Columbia as a whole, are 250 and 778. Because their areas overlap, all numbers must be dialed with the area code, including local calls.

By mail edit

  • 5 Canada Post, (main post office) 709 Yates St (Douglas & Yates St). Retail counter M-F 9AM-5PM. Postcodes for Victoria BC range from V8N to V9E. Local neighbourhood post offices are operated by franchised retail outlets such as pharmacies, office supplies stores, print shops and convenience stores where they sell postal products and services and accept outgoing mail. Some locations have post office boxes for rent to receive incoming mail. They typically will have a "Canada Post" sign up.

Cope edit

Newspaper edit

Hospitals edit

Go next edit

Victoria is only a starting place to explore Vancouver Island by bus, car or bike.

Five hours by car to the west, Tofino is famous for its surfing and nature. The small town of Comox and its neighbour Courtenay are cozy and full of beautiful beaches. Head to Shawnigan Lake for a really small town and hit the lake in a canoe or the trails by foot. Nearby Hornby, Denman and Salt Spring Island each have a distinct vibe and are worth the visit just to check out something a little different. There is a lot of hiking, biking and camping. And of course, for the more city-loving folk, ferries from Victoria take you to bustling Vancouver or Seattle.

Hitchhiking is relatively common on Vancouver Island and may be useful for getting around.

Routes through Victoria
NanaimoLangford  N   S  END
Vancouver via  Sidney  N   S    Port Angeles

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