Welcome to Victoria
This vibrant capital city is both picturesque and full of history.
The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria is a historic and vibrant place to live. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and just across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca from Washington, Victoria offers exciting nightlife, a rich history, and beautiful scenery and architecture.
One of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, Victoria was founded in 1843 by British settlers and named after Queen Victoria herself. It became a hub for immigrants entering British Columbia and boasts the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America (just behind the one in San Francisco, California).
Much of Victoria’s history is preserved in its stunning 19th- and 20th-century architecture — including the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress, and Craigdarroch Castle — as well as views of British Columbia’s natural beauty.
Victoria blends the old and the new perfectly — it celebrates well-preserved historic architecture while simultaneously welcoming the new with its blossoming tech sector.
What to Love
- Elegant, classic, historic architecture throughout the city.
- Exciting urban life surrounded by scenic beauty.
- Breathtaking views of both the mountains and the sea.
Victoria is home to a burgeoning technological sector, which means that professionals in the tech industry are moving to the city. Since it is also the provincial capital, many legislators and other government employees reside in Victoria. While the city isn’t exactly a college town, it has a number of schools and universities that attract students from across both the province and the nation. Because of this blend, there is something to do in Victoria for all age groups and lifestyles.
Dining, Shopping, & Entertainment
offers food stalls and shops, as well as the opportunity to observe a working harbour. If you enjoy seafood, you can purchase the catch of the day straight from the fisherman who caught it. Visitors can also be lucky enough to see some marine life, like seals.
The Bay Centre
is an expansive shopping centre with both local and global retailers and restaurants.
The Fairmont Empress
is part of the renowned hotel chain with luxurious accommodations all across the world. The Fairmont Empress boasts stunning views of Victoria’s harbour, as well as several restaurants, including Q at the Empress, the Veranda, and Tea at the Empress.
Fan Tan Alley
, located in Chinatown, is the narrowest street in Canada, according to the Tourism Victoria website. It is full of a diverse and eclectic mix of shops and eateries and a great place to spend the afternoon and enjoy a tasty treat or hunt down a vintage record.
The Victoria Public Market
offers a selection of local and imported food and ingredients, as well as specialty shops, artisans, florists, and more. Located in the historic Hudson Building, The Victoria Public Market is the perfect place to stock up on groceries or enjoy some gourmet treats.
Things to Do
Harbour Air Seaplanes
offers four different aerial tours of Victoria, including panorama tours of the city and its surroundings, a day trip from Victoria to Vancouver, and even a trip to the Butchart Gardens
for Afternoon Tea.
Victoria is home to Canada’s Oldest Chinatown
. This thriving community is over 150 years old and an important testament to the importance of Victoria’s immigrant community. During the 1850s, it was a hub for immigration and welcomed Chinese prospectors hoping to strike it rich during the Gold Rush, as well as in the 1880s when it was the point of entry for Chinese construction workers who built the Canadian Pacific Railway. Victoria’s Chinatown is a great place to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine and learn about British Columbia’s thriving Chinese community.
Victoria’s Inner Harbour
has been used for seafaring for centuries, beginning with the First Nations people. To this day, it is a charming harbour home to vessels both big and small. It’s a popular starting point for whale watching tours and also has a ferry service that connects you to ports in nearby Washington.
The Gorge Waterway Park
is a waterside park that offers beautiful landscaping along with picnic areas and a path alongside the water.
For a taste of British Columbia history, you can take a tour of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings
. The guided tours are free of charge and a great way to learn more about the province.
Schools in the area include:
- South Park Family School
- James Bay Community School
- George Jay Elementary
- Oaklands Elementary
- École Intermédiaire
- Central Middle School
- Victoria High School