Vancouver Island / Victoria
Off Canada’s west coast, Vancouver Island is the largest Island on the Pacific Coast of North America. The mild coastal climate draws visitors here year round, being one of the warmest places in Canada in winter.
Most visitors begin their trip to Vancouver Island in Victoria, a small city with a friendly small town atmosphere known internationally as the City of Gardens.
Victoria and Inner Harbour
With double decker buses, afternoon tea, homes that look like castles and pubs with name’s like Sticky Wicket and The Penny Farthing, what more could one ask for while on holiday. Victoria is home to a vibrant and electric arts and culture community, showcasing world-class performing arts, museums and festivals. Heritage charm and modern urban living is part of what makes B.C’s capital one of the most uniquely special places in Canada. British and colonial past can be seen clearly in its architecture. Filled with gardens and sea front parks, stately hotels, bohemian eateries lined with patios, shops along the Market Square and free guided tours, it’s a wonderer’s paradise.
Arrival is usually by air or ferry from Vancouver or Seattle. Ferries run regularly from Vancouver to Nanaimo. Victoria’s Harbor Ferry Company is renowned for it’s friendly skippers, water ballet and leisurely 75 minute Gorge Tours. Escape the bustling downtown and discover Victoria from the water. The city’s inner harbor is the only working harbor in Canada with over 100 aircrafts and 1000 vessels moving through it each year. Look for the dockside “Ferry Stop” signs and hop on board, admire the beauty of the ocean and reflect on the area’s history.
Be sure to make time for Juan De Fuca Strait. The area includes some of the oldest dwellings in the city. Beacon Hill Park, is a favorite outdoor area among Victorians.
Another impressive building is Hatley Castle, Canada’s largest and most diverse national historic site. This prestigious property was built in the Scottish, baronial style in 1908. Through the beautifully manicured gardens surrounding the castle, tours run daily either self guided or booked with a guide.
A fairytale mansion. It is also Government House, the official residence of Her Majesty’s representative in B.C . This historic castle is also open to the public.
Want to see breath-taking views of the city? Check out Malahat Skywalk, a 2,133-foot tree top walk through magnificent Arbutus Forest.
The Parliament Buildings at night are definitely a sight to see. Lit up by a wondrous display of over 3,000 lights and large statues surrounding it, this is a spectacular site to see!
With the second highest number of restaurants per capital in North America, over 70 city parks, stunning sandy beaches, ancient rainforests with towering cedars, all natural ski fields, wine growing, zip lining, glaciers and waterfalls, there really is a little bit of everything here.
World class whale watching, kayaking, fishing, sailing, the Imax Theater – the list is endless with fun for everyone.
Butterfly Gardens is something for the whole family, leaving you with memories you will never forget.
Looking for a little adventure? Try Zippy Zodiac in Tofino, you’ll be amazed at how close you can get to the bears, perfect for that avid photographer! Tofino is a small friendly town packed with independent art shops, cafés and restaurants. Surfing is a favorite past time here, but if you don’t surf you will have just as much fun combing the beaches and watching the whales. Fantastic hotels with ocean views will surely have you looking forward to resting and kicking your feet up at night.
And if that doesn’t sound relaxing enough, head to the Hot Spring’s Cove, with a 90 minute pleasant boat ride up the pristine coast or 20 minute seaplane flight from Tofino. To get to this stunning remote spot, walk for half an hour down a scenic boardwalk trail through the old Goth Forest until you reach the hot pools – 7 Natural Geothermal hot pools to be exact, including a waterfall. Sit back and indulge.
Just when you think it really couldn’t get much better than this, we haven’t even mentioned Delta Fall’s yet, the highest waterfall in Canada and also the top 10 highest in the world.
And we can’t forget the Gulf Island’s, more than 200 islands that offer stunning views, coastal activities, seafood and each it’s own culture and vibe.
Overall I believe it’s safe to say you can find it all here and visitors will delight in the wild beauty and endless adventures of Vancouver Island!