Victoria Vacations

Victoria, British Columbia

Western Canada Escorted Tours & Vacations by Globus
Western Canada Affordable Vacations & Tours by Cosmos

The City

History
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria, the oldest city in Western Canada combines the best of both worlds - the amenities and intrigue of a resort destination with the convenience and accessibility of a capital city. Victoria has long been known for its British heritage. But there is another side to the city's "tweed curtain" - Victoria is also a cosmopolitan island destination alive with world-class accommodation, luxurious spas, and decadent food and wine. The pulse of the city can be felt through its cultured arts and entertainment scene and bustling shopping districts. As British Columbia's capital city, Victoria is Full of Life.

Population
The city of Victoria has a population of approximately 78,000. The metropolitan area, made up of thirteen municipalities which are informally referred to as Greater Victoria has a population of more than 338,000.

Climate
Victoria also boasts the mildest climate in the country, with an average of 2,183 hours of sunshine each year and as a result, outdoor adventure and gardens abound year-round.

Activities/Sights

Whale Watching:
  • The resident Killer Whale or Orca is the main whale found in the waters off the coast of Victoria.
  • They travel in groups called pods of up to 30 or 40. Locally there are 3 pods (J,K and L) that inhabit the waters around Victoria and the San Juan Islands. Collectively there about 82 whales in total. The males can live 45-60 years and females 55-70 years.
  • Viewing is best between May and October with 95% chance of sightings in July and August. In June and September, the viewing may be 80% and 60% in May and October.
  • Departing from Victoria there are about 16 whale watching companies that offer 3 hour whale watching excursions. There are many different types of vessels from the 12 passenger rigid inflatable most commonly known as Zodiacs to the larger catamaran and enclosed boats that can carry up to 150 passengers.
Butchart Gardens:
  • In 1904, Jennie Butchart began to beautify a worked-out quarry site left behind from her husband's pioneering efforts in the manufacture of Portland cement at Tod Inlet, Vancouver Island, Canada
  • The Butchart Gardens remains a family business and has grown to become a premier West Coast display garden
  • Each year over 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties are used throughout the Gardens to ensure uninterrupted bloom from March through October
  • 4 main gardens - Italian, Sunken, Japanese, and Rose Gardens
  • In 2004 The Gardens were designated as a National Historic Site of Canada
  • The Butchart Gardens remains in the family today, Robin Clarke the great grandchild of Robert Pim and Jennie Foster Butchart, continues the tradition of family management, the next generation is represented by her son, Barnabas
BC Ferries:
  • British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., or British Columbia Ferries, is known for safety, spectacular scenery and a proud maritime history.
  • What began in 1960 as a two vessel, two terminal operation has grown into one of the largest, most sophisticated ferry transportation systems in the world. Our fleet of 36 vessels serves a diverse range of communities - up to 47 ports of call - along the coast of British Columbia, Canada.
  • At the grandest end of the spectrum are the S-Class twins, Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island. Measuring 560 feet long (picture two football fields back-to-back), these vessels can accommodate up to 2,100 people and 470 vehicles which sail the 95 minute journey between Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - through the magnificent scenery of the southern Gulf Islands

Dining

B.C. Vineyards
Cruise over to Vancouver Island where the growing conditions are ideal for cultivating a range of cool-climate grapes. The scenic landscapes will engage you as you journey between wineries. For distinctive local cheese and fresh produce, be sure to stop at a few small farms along the way.

British Heritage/High Tea
Afternoon Tea, one of Victoria's oldest British traditions, dates back to the late 1700's when dinner was served very late in the evening. Share in this most celebrated ritual at the majestic Fairmont Empress hotel.

Dining - General
Victoria boasts the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America offering everything from casual cafes, to microbrew pubs to fine dining. Victoria's dynamic, young chefs and the Island cuisine they create have garnered Victoria and Vancouver Island a prominent place on the culinary map. From fresh berries and seafood to cheeses and micro-brewed ales, Victoria excels at making the most of its local ingredients and producers. For the international food lover, there's virtually every type of cuisine.

Fun Facts

  • The Fairmont Empress serves 750,000 cups of tea per year.
  • There are 3,330 lights on the Parliament Buildings.
  • The Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in North America.
  • Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island which is the largest island off the west coast of North America.
  • Victoria is closer to the U.S.A. than to mainland Canada.
  • Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia and seat of Provincial Government.