Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria is home to an important university and naval base. More than 75.000 residents call Victoria their home. Beside Vancouver Victoria is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
A LITTLE HISTORY
The first residents were the Salish Indians. Victoria was founded in 1843 by James Douglas, acting in order of the Hudson Bay Company that wanted to establish a branch for fur-trading. When gold was found in the Cariboo in the 1850s, Victoria became important as supply post. Victoria was incorporated in 1862 and became the capital of British Columbia in 1871. The construction of the fabulous Empress Hotel in 1908 was the beginning of Victoria's career as tourism destination. Victoria is considered to be the most British city outside of Great Britain not least because still today there are more British-born residents in Victoria than anywhere else in Canada.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Royal BC Museum is a must for each visitor to Victoria, even if you are normally not attracted by museums. There are great sections on geology, vegetation and wildlife with many models and exhibits which are incredibly realistic. Furthermore you will find areas devoted to the Native Indians of British Columbia. A town with buildings and goods out of the 19th and early 20th-century is displayed. Native wildflowers of British Columbia you may study in the outside garden.
In front of the Parliament Buildings you will find the Royal London Wax Museum which displays more than 200 wax models of historical and contemporary figures. It is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.
The Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent) was build in the 1880s and has been the impressive home of Robert Dunsmuir, a coal millionaire. The entire building is furnished with furniture of that time and offers an excellent view of times past. In summer it is open daily from 9 am to 7 pm, the rest of the year from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
The Pacific Undersea Gardens are kind of a natural aquarium on the harbour of Belleville Street and offers the visitor an inside of the marine world.
The Crystal Garden is a colourful, tropical garden with many endangered animals and birds as well as some free-flying butterflies. In July and August it is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm, the rest of the year it will be closed at 5.30 pm.
The Scenic Marine Drive - you can start from the Fisherman's Wharf or Beacon Hill Park - offers picturesque views over the sea. You will see many parks and beaches and also get to Oak Bay, one of the wealthiest areas of Victoria.
Victoria is a destination also for whale-watching. Many businesses offer their services to watch orcas. The waters around Victoria are well known for fishing, especially for deep-sea fishing. Saanich Inlet has one of the highest concentrations of salmon in the world. The Georgia Strait offers world-class diving opportunities. The marine life is varied. Many businesses offer their services.
Further information on destinations on Vancouver Island can be found here: