Victoria is the largest city on Vancouver Island and one of oldest European established cities in the Pacific Northwest. In 1843 it was chosen as a trading post for the Hudson Bay Company and named in honour of Queen Victoria herself. Prior to this the area was inhabited by several First Nations groups and whilst the city swiftly became a large European settlement, today many First Nations people, from all over Vancouver Island, still call this home. Also known as the ‘Garden City’ it is often cited, perhaps unsurprisingly, as having a certain English feel to it, however, it is also infused with an unmistakable Canadian vibrancy and flair and offers a great range of cultural and scenic attractions.
The city is adorned with a sweeping ocean-front, large parks and a pretty harbour from which there are regular departures by boat and sea-plane on whale-watching and sight-seeing excursions. The downtown area is compact enough to comfortably walk around, with many diverse neighbourhoods, well-tended parks and a heady selection of boutique and unique stores, welcoming cafes and impressive museums and art galleries.
Having said all this, you don’t have to dig too deep to glimpse the inner workings of the city, from the sturdy fishing boats which still make their living from the surrounding waters, to the Province’s political hub of government buildings and the locals favourite sea-front walking paths – Victoria is a city which makes you feel like a guest rather than just a visitor.