Victoria is a City on the southern end of Vancouver Island. To get there you could fly or take the BC Ferry from Tsawwassen, which is about 45 minutes south of Vancouver. The ferry that also takes cars and RV vehicles takes about 1 ½ hours to cross over to Swatz Bay in Victoria. It is best to book the Ferry well in advance, particularly if you intend to take your vehicle with you. Reservations: call 1 888 724 5223 in BC or 1 604 444 2890 if outside of BC.
You can also get to Victoria by Floatplane from Vancouver or from Seattle in Washington State (USA). The Victoria Clipper also takes passengers from Seattle to Victoria too, and there is the M V Coho vehicle ferry that takes passengers from Port Angeles to Victoria, or the Helijet that flies between Vancouver and Victoria landing at Ogden Point, next to the Cruise Terminal on Victoria Harbour.
Victoria with a population of around 80,000 is very much a place to just wander and see gardens and historic homes and enjoy the ambience of the city with its English style double decker Hop on-Hop off tourist buses (See www.sightseeingvictoria.com ), horse drawn carriage rides and the closeness to the harbour with all its boats and ferries.
The City was (and still is) home to Songhee, Saamich and Sooke First Nations people when Captain James Cook first landed here in 1778. In 1843 James Douglas, a Company man established a Hudson Bay Trading Post here, the settlement he established taking on the local name, Camosack. The name was changed to Victoria in 1852, in honour of Queen Victoria at the time of the Gold Rushes, when thousands of gold diggers arrived in the Port hoping to find gold in the Fraser River area on the mainland.
Victoria became a City in 1862, a colonial Capital in 1866 and the Capital of British Columbia in 1871, when Canada was formed.
When you first arrive in the City, the most noticeable feature of the city is the Harbour with the marinas and City spread out around it. It is beautiful harbour, and standing out next to it is the imposing façade of the Empress Hotel, which at night is lit up too. It is one of the grand hotels run by the Fairmont Hotels group – see www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria and even if you do not stay here, it is worth enjoying an English Afternoon tea at the hotel.
While people do come to Victoria for the day from Vancouver or Seattle, it is worth staying longer to really get a feel for the city and what it offers.
These are some of the places to see in Victoria -
Victoria clings to its British Heritage and you get a real for its history and people by coming here to see the City and what it offers.
There are many good hotels and B&B accommodation options to choose from, and certainly the gardens are world renowned.
I hope you have a great time coming here to Vancouver and Victoria.