Victorian architecture in the city center, tours on red double-decker buses — everywhere in Victoria you can feel the connection with the English homeland. For nearly a century and a half, this tranquil city with its beautiful gardens and golf courses has been the goal of British Columbia. With its stunning location on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the wonderful beaches and bays of Victoria — one of the most popular holiday destinations in Western Canada.
337 thousand people live in the capital and its suburbs, but still it seems small. The atmosphere of good old England, calmness and comfort delight tourists, especially American. The boutiques selling tweed and English porcelain, cobblestone pavements in the center, and traditional afternoon tea parties are reminiscent of the old days of the British Empire. The yacht ports and beaches of the Juan de Fuca Strait offer views of the snow-capped mountains of the Olympia Peninsula in the US state of Washington. Thanks to the maritime climate in Victoria, there are almost no frosts, and numerous parks and neat gardens at the villas are buried in flowers.
You should definitely take a walk along Bucart Gardens ( B u tc hart Gardens), one of Canada’s most beautiful parks.
The city has many beautiful golf courses. It is not surprising that many wealthy Canadians, having retired, move to Victoria with its mild climate. But in recent years, the city has become fashionable among young people — both as a place of residence and as a meeting place.
Pages of history
In 1843, fur merchant James Douglas, on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Company, established a fort at the southern tip of Cape Vancouver, which was named after Queen Victoria. By 1858, Victoria was becoming the largest port city on the Pacific coast north of San Francisco.
Thousands of adventurers went from here to goldfields by the Fraser River, numerous merchant ships of the Hudson’s Bay Company arrived, the fort quickly turned into a city.
Victoria received the corresponding status in 1862. And after the accession of British Columbia to the Confederation in 1871, Victoria became the provincial capital. It remains the seat of the government to this day.
Southwest Coast Trip
Leaving the city on Highway 1A, you will soon find yourself at Craigflower Farmhouse (Craigflower Farmhouse, 10 Island Hwy.) — a colossal-style building, one of the oldest in Canada (1856).
Fort Rodd Hill on the west side of Esquimolt’s military port once guarded the entrance; defensive structures are perfectly preserved and are now a historical park. At the tip of the spit since 1860 stands the Fisgard Lighthouse, the oldest on the West Coast of Canada (now the museum).
Suuki (Sooke, 38 km west of Victoria) every year on the third weekend of July celebrates All Sooke Day — an old British Columbia lumberjack festival. To the west of the town, whose inhabitants are engaged in wood processing and fishing, the highway goes through coastal forests to the northwest.
Sooke Harbor House, 1528 Whiff en Spit Rd, Sooke, 250 / 642-3421 (approximately 40 min drive from Victoria), w ww.sookeharbourhouse.com . Superb local cuisine, with spectacular sea views.
Highway 14 ends at Port Renfrew (104 km) on the south coast of the San Juan Fjord. In the quiet village begins the famous West oast Trail hiking trail, which leads to Pacific Rim National Park (tours required, Box 280, Hrluelet, BC VoR CJSC, 250 / 726-7721 g). who have no desire or time for a multi-day trip, can just take a walk along the shores of China Beach Provincial Park, llolanical Beach).
Away from the harbor
On the waterfront, tourists are waiting for all sorts of entertainment and attractions — for example, Undersea Gardens (Undersea Gardens).
A special recommendation is the Royal British Columbia Museum, one of the best museums in Western Canada, where there are often interesting exhibitions. Large dioramas, reproduced street scenes — the exposition presents the nature and history of the province.
The upper floor is entirely dedicated to the Indians of the northwest coast; Totem poles and other wood carvings are especially interesting here. In the park (Thunderbird Park) behind the museum you can also see totem poles and traditional dwellings of the Indians.
In the summer, Carving House is invited to observe the work of Indian artists. A short path leads to Helmcken House — the home of Helmken’s physician, built in 1852 and furnished in accordance with the era; This apartment building is considered the oldest in Western Canada.
North of the park on Duglas Street, you can see the white Crystal Garden building, where exhibitions are held and you can see a huge three-dimensional map of British Columbia. After walking a few steps along Government Street or Douglas Street, the main streets of the center, you reach Fort Street.
It ends with the beautiful Bastion Square, where antique shops, boutiques, and cafes are housed in stylishly restored old houses. There is also the Maritime Museum, the exposition of which consists mainly of ship models.
The long-standing ties between Victoria and China are indicated by Fisgard Street (four streets north of Bestion Square): it is the center of Canada’s oldest Chinatown, and there are Chinese restaurants and exotic shops at every turn.
Along the panoramic road
From the panoramic Drive Marine Drive, which starts from Beacon Hill Park, you can admire Victoria in all its glory.
Further along the coast are Dallas Road, Crescent Road and Beach Drive, and at each turn, new views of the sea straits open. Oaf Bay and Uplands — elegant neighborhoods of villas buried in gardens; there are golf courses and yacht clubs.
It’s better to return to the city center along Rockland Avenue, which goes through the old Victorian quarters.
Street cafes, shops, narrow alleys — this is the center of Victoria. And the real forest of masts in the Inner Harbor harbor, where yachts and cruise ships come, gives it a special character.
In the northeast of the bay (Government / Wharf Streets) is the City Tourism Center. Here, on the promenade, stands the beautiful building of the Empress Hotel, where in the elegant hall you can have tea after lunch from 15.00-17.00).
But this pleasure is only for adults, and children can be pleased with a visit to the Museum of Puppet Rooms (Miniature World) in the northern wing of the building, where 80 scenes from fairy tales and episodes from the history of Canada are presented.
In front of the hotel stands the Parliament Building in the summer of daily excursions), built in 1898 in Victorian style. In the square in front of the main building there are totem poles of the Indians of the northwest coast and a statue of Queen Victoria, whose name bears the city.
In fine weather, a walk along Inner Harbor can be made by water on 12-seater Harbor Ferry boats.