Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off the Pacific coast. Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s. The city is about 60 miles from Seattle by airplane, ferry, or the Victoria Clipper, a car free, passenger ferry. Victoria an attractive city is known as “The Garden City”, and a popular tourism destination with a temperate climate and a relaxed pace. The city is a major cruise destination with whale watching tour boats, a Tall Ships Festival and the very popular Victoria Dragon Boat Festival.
Leave the city behind, when you take a deep breath while stepping onboard your tour boat to discover wide open spaces, spectacular rugged coastline, snow capped mountains and British Columbia’s iconic wildlife. Mists roll over spectacular temperate rainforests and the sun breaks through to spotlight chattering bald eagles. British Columbia is home to three orca pods totaling over 80 killer whales and other marine mammals. Whale and wildlife watching tours let you experience BC’s enchanting marine wildlife of orcas, porpoises, sea lions, humpback whales and more.
Beacon Hill Park is the central city’s main urban green space with an area of 190 acres including numerous playing fields, manicured gardens, exotic species of plants and animals. In the heart of downtown are The Empress Hotel, the gothic Christ Church Cathedral, and the Royal British Columbia Museum/IMAX National Geographic Theatre. The Royal British Columbia Museum contains large exhibits of local Aboriginal peoples, natural history, and modern history, along with travelling international exhibits. Other notable downtown landmarks are the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Emily Carr House, Victoria Bug Zoo, and Market Square.
Just north of the city limits is Butchart Gardens, a botanical garden and National Historic Site. The founders Mr. and Mrs. Butchart collected plants and ornamental birds from all over the world and created an Italian Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Sunken Garden, a Rose Garden and a Star Pond. Several bronze statues are displayed in the gardens with one of a wild boar, a donkey with foal, and a fountain statue of three sturgeons. Butchart Gardens attractions also include The Rose Carousel, the only carousel on Vancouver Island. The carousel design includes a menagerie of thirty animals ranging from bears, to horses, to ostriches, to zebras, to cats and mirrors of world. The Gardens in 2008 introduced the Jennie B, an electrically driven 12-passenger boat, which plies the local coastlines in the summer giving visitors an appreciation of the waterside history plus coastal aquatic plants and animals.