Capturing the essence of Victoria, British Columbia in words is almost impossible. You have to experience Victoria to fully appreciate it. Located on a protected harbor on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, it is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, settled by the British in 1843, and is known as one of the most British cities outside England. It also ranks as one of the top cities in the world for quality of life. As the capital of British Columbia it is well serviced by airplanes and ferries from multiple points in the U.S. and Canada. One of the most interesting ways to arrive is by float plane — Kenmore Air and Harbour Air will both land you right downtown.
Victoria is very walkable, and the most popular attractions are within two miles of the inner harbor. The city has a rich collection of historic buildings, including the Parliament Building, completed in 1897, and the Empress Hotel, which opened in 1908. An interesting assortment of marine architecture can be found at Fisherman’s Wharf, where a colorful group of houseboats nestle in a cove.
Victoria has a healthy economy made up primarily of tech businesses, government agencies, and the tourism sector. The internationally diverse population brings with it cosmopolitan offerings — restaurants and shops abound, many of which are located in a creatively restored merchant district. The well-established Chinatown neighborhood is almost as old as San Francisco’s.
Set on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the city is surrounded by natural beauty, clean air and clear water. It’s abundant sunshine and mild temperatures have earned it the nickname the Garden City. It enjoys relatively mild, dry weather in what is otherwise a cool, damp area. Don’t miss the Butchart Gardens, about a 30-minute drive north of Victoria. It is one of the world’s premier botanical displays.
With a circumnavigation distance of approximately 550 nautical miles, including dozens of marinas and hundreds of scenic anchorages, one could spend years exploring Vancouver Island and not cover the same ground twice. Victoria and Vancouver Island are a boater’s paradise.
Where to Dock:
- Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina – Located right in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, marina guests have full access to hotel amenities including the fitness center, pool and WiFi.
- Causeway Floats, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority – Offering 300 feet of floating dock space for vessels up to 250 feet along with 30 amp electricity.
Where to Dine:
- Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill Il Terrazzo – Offering fine dining in a courtyard setting and voted best Italian restaurant in town.
- The Tapa Bar – Open for lunch and dinner with a diverse menu of Spanish-style fare
- The Flying Otter Grill – Tie up your vessel and sample dishes like the hailbut burger and the wild-salmon wrap. There’s an amazing view of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.