Victoria Parliament Buildings and Inner Harbour, Photo Destination BC Reuben Krabbe
Victoria is a world-famous destination for visitors and is British Columbia’s capital. Known as the Garden City, it is home to some magnificent gardens and parks. Government House with 14 hectares of gardens and woodlands, the small but stunning Agkhazi Garden, Beacon Hill Park, The Gardens at HCP and the world-famous Butchart Gardens and Butterfly Gardens in Brentwood Bay. With a spectacular inner harbour, Victoria has a downtown filled with old-world charm. It is graced with beautifully restored heritage buildings, wonderful local cuisine and unique shops along Government Street, Trounce Alley, Bastion Square, Chinatown and Antique Row. Flower baskets are everywhere, and the Inner Harbour is a hub of activity and bustles with kayaks, whale watching boats, tour boats, ferries and floatplanes. In the summer, street performers and artisans line the walkway.
Attractions are plentiful in and around Victoria. Discover the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Maritime Museum of BC, Craigdarroch Castle, built in the 1880s and is now a gorgeous museum, Hatley Park National Historic Site, Miniature World and many more. And don’t miss a visit to the BC Legislative Buildings with its gold and silver leaf, murals, ornate plaster details and wood mouldings that ornament the richly-hued walls and ceilings.
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, on the Saanich Peninsula, 32 km (20 mi) south of the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal which services ferries from Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen in the Vancouver area. From Nanaimo, Victoria is 112 km (70 mi) south via the Trans Canada Highway 1. Ferries from Port Angeles and Seattle in Washington State, USA provide regular service to Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
In 1843, the Hudson’s Bay Company founded a fur trading settlement in the Victoria area called Fort Camosun; it was later renamed Fort Victoria to honour the British Queen. In 1849, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s western headquarters was moved from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria, and the Fort Vancouver Chief Factor, James Douglas, was relocated to the new settlement. This prompted the British colonial office to designate the territory a crown colony. The Hudson’s Bay Company was then given a ten-year lease to the area, and in 1951, Douglas was appointed the new governor.
In 1866, when the Colony of Vancouver Island united with the mainland, Victoria became the capital of the new united colony; when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871, Victoria became the provincial capital.