an authentic Double-Decker bus for a tour of the city or a trip to
Victoria's mild climate makes outdoor activities such as hiking,
cycling and golf a year round activity. The game of cricket has been
played here since 1858, and today over 90 teams are active in the area.
A stroll down to the cricket field at Beacon Hill Park will introduce
you to the finer points of the game. There are many parks in the city
with Beacon Hill Park being the most popular. With over 184 acres, Beacon
Hill not only provides splendid views of the ocean, but also one may
visit the Children's Farm Petting
Zoo, a popular place to take the kids. Close by is the duck
pond with its assortment of resident waterfowl .
You can also easily visit Helmcken
, BC's oldest standing home open to the public.
It is situated behind the Totem Poles and Longhouse at Thunderbird
, beside the Royal BC Museum.
by is the historical St.
Ann's Academy. St. Ann's was established in 1858 , and the building
as we see it today was constructed in three sections, between 1871 and
1913. The Sisters operated a school, Convent and Novitiate within its
walls. The grounds went through several phases, serving meditative,
recreational and practical needs over the years. The Academy closed
its doors in 1973, but the history and development continues, with restorations
and its current uses.
Garden is an exquisite heritage garden which was created
in the late 1940's by Prince and Princess Nicholas Abkhazi.
It has been owned by The Land Conservancy of BC since February
2000 when it was purchased as part of a community effort to
save the site from a housing development. The garden, gift
shop and tea room is open to the public. Guided group tours
can also be arranged in advance.
Castle, Victoria's legendary landmark, is only a 20-30 minute
walk from Victoria's Inner Harbour with interesting antique shops
and services along the way. Bus service to Joan Crescent, a two minute
walk from the Castle is available from downtown.
Park National Historic Site - On
the ocean, amidst the forest, by the castle, in the gardens,
Hatley Park National Historic Site is one of the most beautiful
and diverse properties in Canada. Located 25 minutes west of
downtown Victoria, this 565-acre site features more than 15 kilometres
of walking trails through a rare ecosystem that includes old
growth forest, Gary Oak meadows, and a wildlife sanctuary. At
the heart of this Edwardian estate are exquisite Japanese, Italian
and Rose Gardens, a museum, and Hatley Castle, built by renowned
architect Samuel Maclure for former Premier, Lieutenant Governor
and coal baron James Dunsmuir.
is the capital city of British Columbia and consists of the municipalities
of Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal and Esquimalt with an overall population
of 326,000. Passenger and vehicle ferries sailing between Victoria, Seattle,
Bellingham and Port Angeles dock in Victoria's Inner Harbour as well as
many float planes and visiting boaters. Moorage can be found near the Canada
Customs wharf. Also located in the Inner Harbour is the Tourism InfoCentre
where hundreds of brochures, maps, etc. can be found as well as regularly
scheduled whale watching or fishing charters, harbour cruises and nature
the Legislative Buildings and be sure to see the buildings at night when
they are outlined by thousands of tiny lights. Many specialty shops, can
be found along Government Street, Antique Row on Fort Street and several
interesting and unusual shops in Victoria's Chinatown along Fan Tan Alley,
the narrowest street in Canada. Market Square features over 40 different
shops and restaurants on two levels around an inner courtyard.
Visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and other galleries displaying the works of local and internationally
renowned artists. Government
House on Rockland Avenue, east of downtown, is closed to the public;
however, you may tour the gardens which have been maintained for over
a hundred years. Also of interest are the many elegant mansions along
Rockland Avenue, built in the 1880's and 1890's. Craigdarroch
Castle, the 39-room mansion built by B.C.'s first millionaire, is
open to the public for tours.
A short drive
over the Johnson Street bridge leads to Esquimalt which features The
CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, several historic military
sites and a number of scenic walking paths. Originally established as
a British Naval Base in 1865, modern Esquimalt has the second largest
Canadian Forces Base in the country after Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Bay, just south of downtown is bordered by water on three sides with Beacon
Hill Park on the fourth. A short walk from Government Street,
the park consists of acres of gardens, paths to wander and picnic
areas, lakes with swans, ducks and a petting farm for children.
Visit the Beacon
Hill Children's Farm for details.
take a scenic drive along Dallas Road to Beach Drive, and through the
Upland Estates, stopping at Cattle Point, then on to Ten Mile Point.
Bay, east of downtown, has a distinctly British personality with Tudor-style
homes, impeccable landscaping, parks and a shopping sector known for its
fine shops and tearooms. Willows Beach and the Oak Bay Marina are popular
District of Saanich, north of downtown encompasses several residential
areas and recreational parks. One of the most popular is Mount Douglas
Park which offers a birds eye view of the city from its drive-to summit. Swan Lake/Christmas Hill
Nature Sanctuary has two distinct ecological areas, walking trails
and a floating boardwalk allowing close-up looks at the lake's ecosystem.
To enjoy excellent public recreation facilities, visit the Saanich
Commonwealth Place which offers a variety of programs and services
for all ages. The Olympic-sized pool has water slides, a wave pool, a
dive tank, steam rooms and sauna.
Bicycle Tourist Route (PDF) circumnavigates the Municipality of Saanich.
Where possible, it follows the Galloping
Goose Trail and the Lochside Trail; elsewhere it uses rural or residential
roads. The eastern section offers spectacular ocean views; the northern
section passes Elk and Prospect Lakes, both with excellent swimming and
picnic facilities; to the west are rural undeveloped forested areas and
farms; the southern section follows the Galloping Goose trail which overlooks
the Portage Inlet. The total circle route is approximately 45 km, but
cyclists preferring a shorter route may follow a smaller loop by taking
any of the many other bicycle routes within Saanich. Bicycle symbols on
a bright yellow background clearly mark the route direction as it passes
Mountain Bike Park is accessed via Hartland Road in the Saanich northwest
corner. Detailed information and maps for this superb mountain bike park
are available at most bike shops and also from the South
Island Mountain Biking Society.
University of Victoria is located in Saanich, also the location of
the Centre Auditorium where the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and Victoria
Symphony Orchestra frequently perform as well as the Phoenix Theatres,
where a full season of excellent theatre and musical productions are staged.
(See our Calendar
of Events for schedules)
of Victoria along the Island Highway you'll find the West Shore Communities
of View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Sooke. One of the best
ways to explore this area is by cycling or hiking on the Galloping
Goose Trail. Named after an old 1920's passenger train and built along
the former rail bed, this 70 kilometre ( 43 mile) linear park stretches
from the Selkirk Trestle in downtown Victoria all the way to Leechtown,
an abandoned mining town north of the Village of Sooke. The trail is accessible
at numerous points along the route with two sections being the most popular.
Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse are National Historic sites on 44
acres of wildflower meadows, wooded glens, and stretches of beach. Fort
Rodd Hill frequently hosts weekend afternoon concerts by local and visiting
military bands. Visit the gardens at Hatley Park, now the location of Royal Roads University.
See the spawning
salmon during the fall months at Goldstream Provincial Park, a truly spectacular sight which can be
viewed from bridges and pathways along the river. Eagles make an annual
stop in the park to feed on the salmon and can also be seen at this location.
The biggest run of salmon is generally between late October and the end
of November. A great place for the whole family any season, the Nature
Hut at Goldstream features exhibits on salmon, eagles, and other area
inhabitants and often offers guided hikes and nature walks. Visit Mill
Hill Park for a spectacular view of Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours and
Thetis Lake Regional Park, a family favourite with beaches, hiking trails
and a playground area.
is a predominantly rural area, crisscrossed by winding country roads and
lovely parks such as Albert Head Lagoon Park and Devonian Regional Park.
Both parks are nature sanctuaries with beaches and gentle trails. See CRD for additional
info on regional parks.