Now that your interest was caught in Part 1 of the Victoria, B.C. blog, here’s more information on where to stay and what to do on this adventure to our northern border country of Canada. Victoria truly is a step into a new culture full of history, architectural beauty, diverse cultures, and enjoyable activities for the entire family.
If the whale watching activity described in Part 1 is not appealing, there are many land-based attractions in Victoria. The city is quite walkable, with a population less than 100,000. One of the peaceful activities is to take a stroll around the Inner Harbor. It’s here that visitors are greeted with the beautiful architecture of the Empress Hotel and the Parliament buildings. Most days this area is bustling with activity, including horse-drawn carriages, festivals, and walking tours. A hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus ticket can be purchased, giving visitors easy access to many attractions.
Many tourists travel to Victoria to take in the beauty of the world-famous Butchart Gardens. This garden is not within walking distance of the harbor, but is only about 10 miles north, so taking a taxi or Uber ride is not difficult. Jennie Butchart started this garden in 1904, laying out Canada’s most revered garden. It holds a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and an Italian garden, along with fountains and pools. The mild climate of Victoria enables the various plants a thriving environment year-round. For more information on visiting the gardens, go to http://www.butchartgardens.com/.
As mentioned previously, the Empress Hotel is a picturesque sight upon docking in the harbor. It was built in 1908 in Chateauesque style architecture. Affording a stay in one of the 464 guest rooms may be out of reach financially for most, but tourists can enjoy “taking” afternoon tea in the British tradition in the Lobby Lounge. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan to enjoy tea in the mighty Empress. On the north side of the hotel, there is a Miniature World collection of models of dollhouses, castles, and various historical scenes to be enjoyed by all ages.
Also located in the Inner Harbor is the Pacific Undersea Gardens. Tourists enter a 150-foot sea vessel and descend 15 feet below the ocean surface. There are viewing windows with clear views of the surrounding aquariums that boast a large variety of marine life in a natural environment. Visitors will see many species of native fish, such as Rock Cod, Pacific Salmon, Wolf eel, and Red Snapper. Kids will see nightmare inducing octopus, the largest species in the world! Additionally, there is a tidal pond where kids can gently touch starfish, see coral growing, and enjoy a close-up experience with sea anemones.
Because Victoria has such a mild climate, tourists can visit through all seasons. Hotels are plentiful and easy to find. It’s most desirable to stay near the Inner Harbor where most of the tourist attractions are located and the smell of the ocean is fresh. Most accommodations run approximately $250.00/night. A few of the top-rated hotels are Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites, Victoria Marriott Inner Harbor, Royal Scot Hotel & Suites, Hotel Grand Pacific, and Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA. Hotels in the shopping and dining area, located just behind the Empress and Parliament buildings are more affordable and provide excellent amenities.
Discovering this jewel just to the north of Washington State is a must for Tri-Citians if they have a few days to travel to the west side and take a ferry to Victoria B.C. Take the family for a unique experience in Canada before the fall activities take hold of schedules. There’s truly something of interest for every age in Victoria, B.C.