Victoria, British Columbia


Victoria exudes old-world charm and fragrant and colorful flowers are everywhere. Founded in 1843 by James Douglas of the Hudson's Bay Company, the city was first known as Fort Victoria. By 1848, Vancouver Island was a British colony and Victoria was its capital.

In 1858, Victoria was a tent city and the base for some 25,000 prospectors on their way to the Frasier River gold fields. When Vancouver Island was incorporated with mainland British Columbia in 1868, Victoria became the capital of the entire province.

Although it's a port city, Victoria is not as industrially oriented as Vancouver. The harbors, especially Inner Harbour, are dotted with pleasure craft, ferries and floatplanes. The city is renowned for its beautiful gardens, charming houses and very British feel.

Top things to do and see in Victoria, British Columbia: View Excursions

  • 1Butchart Gardens

    Victoria's most popular attraction, this 55-acre floral wonderland features themed botanical gardens, meandering pathways, refreshing fountains, exquisite foliage, and magnificent bronze statues.

  • 2Legislative Buildings

    Home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, these magnificent buildings, constructed in 1893, honor Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In the evening, they are illuminated by 3,000 light bulbs.

  • 3Fairmont Empress Hotel

    Situated over the Inner Harbour, this National Historic Site of Canada is one of Victoria's oldest and most famous hotels and has become an iconic symbol for the city itself.

  • 4Beacon Hill Park

    This lush, 62-acre oasis is the crowning jewel in Victoria's park system. A haven for wildlife, birds, and outdoor enthusiasts, the grounds are a combination of landscaped and natural beauty.

  • 5Victoria Butterfly Gardens

    This 12,000-square-foot enclosure is a tropical paradise filled with a multitude of free-flying butterflies. Discover life in this lush habitat, home to rare birds, koi ponds, and breathtaking jungle foliage.

  • 6Craigdarroch Castle

    A Canadian National Historic Site, this Victorian-era castle was built between 1887-1890. Explore this restored estate, marvel at the antiques and furnishings, and stroll the opulent grounds.

  • 7Victoria Pubs

    Pubs are a popular place to relax and hoist a few, and downtown Victoria boasts a number of them. Take your pick, from the traditional English-style to those with a uniquely Canadian atmosphere.

  • 8Whale Watching

    See killer whales in their natural habitat! During this thrilling harbor cruise, you'll be on the look out for these majestic creatures, as well as be able to spot seals, sea lions and porpoises.