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Home to the B.C. and Washington State ferry terminals as well as the Victoria International Airport, the Saanich Peninsula, with its rolling green hills and small family farms, is the first part of Vancouver Island that most visitors see. Although it's tempting to head straight for downtown Victoria, 25 minutes to the south, there are many reasons to linger here, including Butchart Gardens,
one of the province's leading attractions. Sidney's parklike waterfront, which houses a modern aquarium and marine ecology center as well as cafés, restaurants, and a wheelchair-accessible waterfront path, is a launching point for kayakers, whale-watchers, and eco-tour boats heading out to explore the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offshore.
The Cowichan people were onto something when they called this fertile valley north of Victoria "the Warm Land." The region, roughly from Mill...