Victoria or Vancouver???

Old Aug 19th, 2002, 01:55 AM
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Victoria or Vancouver???

We will fly into Seattle Friday,30th(Labor Day weekend!)and are curious about which Canadian destination will allow us the most time and what is a must see??? We depart Seattle at noon on Tuesday. Would love to see Vancouver but had heard that the border crossing can be a nightmare especially over Holiday weekend since Sept 11th. Is the ferry to Victoria a better choice?
Favorites: Charming hotels, quaint restaurants, walking neighborhoods & shops and just enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Thanks tons!!!
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 05:26 AM
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I can't comment on the length of time at border crossings (haven't done this recently) but I can tell you that the ferry between Port Angeles (near Seattle) and Sidney (near Victoria) is a delightful experience. It goes through the San Juans, and when we went a couple of years ago we saw a pod of orcas cavorting right in front of us. There's lots of scenery on Vancouver Island, including the areas around Victoria, and you might even be able to have a look at one or two of the Gulf Islands as well (although that might be pushing it time-wise). I would think an extended weekend in the Victoria area would give you time to see places like Chemainus, a small town not far from Victoria which has a lot of charm, as well as Victoria itself and neighbouring areas like Sooke and Port Renfrew.
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 06:55 AM
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Cindy: I suspect you are mixing up your ferry trips. The Ferry from Port Angeles does not go through the Gulf Islands -- in fact, it is through open water.The ferry from Vancouver (Tsawwassen ) to the Island is the scenic one and goes through the Gulf Islands.

To Jodi:
Travelling on the Labour Day weekend can be frustrating on both the ferries and the border. The Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles does not take reservations or run as frequently as the BC Ferries and you often have to line up for hours. The border crossings are unpredictable but you could take a slightly longer route through Lynden WA and enter Vancouver from the East --it would probably have less traffic than the main crossing.
You might also wat to think about leaving the car in Seattle and taking the Victoria Clipper passenger ferry to Victoria.

And finally, if you chose to go to either Vancouver or Victoria ( quite different, but both lovely )make sure you reserve accommodations NOW!

Old Aug 19th, 2002, 07:49 AM
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No, what I said was that it goes through the San Juans. I also suggested that Jodi might want to see one or two of the Gulf Islands while she's in the Victoria area.
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 08:11 AM
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Jodi: There is a ferry from Anacortes (about an hours drive north of Seattle) that wanders through the San Juan Islands and puts in at Victoria (actually at Sydney, about a half hour's drive away). I took it about a month ago and it is a beutiful trip. Summer traffic is heavy, so be sure to make reservations and get to the ferry slip at least an hour early.
There is, also, a ferry from Vancouver (actually Tsawwassen) to Victoria, but you would have to drive almost to Vancouver to catch this one. We love Vancouver for it's cosmopolitan diversity (we were there last month as well), but, from what you like to do, Victoria sounds like your best bet. If you want charming, try Menzies' Manor, a beautiful little B&B. It is about a four or five block walk from the Harbor area and in a neighborhood of beautiful Victorians. If you go, be sure to wander this area. The rooms are beautifully decorated and the beakfasts were scrumptious. The honeymoon suite is especially nice with a fully equipped kitchen including the makings to make good coffee (frsh gound beans every evening), a formal dinning area, and a living room that is beautifully decorated. The bedroom and bath are spectacular. Breakfast is delivered to your room at an appointed hour or when you call down. You are about a half block from James Bay (I believe that is correct) with its wonderful seaside path and views of the sea.
Victoria is great fun to wander with its English ambience and harbor scene. There is a small, but interesting Chinatown. Of course, the spectacular Butchart Gardens are an easy trip from Victoria, there is high tea at the Empress Hotel, and very good museums to visit if you are inclined.
Drive out to Oak Bay along the Dallas Drive route; beautiful seaside drive, quaint villages along the way and a really neat English type neighborhood once you get there. The homes along the shore are attractive, sometimes fantastic. There is a fort you can tour (name escapes me, but you can't miss it).
The address for Menzies Manor is www.19menziesmanor (there are pictures). The address for the ferry is
We flew to Seattle for two nights, took the ferry to Victoria for two nights and went on to Vancouver for three nights and then Langley for a night, driving back to Seattle (near the airport) for our final night. So, our trip was similar to yours. If you have any questions, just ask. Have a wonderful time. We did.
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 04:02 AM
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i agree with Joe - Vancouver Island is a beautiful place with reasonable driving distances - just past Sooke is Frenchmans Beach - then theres the Malahat drive - Victoria itself is abs. charming - dont miss the harbor area with the houseboats - the drive up the east coast is also beautiful - Qualicum Beach if you have the time - is Chemainus the town with all the murals - worth a passing visit - Vancouver is nice - Gastown, etc. but still just another big city
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 01:21 PM
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Don't under estimate the horrible traffic in Seattle. We just returned from a Seattle-Vancouver-Victoria-Seattle trip. It took over four hours to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Returning to Seattle, it took 45 minutes to drive 3 miles on the interstate. Also, if you are trying to put a car on the ferry, anticipate arriving 60 to 90 minutes prior to the departure time. This adds significantly to travel time and reduces site-seeing time dramatically. We arrived 3.5 hours early for the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, only to find that it had already filled for cars. Luckily, we had reservations on the Ferry from Sidney to Anacortes but we ended up spending all day travelling, arriving in Seattle at 4pm too exhausted to really care.
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 01:23 PM
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Why not stay in Seattle? Although we didn't see much of it (see above post), there appeared to be a lot to do. The "WHERE" magazine in our hotel room had a 7 day touring itinerary and every day looked interesting and lots of fun. Also appeared to be lots and lots of great restaurants - especially for breakfast!
Old Aug 21st, 2002, 05:25 AM
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No contest-Victoria is your choice.
Just returned from Vancouver and Victoria last week. Ferry to Victoria is great ride and the harbor area is worth the trip. If you're putting a car on the ferry, get there very early. Very crowded this time of the year. Be sure to see British Museum.
Old Aug 21st, 2002, 06:52 AM
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British Museum??? I think you mean the Royal British Columbia Museum. By the by Jodi - although your specs do make Victoria the better choice this time I do hope you intend to return and visit Vancouver. I'm sure you'll find it a much more cosmopolitan and scenic city than Seattle and most times the border crossings take less than a half hour.
Old Aug 21st, 2002, 03:56 PM
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Anyone take the Victoria Clipper catamoran from Seattle to Victoria? That's how we're booked on out upcoming trip. We're spending a few days in Seattle and then a few in Victoria before a cruise out of Seattle. We love Victoria but never went via the Clipper before.
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 05:09 PM
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I couldn't help but chime in here! We have made Victoria and the Qualicum Beach area on Vancouver Island our holiday destination for two years running (we're from Sacramento, CA)! We like the ferry from Tsawwassen - it's less expensive (whichever $$ you use) it takes credit cards (the Anacortes ferry ONLY takes CASH) it's cleaner and nicer - you can make RESERVATIONS - it runs more often - and it's quicker - what more could you want?? The border crossing from Seattle is usually OK going North, but busier and more difficult going South. We always use the Peace Arch North and the Truck route South!! We had a wonderful time this summer - Victoria is a lovely city - and are now planning a fall trip to include Montreal!!

Have Fun!!
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 05:19 PM
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Also, keep in mind that Vancouver and Victoria are drastically different cities, even though they're relatively close.

Victoria prides itself on old world charm, and Vancouver prides itself on new world charm. Victoria feels more like a small harbourside town while Vancouver feels more like a large cosmopolitan modern city. I find the scenery of the city more beautiful in Vancouver, but with Victoria you have easier access to explore more of Vancouver Island which is where the real scenery is.
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 06:36 PM
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We just returned from our Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver trip and took the ferry from Seattle to Victoria (the clipper)- it was great fun, efficient and relaxing-- we also took a ferry to Vancouver and seaplaned it back to Victoria-again the CLipper to Seattle- we rented a car one day to go out past Sooke on Vancouver ISland!! Great trip and very relaxing via ferries!!!
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:26 PM
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To Julz: I just finished a nine-day jaunt around the Gulf Islands at the end of July and while I agree that BC Ferries are much nicer, the Anacortes-Sidney ferry was a big treat. They DO take reservations (that's how I ensured my spot aboard at the height of summer travel), they DO take credit cards (that's how I paid) and customs in Sidney was a breeze. And, the three-hour cruise through the San Juans was stunningly beautiful.
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:44 PM
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We just returned from a Seattle-Vancouver-Victoria-Seattle trip and it was all wonderful. Victoria was our favorite of the 3. It was beautiful and easy to get around, small and friendly with lots to see and do. I'd take the Victoria Clipper and leave the car in Seattle, you won't need it. There are buses that will take you anywhere you want to go in Victoria, but most things are within walking distance. Be sure to stay around the inner harbor, and do see the Royal BC Museum and the totem pole carvers in Thunderbird Park right next door. We ate downtown at Pagliacci's - terrific! If you bring a car, you can line up at the ferry lot in Victoria the night before and be assured of a spot back to Port Angeles. Our hotel, Royal Scot was just 1 block from the ferry landing so it made it easy to drop off. The Days Inn, Empress, and several other hotels are within close walking distance. The border crossing to get to Vancouver took a couple of hours on a Saturday morning (non holiday) and the traffic in Seattle was horrible just like others mentioned. We enjoyed Vancouver, but with only a weekend, think you'd be better off with Victoria.
Old Aug 26th, 2002, 09:09 AM
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Just returned from a week in Victoria. Took the Clipper to and from Seattle. The Clipper is fast unless it runs into a fog bank. Then it has to slow down somewhat. We loved Victoria. Besides all the wonderful things to do that were mentioned previously, the people in Victoria were the friendliest, most helpful people of any place we have ever visited. Their attitude to tourists made our vist so much more enjoyable.
Old Aug 26th, 2002, 05:57 PM
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You guys are GREAT!!! Thanks for all your help...we actually added a day to our trip and I am booking lodging tonight (in time I hope!) I am certain we will be back soon and can't wait to depart this Thursday for our visit.
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