Victoria

Victoria is small and easily explored. A walk around Downtown, starting with the museums and architectural sights of the Inner Harbour, followed by a stroll up Government Street to the historic areas of Chinatown and Old Town, covers most of the key attractions, though seeing every little interesting thing along the way could easily take two days. Passenger ferries dart across the Inner and Upper harbors to Point Ellice House and Fisherman's Wharf, while more attractions, including Craigdarroch Castle and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, lie about a mile east of Downtown in the residential areas of Rockland and Oak Bay. Most visitors also make time for the Butchart Gardens, a stunning exhibition garden 20 minutes by car north on the Saanich Peninsula. Free time is also well spent strolling or biking through Beacon Hill Park and along the Dallas Road waterfront, heading out to such less-visited sights as Hatley Castle and Fort Rodd Hill, or checking out any of the area's beaches, wilderness parks, or wineries.

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  • 1. Butchart Gardens Dining Room

    Brentwood Bay | Garden/Arboretum

    The dining room at the Butchart Gardens, in the Butchart family's former residence, serves traditional teas daily, year-round. Afternoon tea...Read More

  • 2. Emily Carr House

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    One of Canada's most celebrated artists and a respected writer, Emily Carr (1871–1945) lived in this extremely proper, wooden Victorian house...Read More

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  • 3. Fairmont Empress

    Downtown | Building/Architectural Site

    Opened in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Empress is one of the grand château-style railroad hotels that grace many Canadian cities...Read More

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  • 4. Fairmont Empress Hotel Tea Lobby

    Downtown | Restaurant–Sight

    Victoria's most elaborate and most expensive afternoon tea is served, as it has been since 1908, in the ornate lobby of the Fairmont Empress...Read More

  • 5. Fan Tan Alley

    Pedestrian Mall

    Mah-jongg, fan-tan, and dominoes were games of chance played on Fan Tan Alley, said to be the narrowest street in Canada. Once the gambling...Read More

  • 6. Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada

    West Shore | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    The world's best-preserved coastal artillery fort (it dates to 1895) and Canada's oldest West Coast lighthouse occupy a parklike backdrop 13...Read More

  • 7. Government House Gardens

    Rockland | Garden/Arboretum

    Take a stroll through the walled grounds and 35 acres of formal gardens at Government House, residence of British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor...Read More

  • 8. Hatley Park National Historic Site

    West Shore | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    Envisioned by James Dunsmuir, a former premier of British Columbia and son of the man who built Craigdarroch Castle, this ivy-draped 40-room...Read More

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  • 9. Market Square

    Downtown | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    During the late 19th century, this three-level square provided everything a sailor, miner, or lumberjack could want. Restored to its original...Read More

  • 10. Parliament Buildings

    Downtown | Government Building

    Officially the British Columbia Provincial Legislative Assembly Buildings, these massive stone structures are more popularly referred to as...Read More

  • 11. Point Ellice House

    Downtown | House/Mansion/Villa

    The O'Reilly family home, an 1861 Italianate cottage overlooking the Selkirk Waterway, has been restored to its original splendor, with the...Read More

  • 12. Point Ellice House

    Downtown | House/Mansion/Villa

    Wicker armchairs under an awning on the lawn of the Victorian Point Ellice House are a lovely setting for afternoon tea with home-baked goodies...Read More

  • 13. St. Ann's Academy National Historic Site

    Downtown | Educational Institution

    This former convent and school, founded in 1858, played a central role in British Columbia's pioneer life. The academy's little chapel—the first...Read More

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