The capital of British Colombia, Victoria sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about 100 kilometres south of Vancouver. Founded by the British in 1843, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, and features the perfect blend of colonial British architecture and modern city planning.
In addition to its magnificent 19th century architectural achievements, including the impressive Legislative buildings and the Empress Hotel, this waterfront city features numerous manicured gardens and parks, making it one of the most picturesque cities in Canada. Victoria is also Canada’s most bike-friendly city: it has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city.
Along with a vibrant café, restaurant and nightlife scene, Victoria is also blessed with enough natural wonder to excite outdoor enthusiasts. Whale watching, kayaking and hiking – just to name a few activities – can be practiced within the city limits. Situated in the heart of BC, Victoria is also the perfect base from which to explore outlying parts of British Colombia.
Cruise ships dock at Ogden Point, approximately 1 kilometre south of the downtown area. It’s a pleasant walk into town.
There are a number of facilities available dockside at Ogden Point, including currency exchange, pay telephones and gift shops. The downtown area (just 1 kilometre away) is also replete with all the services and facilities needed when docking in a new city.
Facilities nearby include:
Internet access (including Wi-Fi)
Restaurants, cafés and bars
Car hire offices
Tourist information office.
Taxis and pedicabs are readily available outside the cruise port, as are numerous car hire offices. A shuttle bus is also available from the terminal to downtown Victoria.
An assortment of accommodation options to suit all budgets lie within the city limits.
How To Get Around
Victoria is best explored on foot. Although extremely pedestrian-friendly, taxis and rental cars can be used to explore attractions inside the city limits. Of course, these will need to be used when visiting outlying parts of the city.
Travel times from the cruise port:
It is a 20 minute journey to the Royal BC Museum
It is a 15 minute journey to the Parliament Buildings
It is a 20 minute journey to Beacon Hill Park
It is an 18 minute journey to the Inner Harbour walkway.
Currency – The local currency in Victoria is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Coins come in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, C$1 and C$2 denominations. Notes come in C$5, C$10, C$20, C$50 and C$100 denominations.
Time Zone – Victoria is on Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), which is 7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Victoria enjoys a temperate climate with cool and sunny summers and mild, rainy winters. Daytime averages during the summer months of June through August hover around 20 degrees Celsius. During winter (December to February) the mercury averages around 8 degrees Celsius during the day. Annual precipitation in Victoria is just 608mm – it’s the driest region in British Colombia – with most of it falling between November and February.
Royal BC Museum – Spend a couple of hours at this world-class museum and immerse yourself in BC local history and culture. The museum contains exhibits showcasing the region’s natural and human history, including an impressive gallery of First Peoples masks. An IMAX theater screening popular documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters can also be found within the complex. The Royal BC Museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily, with extended opening hours during the summer period.
Parliament Buildings – Join one of the free 30-45 minute guided tours of the Parliament Buildings and get up close and personal with some of the city’s finest examples of 19th century architecture. Home to the Legislative Assembly of British Colombia, these Neo-Baroque buildings contain a number of historically important monuments, such as a statue of Queen Victoria and Captain George Vancouver. Free guided tours are available from 9am to 5pm daily, with reduced running hours from September to May.
Beacon Hill Park – Escape the urban sprawl for a while and visit the picturesque Beacon Hill Park. The 200 acre park includes beautifully landscaped grounds featuring native and exotic trees, a totem pole and a Victorian cricket pitch, as well as lakes, ponds, bridges and a rock garden. It’s also home to species of ducks, birds and other wildlife. Watch out for peacocks that roam the grounds.
Inner Harbour – Take a stroll around Inner Harbour and be entertained by street performers and musicians plying their trade along the waterfront. Boat trips out to see whales at play can also be organised here. Try and time your visit here around sunset for breathtaking views of the harbour bathed in golden light.