Hotels in Victoria, Canada
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Victoria, Canada: British Columbia's Capital City
On the south coast of Vancouver Island sits the city of Victoria, the largest metropolitan area on the island and the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia. The downtown area is home to the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, which are impressive structures created in neo-baroque, Renaissance Revival, and Romanesque Revival styles, and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
The city is also known for its numerous outdoor activities and its abundance of historical structures, making it a must-see for anyone who visits British Columbia and decides to take one of the hour-and-a-half long ferry rides from the mainland.
The Inner Harbour
Nearly every Victoria holiday includes stopping by the Inner Harbour at least once. The Victoria Harbour is directly in the downtown core and just steps from numerous hotels and dining options and is known as the city's main cultural and entertainment hub. This area is home to the annual International Busker Festival and Victoria Symphony Splash, each of which attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Inner Harbour is also where many ferries arrive and tours depart from. Those who are looking to do a whale watching tour in the Pacific Ocean or wish to see the area from a float plane need look no further than the Harbour. Booking the tour ahead of time is recommended because Victoria is a popular tourist destination and there is no guarantee that a spot will be left for those who wait.
Historic Buildings and Castles
Victoria is one of the oldest cities in Western Canada, as British settlement dates back to 1843. As a result, the city is home to a great deal of history that remains to this day, starting with The Empress. This hotel was originally opened in 1908 and is now a National Historic Site of Canada. The property has hosted significant guests like Edward, Prince of Wales, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth over the years and remains a focal point in the downtown Victoria area.
Craigdarroch Castle is another historic building in the downtown core. This building is a Scottish Baronial mansion that was originally constructed in 1890 and meant to be the home of wealthy businessman Robert Dunsmuir, but he passed away before its completion.
Other historic buildings in Victoria include Emily Carr House, which was the childhood home of famous Canadian painter Emily Carr, Malahat Building, an old house on the Harbour, and Point Ellice House.
Parks and the Outdoors
Spending time in the outdoors is an essential part of all Victoria getaways because the city is full of great things to do in nature. The most central major green space in the area in Beacon Hill Park, which runs right along the Juan de Fuca Strait and is within walking distance of numerous downtown attractions. Originally opened in 1882, the park is now home to a petting zoo, a waterpark, playgrounds, ball fields, and walking trails. The park also marks Mile 0 of the Trans-Canada Highway, which then extends 7,821 kilometres to Canada's east coast.
Spending time in the outdoors isn't confined to Beacon Hill Park, however, as other sites in the Victoria area include Saxe Point Park, The Butchart Gardens, and Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Hiking, boating, and cycling are all popular ways to spend an afternoon in Victoria and guests won't soon get bored doing these activities right by the ocean.
A Food Lover's Paradise
Of course, no holiday in Victoria is complete without sampling some local cuisine and, in particular, the seafood. For larger meals, locations like the Steamship Grill & Taphouse, Harbour House Restaurant, and Vic's Steakhouse & Bar are favourites with locals and visitors alike. It's also tough to beat the views that are present at AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio and LURE Restaurant & Bar, both of which are within walking distance of numerous hotels in the city's centre. For something uniquely local, Red Fish Blue Fish is the place to go. This isn't a traditional sit down restaurant, as food is ordered from a counter in the Inner Harbour. The line-up can be significant, especially during the summer, and guests will have to find their own place to sit, but it is well worth the wait to enjoy freshly cooked seafood right along the ocean.
Canada's Oldest Chinatown
Victoria is home to Canada's oldest Chinatown neighbourhood and the area has been registered as a National Historic Site of Canada. In fact, this is the second oldest Chinatown in North America behind only San Francisco. The area was originally established in 1858 when an influx of miners arrived in the newly founded city from California. Guests will know that they have reached Chinatown because they will go through the iconic Gates of Harmonious Interest, which are themselves a landmark in the city.
Today, Chinatown has a thriving art scene and is full of historic buildings that are still in use. Many Chinese businesses can be found in the area, as well. It's possible to find a hotel in the Chinatown area and many visitors to Victoria take full advantage of the great restaurants and history in this part of the city by staying nearby.