Victoria, the elegant capital of
British Columbia, is also the province's most popular tourist
destination. May through October is high season, when the town
alive. Victoria is strikingly laid back and resort-like for a
capital city. The city of 350,000 people feels like a
hideaway, as you stroll the cobblestone streets, looking in shops,
and stopping for high tea. Victoria lies at the southern tip
of Vancouver Island, overlooking the fantastic Olympic Mountains of
Washington State, lining the horizon across the Strait of Juan De
Fuca. Nowhere in Canada is the British influence on the region
felt more than Victoria. English Pubs line the streets, lawn
bowling and bocce are played in the parks, and double decker buses
motor tourists through town.
Most of Victoria's resort condominiums
and hotels are clustered around beautiful Inner Harbor, where you can
breathe the fresh air while watching seaplanes take off and whale watching
boats depart all day long. At the end of Inner Harbor stands
the world-famous Empress Hotel, Victoria's best-known landmark.
Other nearby attractions include the Parliament buildings and the downtown
streets, filled with trendy shops and century-old buildings.
In 1792, Captain George Vancouver
sailed through the Strait of Georgia, noting and naming Vancouver Island.
Nearly 50 years later, the Hudson's Bay Company established
control over the island and the mainland territory of British Columbia.
In 1843, Fort Victoria was built, named after the Queen of England.
In 1846, the Oregon Treaty was signed, giving rights to Vancouver Island
to Canada, despite the fact that part of it (including Victoria) lies
south of the 49th Parallel (the border with the United States).
The gold strikes of the 1850s brought
thousands of prospectors into Victoria, the region's only port and source
of supplies, making Victoria something of a boomtown. In 1862,
Victoria was incorporated as a city, and became the capitol of
To learn more about Victoria, British
Columbia, and to experience it's charm, click on the links at left.
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