A rare combination of rural charm and elegant sophistication, the South Island region of Vancouver Island is home to Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. The city reflects its First Nations and British history in heritage buildings and totem poles alike. The picturesque Inner Harbour and downtown core explode with colour and charm. Victoria boasts the mildest climate in Canada and embraces its natural surroundings.
Victoria was originally established in 1843 by James Douglas as a fort for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Bastion Square marks the site where a portion of the fort once stood, although all that remains now are two iron rings set into the rocks at the foot of Fort Street, next to the old Customs House.
Victoria has always had a history as a stronghold of British traditions. Double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, meticulously kept gardens, and the tradition of formal afternoon tea have contributed to the city’s long-standing reputation. However, over the past decade or so, Victoria has earned a reputation as a mecca for adventurers drawn by the limitless outdoor activities available in the city and throughout Vancouver Island, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands.
Greater Victoria’s outlying suburbs are communities within themselves, with distinct atmospheres and interesting experiences. Beyond the city limits, pristine wilderness leads the visitor to other cities and towns, threading together the island from coast to coast.
The following communities are located in Victoria:
The following communities are located on the Saanich Peninsula:
- Central Saanich
- North Saanich
- Brentwood Bay
- Swartz Bay
- Victoria International Airport (YYJ)
The following communities are located in the Western Communities:
Location: Greater Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, bordered to the south and west by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Vancouver Island from the United States of America (Washington State). To the east of the South Island region lie the San Juan Islands of Washington (USA) and the BC Gulf Islands, which lie in the Strait of Georgia that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland of BC and Washington.
Greater Victoria is served by air links through Victoria International Airport (YYJ), and by BC Ferries from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (Vancouver) on the mainland. These ferries are huge, with a capacity of approximately 450 vehicles and over 2,000 passengers – getting here is half the fun!
Other ferries connect with Anacortes, Bellingham, Port Angeles, and Seattle in Washington State:
- Sidney (Victoria) / Anacortes, Washington
- Victoria / Bellingham, Washington
- Victoria / Port Angeles, Washington
- Victoria / Port Seattle, Washington
View maps of the area