Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria is about as old as cities go in the Pacific Northwest and about as colorful as they get anywhere. This lush locale on the southern tip of Vancouver Island is known as the City of Gardens. With its surprisingly temperate climate, color spills out as flowers bloom year-round.
This capital city of British Columbia is a resort destination. One is never far from a water or mountain view. Winters are snow-free, and golf is a four-season pursuit.
The mix here is eclectic. While its British heritage is evident--after all, the city was named for Queen Victoria--it also has a strong indigenous culture. Dozens of totem poles, cultural emblems of the indigenous people, are found throughout the region including one of the world’s tallest at nearly 128 feet in Beacon Hill Park. Victoria also has Canada’s oldest Chinatown.
Victoria is the largest island off the West Coast and actually closer to the United States than mainland Canada. Government, tourism and technology drive the economy. Its famed Inner Harbour is filled with kayaks and yachts and ringed by imposing government buildings and the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel.
The city is made up of 13 municipalities. Oak Bay is a prestigious one of Art Deco, Arts and Crafts and Tudor-style homes, golf courses and a yacht club. Architect Francis Rattenbury, who designed Victoria’s British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, made his home here once. Within Oak Bay is the garden community of Uplands, designed by landscape architect John Olmstead, son of Frederick Law Olmsted. The neighborhood of sprawling estates and winding streets is a favorite with the affluent set. Rockland, in the historic area of Fairfield, is another prestigious neighborhood, situated on a hill overlooking the southern coast. Rockland is known for its heritage architecture, most notably the Craigdarroch Castle, a national landmark estate built in the late 19th century by a wealthy coal baron.
Culture, climate and beautiful country distinguish Victoria’s quality of life. And, of course, its gorgeous gardens of color.