Canada travel tips: Victoria
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Canada travel tips: Victoria
Kirill Malyutin, 26 April 2013

“Glorious Victoria” – here we are, this chapter is dedicated to one of the most beautiful places and cities in the province of British Columbia, to Victoria. Victoria is a capital of the province and the city is located on the island, to be more precise on Vancouver Island.

  • Where: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • What: “Travel Smart” series

As it was mentioned in my previous chapter of the journey, to get to Victoria from Vancouver you need to get to Canada Line and go to Bridgeport station. There you get off and take a bus 620 (using the same ticket within a couple of hours). That bus will take you to Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, where you need to purchase a ticket to get to the ferry. The company which operates there is called BC Ferries.

Here is the link. One-way ticket per person costs 14 CAD (as per January 2013). If you take a car with you it will cost you more, I guess you need to get the information before you get on board.

The ferry brings you to the Sidney/Anacortes Ferry Terminal in the town of Sidney, British Columbia. That is a small but very beautiful town. If you have a chance to stick around in there, take your time.

Sidney, British Columbia

As for the way to Victoria, If you travel without a car you are certainly going to need to take a bus. You have two options either bus 72 or 70 (express). The price is the same but there is always a queue to get to bus 70. The price per one-way ticket is 2.50 CAD (as per January 2013).

The way back from Victoria to Sidney is basically the same. The bus will get you directly to downtown Victoria and pick you up from another bus stop which is just a few steps away down the same road. But do not worry, there is an information center, which is called Visitor Centre, where you can take booklets, maps and ask anything you might need in the city.

Visitor Centre in Victoria

I guess it makes sense to start with mentioning one of the most interesting and, of course, important things for Canada, i.e. the Trans-Canada Highway, which begins exactly in Victoria and goes all across Canada and back.

To see it, you need to get to Dallas Rd. Here is the link to give you an idea and to help you plan your trip.

This is the place (on above photo) where this highway starts, and I believe it is the place worth visiting. It takes your breath away. The ocean view, the feeling of the mighty water with the strong breeze from and the landscape which reminds you of the mountains; all that makes you understand the uniqueness of our world. I strongly recommend you this place as one of your stops during the journey.

The next step you would be willing to take is a trip to the Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum.

Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum

It is a very amazing building hidden among the ordinary district, but it has its attractive beauty and history. My own impression was very positive; you do not think about time or anything, it complements the same feeling when you are by the ocean where The Trans-Canada Highway begins. Here is the link if you want to learn more about it.

I should also mention that from district to district, in my opinion, all the houses are different, mostly unique. I was wondering if it was just a coincidence or made with purpose, so I asked a friend of mine and got the reply back that, well, it was the idea for the city of Victoria. And I think this is awesome.

Once visited those places you might start thinking about a place to stay, for example, a hotel or a hostel. As for the hotel, you can always find the online and choose the one you like most, or if you are able to pay a good price for the luxury hotel in the heart of Victoria, for example, The Fairmont Empress hotel.

The Fairmont Empress hotel

If you are considering a not expensive stay you might choose a hostel. I chose that way and my choice was Ocean Island Inn on 791 Pandora Ave. The name may sound a little weird but it is totally fine. The stay was ok, but I took a separate room and it was about 40 CAD per night with no food included. At least it gave me some kind of security since I was the only one in the room. It was a very small room (I guess it had been used as storage for some stuff before it became a room). The shower is fine, there are up to 5 washrooms on each floor, so you will never face a problem. The doors have locks, so you can enter your floor if you have the key only. Basically, I would recommend that place as a cheap option. You can always purchase food from a supermarket or have breakfast downstairs. This choice is up to you.

When you wake up in the morning, take a walk to the harbour, you will definitely enjoy it.

The view is terrific and it seems a little unreal all that beauty and glory of the city. Basically, if you have a car (or you can rent it) you can go to different directions and explore more on your own.

Do not forget, there are so many parks, museums and sightseeing places worth visiting. Definitely, you need to bring some souvenirs, then you should visit any, just ANY gift shop, you are going to be amazed.

The choice is great, the memories are wonderful. You can find them at the lower level of the Visitor Centre, or in that part of the city, which is between Pandora Ave. and The Fairmont Empress hotel.

But try to follow mainly the Government Street. I guess, there you can find absolutely anything. Oh, yeah, please, visit the original Christmas Village shop; it is on the same Government Street.

Government Street

You might find yourself in one of the shopping malls, for instance, in The Bay Centre, where you can also have lunch and get some stuff with you. Wherever you go in Victoria, it is going to be enjoyable.

During the weekdays you can take a trip to see the whales, it is called Whale Watching tours.

I did not have a chance to take it because it was a weekend, but as I was told it might cost you a little more than 100 CAD depending on a company (as per January 2013). But remember there is no guarantee you are going to see any whales. It might be simply so that you won’t meet them but it is worth trying and definitely enjoyable just to be in the ocean observing the nature, and all the beauties the world gives us.

And last but not least, the Parliament.

Parliament in Victoria

It is located in downtown and this is the main bus stop, so you will easily find it. The place is very beautiful and unusual. There are excursions and you can see the Parliament with your own eyes. It has magnificent light in the night and glorious spirit, which actually reflect the whole province of British Columbia not just Victoria.

To my mind, Victoria remind a fortress, which protects Canada from the west and keeps its own unique glorious spirit and welcoming charm.

This is all for now about Victoria, but there is more coming up! And here is my advice: keep traveling, learning and exploring the world!

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