If you’re a nature enthusiast, Victoria is your ideal destination. A seaside paradise, Victoria has been nicknamed “The Garden City”. There are many opportunities to take in its abundance of urban greenery and to explore everything else it has to offer!
Hit the road! If you’re into road trips, this is a must-see. By bike, by foot or behind the wheel, follow this coastal road to enjoy scenic panoramas at every turn. Start at the Ogden Point Breakwater and walk towards the harbour to watch the ships coming into the Port of Victoria. Get a glimpse of sea life like seals, sea lions and even whales! Continue east on Dallas Rd. and you’ll come to the Mile Zero monument. This is the spot where the famous Canadian runner Terry Fox began his infamous cross-country journey in 1980 to fundraise for cancer research. Drive right out towards the ocean at Clover Point to take in magnificent panoramas of the Juan de Fuca Strait. For a relaxing break, check out Gonzales Beach a little farther along the coast.
This museum features both the natural and human history of BC, including a section on First Nations’ history. This collection varies from beadwork and basketry to painting and wood work and is one of the largest in BC. To get an insider’s perspective of the museum’s many artefacts, check out their free monthly lunchtime talks held by staff curators and researchers. For something a little different, take in a movie – right at the museum – on BC’s biggest IMAX screen. For the best value, get a combo ticket which will get you into the museum as well as the IMAX theatre.
Experience the underwater world at this aquarium dedicated to the local marine life of the Salish Sea. Although behind-the-scenes tours cost a little extra, your regular admission is valid for an entire day. If you visit on the weekend, you can also partake in various experiential learning activities. For example, on the first Sunday of every month you can create your own T-shirt print. They offer a wide variety of hands-on workshops and classes tailored to all ages, from toddlers to high schoolers. The Shaw Center has over 3,500 animals, including over 150 species, and a marine mammal exhibit. A great family attraction, there is plenty here to keep the kids entertained for hours!
Is art more your thing? Then be sure to check out this museum named after the post-impressionist and modernist painter and writer. A Canadian icon, Emily Carr was also an environmentalist and an advocate for indigenous peoples. The museum consists of the restored Carr family home, now a National and Provincial Historic Site. Sit in her parlour as the artist would have done over a century ago to immerse yourself in her childhood. Gain a better appreciation for the cultural context of the colonial period and you’ll see why she was considered ahead of her times. Take a self-guided tour of the downstairs of the house and meander through the garden. With family admission at $20, this is a very budget-friendly way to spend an afternoon in Victoria. Also, children 5 and under are free.
The provincial Legislative Assembly is open to the public seven days a week in the summer season, beginning in mid-May. Take a free guided tour any day of the week or explore at your own pace (weekends only). Either way, you’ll learn about the province’s parliamentary process and history as well as the architecture of the parliament building.