Victoria is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from BC’s largest city of Vancouver on the mainland. The city is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Seattle by airplane or ferry, and 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Port Angeles, Washington by ferry across the Juan de Fuca Strait.Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and the Dominion of Canada, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1841. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, in particular its two most famous landmarks, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings (finished in 1897 and home of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia) and the Empress hotel (opened in 1908). The city’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s.
The region’s Coast Salish First Nations peoples established communities in the area long before non-native settlement, possibly several thousand years earlier, which had large populations at the time of European exploration. Victoria, like many Vancouver Island communities, continues to have a sizable First Nations presence, composed of peoples from all over Vancouver Island and beyond.
Nicknamed the “City of Gardens,” Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourism destination. The city is popular with students, who come to attend the University of Victoria, Camosun College, Royal Roads University, and other institutes. Victoria is also popular with retirees, who come to enjoy the temperate and usually snow-free climate of the area as well as the relaxed pace of the city.
Central Saanich offers a mix of rural and urban lifestyles. The area has a rich agricultural heritage, and farmland comprises nearly two thirds of the municipality. It boasts scenic drives, expansive Island View Beach, and world-renowned Butchart Gardens.
Colwood is a growing community, close to Victoria, and offers numerous economic opportunities. Originally one of 4 large farms established by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the area still boasts a number of small hobby farms that contribute to a local produce market from June through September.
Esquimalt, located next door to downtown Victoria, is a vibrant, growing community with a range of residents, from young families to retirees. It has a strong culture of public art that is evident throughout the community.
The Highlands is a rural district rich with lakes, oceanfront and public parkland. More than one-third of the area is protected as municipal, regional and provincial parkland. The Highlands contains some of the last remaining truly natural areas in Greater Victoria.
One of Victoria’s fastest growing bedroom communities, Langford has become popular for its more affordable housing prices. Its urban centre is developing just as quickly. Langford offers a diversity of beautiful parks and lakes and limitless recreational activities.
Metchosin is made up of several neighbourhoods. It is a rural area on the coast, and agriculture sits at the forefront of its industry. The municipality has imposed a 1 and 2 acre lot size bylaw to preserve the area’s rural lifestyle.
It is surrounded on 3 sides by 40 kilometers of marine shoreline. Several community-like neighbourhoods make up the area and outline North Saanich’s rich agricultural interior which is protected by the Provincial Agricultural Land Reserve.
Oak Bay takes its name from the protected Garry Oak tree, found throughout the region. It is home to very popular, sandy beaches including Gonzales Bay and Willows Beach. Its urban centre, Oak Bay Village, is a great place to browse one-of-a-kind boutiques and coffee shops.
Saanich is the largest, most populous municipality in Greater Victoria. It is composed of 25 distinct residential areas. Saanich has a rich history that is reflected in its many heritage buildings, arts and archives. Recreational and economic opportunities are abundant in this municipality.
Sidney was incorporated as a village in 1952 and since then it has continued to see steady growth. It is a gateway to some of the best boating waters and outdoor leisure activities in the world. Residents range in age and there are recreational amenities to suit all.
The District of Sooke provides a relaxed, casual lifestyle in a rural setting. With an abundance of parks and beaches, Sooke provides endless recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
Victoria, the “City of Gardens”, is a community of choice for its temperate climate, natural beauty, recreational sites and superior economic opportunities. For almost every citizen, local or newcomer, the decision to live here is a conscious one.
The Town of View Royal is located close to Victoria and all its amenities. An ideal destination for cyclists and is full of parks, golf courses, walkways and shopping, View Royal also has plenty of beachfront access with incredible ocean views. It boasts over 600 acres of shoreline and lakes.