Victoria I: Inner Harbour

On this our second visit to the island we wanted to stay in the city (previously we stayed out at Sooke which is south-west of the city) so we booked the Great Western Inner Harbour as it is within walking distance of the inner harbour, downtown and the southern suburbs. We only realised shortly before leaving the UK that the Island marathon was being run on the Sunday (the day of our departure) and our hotel was slap bang in the centre of the start and finish places so all the roads surrounding us would be blocked! It was also Thanksgiving in Canada that weekend too which probably explained why we had such difficulty booking any B&Bs during this period. (I apologise to all Canadians as up until this time I didn’t even know you guys celebrated Thanksgiving!)

A hasty re-booking of another Great Western for Saturday night in Sidney in the north of the peninsula and only 5 minutes drive from the ferry port at Swartz Bay over to the mainland at Tsawwassen meant an easy stress free Sunday. Missing our flight back to the UK was not an option!

We love Victoria. We walked our socks off last time exploring every nook and cranny of the city. For those of you who have yet to visit the state capital of British Columbia here are a few of the highlights of this flower-filled city:

  • loads of shops, galleries, bookstores and even a glassworks
  • cute little harbour ferries that traverse the inner, middle and upper harbour all day
  • whale watching adventures year round (Minke, Humpbacks and Orcas)
  • float plane trips
  • the most wonderful museum – the Royal BC Museum – which gives you a new perspective on the history of this nation
  • totem poles at Thunderbird Park
  • Beacon Hill Park with its view of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State on the horizon
  • quintessential afternoon cream teas served (at great expense) at the stately Fairmont Empress Hotel (1908) overlooking the inner harbour;
  • fabulous flowering hanging baskets from every lamp-post symbolizing Victoria’s passion for gardening
  • an Old Town with a restored 19th century courtyard and a splendid lion-bedecked Gate of Harmonious Interest in Chinatown.

After checking into the hotel we wandered along the sea-wall walk around to Fisherman’s Wharf stopping to photograph a very athletic pair of seals on the way, and to read a new marker at Laurel Point which is one of the seven signs of Lekwungen that honours the artistic, historical and cultural contributions of the Coast Salish people who have lived in the Victoria area for hundreds of years.

At the wharf we nosed amongst the lovely houseboats moored there, dreaming of buying one for ourselves and settling amongst the characters that make this lovely place their home. We ended up eating extremely good fish and chips overlooking the harbour and having to fend off pesky seagulls and ravens.

In the evening we walked up to the inner harbour garden to take a night photograph of the Legislative Buildings with its 3,333 light bulbs (and no I didn’t count them!).

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

14 thoughts on “Victoria I: Inner Harbour”

  1. Victoria BC is a beautiful city. I’ve always thought it was about as European as one can get without actually being in “Jolly Old England.” Were you able to visit the Buchart Gardens?


    1. Hi Ron, it is very beautiful though I can’t say it struck me as being particularly English or even European – I suppose because everything is much younger! Funny how our perceptions about a place differ so much depending on where we are from. We didn’t get to Butchart this trip, but had been before – I will post a blog about that later.
      J xx

  2. A fantastic continuation of what must have been a fabulous holiday. You are really bringing it all to life for me Jude. Well done! Regards from Norfolk, as always, Pete. x

    1. I am glad you are liking it Pete. I love Vancouver Island and hope that shines through, encouraging others to visit a very lovely part of the world. Or at least view it through my eyes.

  3. Beautiful BC and photo blog! Would love to visit Victoria one of these days. My uncle and auntie lived there for many years when I was much younger, too bad I didn’t think to go and visit them then, but too late now!

    1. Thanks for having a wander around the posts. Victoria is a very walkable city so take some good walking shoes.

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