Factbox: Victoria

Getting There: Most international airlines fly into Vancouver on the mainland and offer connections to Victoria. Allow a few days to visit Vancouver, and then enjoy the 90 minute ferry crossing from Vancouver to the Island. The ferry crossing provides a wonderful transition from the bustle of Vancouver to the slower pace of Victoria. While the ferries carry several hundred vehicles per crossing, queues in the busy summer months are not uncommon.

The Victoria-Seattle ferry
The Victoria-Seattle ferry
Best Time to Visit: The virtual absence of winter means Vancouver Island is a year round destination, although you can count on rain from mid October to late March. Winter temperatures seldom drop below zero C. Summer, from May to September is dry with pleasant temperatures and cool evenings. While golfing, cycling even scuba diving are popular year round, the summer offers a long list of outdoor concerts, cultural and sporting events. From April to Late September the city’s inner harbour is a wonderful place to stroll with licensed buskers, craft vendors and local artists. Victoria Tourism can provide a full list of events and activities.

Getting Around: Public transit in the Victoria area is cheap and safe. Many companies offer day trips to popular venues outside the city such as The Butchart Gardens. Many visitors opt to rent bicycles or mopeds to explore the city.

Costs: In general Canadian destinations are less expensive than their European counterparts. Be prepared though for what seems like endless add on taxes than can add considerable to your accommodation and food bills.

The Luminara Festival
The Luminara Festival
Crime: Victoria is relatively safe compared to larger Canadian cities such as Vancouver or Toronto, which in turn tend to be safer than their American counterparts. Take the usual precautions to protect valuables.

Useful Links

An company that can provide all sorts of adventure outings from cycling to sea kayaking Outpost BC http://www.outpostbc.ca/index.php

Operated by the local tourism authority, Victoria Tourism is a great portal providing information on activities, accommodation and upcoming events http://www.tourismvictoria.com

Cycle Vancouver Island is the one stop site for information on bike hires, trail maps and more. http://www.cyclevancouverisland.ca

BC Ferries runs a full fleet of ocean going ferries connecting the Gulf Islands to each other and the mainland. The site provides detailed schedules, crossing times and fares. http://www.bcferries.com/

Events of note

Folkfest a week long celebration of folk and global roots music in early July http://www.icafolkfest.com/index.html

Luminara Lantern Celebration a bright and colourful community gathering happens once a year in late July http://www.luminaravictoria.com/

Jazzfest International (23rd June to 6th July) Top entertainment at several venues around the city. http://www.vicjazz.bc.ca/

Clipper 05-06 is a nation-versus-nation around-the-world sailing race, taking a fleet of ten identical 68-foot sailboats ten months to complete. The Clipper fleet will be in Victoria mid May, 2006 for a ten-day stopover and crew changeover. http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk/plc/index.php

The Butchart Gardens. Open year round but during summer months live concerts and fireworks display are on offer. http://www.butchartgardens.com/main.php

The dragon boats return to Victoria’s Inner Harbour on August 18th to 20th for the 2006 Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. Teams from across North America will race across a 500 metre salt-water course, paddling from Laurel Point to the Royal London Wax Museum. http://www.victoriadragonboat.com/

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