I travelled the huge country of Canada from east to west, but in my opinion Victoria stands out as the best city I visited. It has everything in a city that I love. There’s the harbour that dominates the most beautiful part of the city. It has spectacular views that lead out to the sea, which is where I set off one day to go whale watching. The weather may not have held out too well, but I managed to see a pod of Orca that came close to our boat. Thankfully they weren’t on a hunt, otherwise it may not have been such a friendly sighting! I also tried fresh seaweed, pulled straight out of the sea by one of the friendly and insightful guides.
Next to the harbour stands the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel, which looked like it had been plucked straight from the English countryside. I was sad to hear that the building is actually sinking about a quarter of an inch a year as it was built on a bog. If you look at it hard enough you can see it doesn’t stand level with the horizon.
The area around the harbour continues in its splendor with the grand parliament buildings that are lit up at night with over 3,300 bulbs, which creates an almost magical look on the building. Although the electricity bill must cost them a fortune!
Victoria is filled with museums, cafes, restaurants and an awesome book store called Munro’s books. If you like books this is the place to go. I spent my time here exploring as much as possible and I even kayaked which gave a different perspective on the sights and sounds of the city. The people of Victoria are friendly too, like the old Scottish man who steered our boat across the water on a short boat trip, who had lived in Canada for over 50 years but still had a thick Scottish accent. I also saw Darth Vader playing the violin…
The city is also a great base. Being on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, you’re just a boat ride away from the mainland, with Vancouver to the east and Seattle to the south. If I could pick one place to return to in Canada it would most definitely be Victoria.