Mini-travel-guide to Victoria from Seattle, Port Angeles and Vancouver

Day and overnite get-away trips to Victoria, B.C. Canada - or - Get aways from the fracas!

By Teresa Murphy
special libraries consultant & freelance travel writer

Victoria's Parliament buildings at night

Victoria was established as a fort by the Hudson's Bay Company and named Fort Victoria in 1843 after England's Queen. It is the capital city of British Columbia. It has an international reputation for being more English than England, from the cozy James Bay cottages, to replica castles, and for its magnificent gardens which bloom year round in the balmy climate, which averages almost 2200 hours of sunshine each year.

Although the population is just 300,000, comprising mainly government employees, students and retirees - hence the nickname "God's waiting room" - the city is surprisingly sophisticated, and has infinite offerings for tourists.

Getting to Victoria

U.S.A. to Canada
The Black Ball Ferry makes daily trips between Port Angeles (in Washington State) and Victoria.  Washington State Ferry 250-381-1551 makes daily trips between Anacortes, Washington and the town of Sidney, a 20 minute drive north of Victoria.
The Victoria RIA clipper (high speed catamaran) sails daily between Seattle and Victoria.

B.C. Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island
BC Ferries (car & passenger boats) sail from Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver) every two hours on the odd hour in the off-season and more frequently during peak summer tourist season.

· see also for more information


Anne Hathaway's Cottage
This full-sized replica of Anne Hathaway's thatched cottage can be found in an English village typical of Shakespeare's time. Don't miss the antique filled Olde England Inn which serves daily afternoon tea. 429 Lampson St. 388-4353.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
On the way to Craigdarroch Castle, the Gallery features an extensive collection of Asian and Canadian Art. 1040 Moss Street.

Bastion Square
Bastion Square, the original site of Fort Victoria, is now the site of the Maritime Museum.  Corner of Wharf and View Streets.

Beacon Hill Park
Offers serenity at the edge of the City in James Bay. Here you'll find one of the world's tallest totem poles, a rose garden, gardens that bloom year round, a wildlife sanctuary at Goodacre Lake, and much more. Dallas Road, James Bay.  [note - the picture of the beach in the top banner graphic of this page is at Beacon Hill Park]

Butchart Gardens
Internationally renowned 50 acre gardens, originally begun in 1904 by Jennie Butchart, overlooking Tod Inlet on the Saanich Peninsula. Afternoon tea served. 13 miles from downtown Victoria at 800 Benvento Ave., Brentwood Bay. 652-4422.

The Carr House
The birthplace of one of Canada's most famous artists - Emily Carr. The historic site dates back to 1860s.  207 Government Street. 383-5343.

Craigdarroch Castle
Dunsmui'rs Castle for his wife. Built by Robert Dunsmuir for his wife Joan, in 1887, this wonderful small castle offers guided tours by knowledgeable staff (Jean is the best) through slightly faded elegance. There's a good gift shop. Just a 20 minute brisk walk or a short bus ride from downtown.
1050 Joan Crescent. 592-5323.

The Empress Hotel Lobby
Empress Hotel, with Victoria's Inner Harbor yachts After an extensive restoration, the Empress is again one of the grandest hotels in Canada.  The sheer immensity of the rooms coupled with its hardwood floors, oriental rugs, and chateaux style architecture, make this worth a visit.  Make sure to see the mirrored ballroom. Tea is served in the lobby. Children and collectors alike will enjoy Miniature World, located in the lobby.
721 Government Street. 250-384-8111.

Parliament Buildings
Victoria's Parliament buildings at night

Victoria is BC's capital city - and the stately Provincial Legislative Buildings are worth a visit. By night it is all lit by thousands of tiny lights. Government Street.

Royal British Columbia Museum

Exhibits depict scenes from BC's often colorful history. Opening April 18, 1997: Whales: The Enduring Legacy. 675 Bellevue 387-3701.

Whale Watching

Seeing a whale in the wild is a gift that you won't forget. But research increasingly indicates that crowds of people in loud, fume-belching craft, are not good for these family-oriented mammals. If you decide to go whale watching, try Seacoast Expeditions. This company is dedicated to marine wildlife preservation, and takes care that mammals are not distressed in any way. Seacoast offers boats that are custom built for the tours, and guarantees your safety, making the 3 hour tour well worth the $75 adult and $50 child rate. For more information contact Seacoast Expeditions at 250-383-2254.


Government Street, just down from the Empress Hotel, between Humbolt and Johnson, is lined with restaurants and shops. My favourites include Roger's Chocolates, at 913 Government Street, and Munro's Books, which is found in one of Victoria's finest heritage buildings at 1108 Government Street.

Walking along Government Street, turn east at Fort Street. You'll be at the start of what is known as Antiques Row. If you head back down Government Street and turn left on Johnson Street, you'll come to Market Square, which has over 40 restaurants and shops in an historic building.


The Empress, originally built as a Canadian Pacific Hotel, offers outstanding service and stately Victorian luxury in one of Canada's grandest hotels.  Afternoon tea in the lobby, wonderful meals in the Garden Restaurant and the Bengal Lounge. Don't be afraid to bargain on room rates.
721 Government Street, Victoria. V8V 1W5. 1-800-441-1414.
· see also for more on accomodations
- END -

copyright © 1997-2002 Teresa Murphy, Vancouver, B.C. Canada

This article was originally published in 1997 on one of Canada's first web magazines, for librarians, archivists and information professionals.

Teresa Murphy can be reached by email at
Teresa is a well known freelance business copywriter/ travel journalist / technical writer.  She has published hundreds of articles in professional information publications in print and online.

In addition to being a freelance copywriter, Teresa is a professional in the area of corporate competitive intelligence research.

Return to table of contents - Victoria, BC Info

Table of Contents
See also

Victoria restaurants suggestions

Libraries, Archives & Museums in Victoria and Vancouver

Map - Victoria golf courses

Information Section