Victoria sits north of the Olympic Mountains, which provide a certain amount of rain shadow to the city. However, that also means that weather is quite unpredictable. Whatever weather gets thrown onto the mountains may bounce around for a while, get torn up, or redirected by its trip over or near the mountains. The straight of Juan de Fuca has some strong winds that blows eastward through it, and these winds can be very strong - gale force is not unusual.
Therefore, be prepared for just about any type of weather, as it is quite unpredictable, and especially strong winds.
It's best to dress in layers. Being on the water, Victoria is a temperate place. It doesn't generally get frigid but it can be wet and cool. The weather is changeable on the island and it's best to be prepared for all seasons in one day. That said, when we were there, it was unusually warm. It was actually quite hot and we're from Florida!
Photo Equipment: A wide angel lens is great for taking photos of buildings and particularly of interiors.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We were happy to keep our tent and sleeping bags in the trunk of our car on this part of our six month camping trip around the western US!
Miscellaneous: It's great to have that special someone to stroll to all those great brewpubs with. Thanks D.
It's quite possible to spend a few days in Victoria without having a car. If you're staying in the downtown area, you'll soon realize that it's very easy to walk up to pretty much all the attractions, so pack up a good pair of walking shoes and forget about the car!
Also, even though Victoria gets less rain than Vancouver does, I still think bringing a rain coat might be a good idea if you don't want to let a few drops ruin your trip :o)
Luggage and bags:
For God's sake, don't wear a fanny pack. There is no better way to stand out as a tourist than to wear a fanny pack!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring an umbrella, no matter what time of year you're visiting. It's the middle of August and it's pouring rain today... and our winters are notoriously mild and rainy (expected to be even rainier this year due to El Nino!). You don't need a heavy coat because it's not very cold... you just need something to keep you dry.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: We have pretty much everything you're looking for, however keep in mind that in general, we seperate grocery stores from drug stores. If you do buy medicine, toothpaste, tampons etc from a grocery store you can expect to pay significantly more.
While visiting Victoria, smart, casual clothes will see you through most situations. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. This resort-style city is made for strolling, with downtown hotels, restaurants, shops and parks within close proximity of one-another.
Victoria enjoys warm, comfortable summers that are rarely scorching.
Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are suitable, but with constant ocean breezes blowing in off the water, a sweater or light jacket may be required and is recommended in the evenings.
Autumn is very mild with summer-like weather often stretching into October.
As the leaves start to fall, the air turns crisp in the morning and is cool overnight.
Layering your clothing is a good idea in order to adjust to the weather as the day unfolds. Warm clothing worn in the morning may be removed as the sun comes out in the afternoon, and then replaced again in the evening.
A waterproof jacket and umbrella are also recommended.
Although winters are mild and rarely include snow, warmer clothing is recommended between the months of November and March.
To stay cosy and dry, you will need warm clothes, a raincoat and an umbrella.
Waterproof footwear is always a good idea.
Hats, gloves and scarves are not as readily worn as in other snow-covered areas of Canada, but are often appreciated.
The fresh spring air blows in early to our seaside city. February or March start to see the early crocuses and daffodils popping up, quickly followed by an eruption of spring blossoms.
Recommended attire is similar to autumn, but with clothing geared slightly towards warmer, sunnier weather.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must. This resort-style city is made for strolling.
Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are suitable for summer, but with constant ocean breezes blowing in off the water, a sweater or light jacket is recommended in the evenings.
In the Fall it is very mild with summer-like weather into October. As the leaves start to fall, the air turns crisp in the morning and is cool overnight. Layering your clothing is a good idea. A waterproof jacket and umbrella are also recommended for this time of year.
Although winters are mild and rarely include snow, warmer clothing is recommended. To stay cosy and dry, you will need warm clothes, a raincoat, umbrella & waterproof footwear is always a good idea. Hats, gloves and scarves are not as readily worn as in other snow-covered areas of Canada, but are often appreciated.
Spring air blows in early as do the beautiful blossoms. Recommended attire is similar to autumn, but with clothing geared slightly towards warmer, sunnier weather.
Luggage and bags:
Dont take too many bags... they may be searched at the border crossing especially since September 11.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear comfortable casual clothing and walking shoes. Bring along a nice outfit for the nicer restaurants. bring a raincoat and umbrella.
Photo Equipment: Lots of photo ops so bring lots of film
Miscellaneous: It used to be that you could get across the border and back with just your drivers license, but ever since 9-11 they are also asking for passports or birth certificates.
For the trip across by ferry, I would recommend having a sweater, even on a warm day. The air out on the water was quite cold.
And of course, don't leave without your raincoat!
Photo Equipment: The majority of my trip pictures were of the ferry ride to Victoria and all around the city. I can't even describe the scenery...because any picture you take pales in comparison to seeing it with your own eyes.
Have lots of film with you because you'll want to take a picture of everything you see!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
If coming from the UK bring Lucozade. It costs $8.00CDN here. You will need it in the mornings as there are a number of Brew Pubs with tasty beers you' ll need to sample. (I' ll tell you about those, once I have a chance to work on this page)
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Loads of great camping sites on the island. Bring a tent and a warm sleeping bag. A nice thick foamy to lie on helps too.
Luggage and bags:
Waterproof! Just kidding--it's not always raining.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Always take a sweater or jacket, even in the middle of summer. It is a marine climate and the evenings can be cool.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Canada has it all (and some things the US doesn't).
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Take mosquito repellant if you are going to camp.
If you go to the West Coast of Vancouver Island any other time except June-September bank on Rain, more Rain, and lots of Rain. The West Coast gets on avg of 3300mm of Rain in a year, compared to 860mm in Victoria and 1170mm in Vancouver The East coast gets comparatively less rain than the West Coast as the Center of island has large mountains which force the rain up and over the East coast and drops down in Vancouver.
To compare around the world, London gets an Avg of 600mm of rain, Tokyo around 1460mm and Egypt 50mm
Always bring Rain gear just in case :)here is the website for current weather in Tofino, the closest town to the Racific Rim National Park.http://www.theweathernetwork.com/cities/can/Tofino_BC.htm
Even in mid-Summer, Victoria can be cool, especially at night. It can rain with a moment's notice.
Late summer and early fall are the best times to catch sunny weather.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Swimming? - The ocean is extremely cold all year but there are a few nice parks on local lakes that get 'reasonably' warm by mid-summer. If you are surfing you will need a wet-suit for the ocean. There is great wind surfing in the Straights right off Dallas Rd.
Luggage and bags:
Regular suitcases and carry-ons.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Visiting in June, we were surprised that it was as warm as it was. I would suggest a wide variety of clothing for warm and cold weather - layering works well. If you want to do some light hiking, running shoes or hikers will work.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Anything that you could possibly need you could buy in Victoria. Always remember sunscreen, especially if you are outside for a long period of time.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Your regular beach gear is all you need to lay out at one of the beautiful Victoria beaches. For hiking, remember sunglasses and bug spray.
Miscellaneous: Other photo ID as a passport may not be good enough. Only kidding but that's what happened to me. The immigration officer would not accept my passport and wanted to see a drivers license which is not proof of citizenship. I could understand it if I didn't look like my passport photo. I had to dig through my belongings searching for my DL while everyone else got thru the line presenting their passports. Well, maybe the Immigration Officer woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
If you go in winter you must have a big jacket and some termic cloths
Miscellaneous: If you go on between december thru march don't forget an umbrella