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Top Tours

 
Beacon Hill Park Carriage Tour
"At your chosen tour time meet at the corner of Belleville Street and Menzies Street where you'll hop into your horse-drawn carriage and begin your relaxing tour through Beacon Hill Park the oldest park in Victoria.Your experienced carriage driver will lead you past recently restored St Anne's Academy and deep into the 200-acre (74-hectare) park established in 1882. Hear stories of Victoria's past present and future as you wind down quaint paths and enjoy views of tranquil ponds dotted with stone bridges and engulfed in lush greenery and vibrant flowers. You may even spot some herons!Ride by the famous Empress hotel and Church Of Our Lo established in 1874. Wind your way back through the historical James Bay neighborhood before returning to the carriage stand to conclude your ride. "
From CAD24.00
 
The Royal Carriage Tour
"This popular tour begins with a breathtaking view of the majestic Empress Hotel overlooking the Inner Harbor with its classic tall ships and sleek sailing vessels. Feel like royalty as you journey past landmark buildings and historic homes. As you enter Beacon Hill Park you will be dazzled with the array of fragrant flowers and delightful duck ponds. You will continue on out to the Dallas Road waterfront passing Mile 0 of the Trans Canada Highway. Here you'll gaze at the splendor of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The rest of your tour will be through the oldest neighborhood in Victoria with an impressive variety of well-mai"""Travel by horse-drawn carriage through many parts of Victoria including Beacon Hill Park and the Dallas Road waterfront. Visit the Mile 0 of the Trans Canada Highway where you will experience the splendor of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca."
From CAD31.00
 
Victoria Carriage Tour Including James Bay
"At your selected tour time meet at the corner of Belleville Street and Menzies Street across from the Parliament buildings where you'll hop into your horse-drawn carriage and begin your leisurely ride. Sit back relax and enjoy the views as your experienced driver navigates through historic James Bay one of the oldest residential neighborhoods on the West coast of North America. Here you'll admire magnificent architecture of some of Victoria's oldest homes. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as you turn onto the Dallas Road waterfront and gaze at the captivating Olympic Mountains. Ride past the former house of Emily Carr
From CAD17.00

Parks Tips (48)

Ravishing Rhodos at Playfair Park

Come at the right time of year (late April to late May) and see spectacular, huge rhododendrons in bloom in this known-mostly-to-locals park. To get here take the number 6 bus (catch it across from the Dutch Bakery on Fort Street) and ask the bus driver to let you off near the intersection of Rock and Quadra.

To get back to town walk back down to Quadra Street, cross to the other side that you got off from and catch a bus back into town. Or continue on to the intersection of Quadra and McKenzie (away from town) where you'll find a shopping centre (Saanich Centre) where you can have a coffee (Starbucks), fast food (Quiznos, Dairy Queen), 'Canadian' food (White Spot) or buy fruit and baked goods (Thrifty Foods). There's also a Keg Steakhouse before you reach Saanich Centre and as the restaurant is housed in an old winery you may find this an interesting place to have your dinner.

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suziezed
Apr 04, 2011

Eccentric Protest Sculpture along Inner Harbor

I'm not quite certain what this protest scupluture is, other than the information given on the sign beside it which states that the Victoria Harbour walkway was built for the enjoyment of the public and not for mega-yachts. This protest sculpture seems to have been fabricated entirely out of natural drift wood that has been painted.

Not having any background into the ongoing battles over further development of Victoria's Inner Harbour the sculpture and its statements were a bit of a surprise to me.

If you trust the builders (whoever they are) of this sculpture there are several places where you can sit and enjoy the view. This includes a spot called "King and Queen Neptune's Throne" and a spot marked "Reserved 4 U". These are assembled out of driftwood that has been arranged to form seating and stairs of sorts. I would definitely test the structure before trusting it, as even if the builders constructed it properly tides and weather may adjust its stability, as with anything having to do with driftwood near the water line.

Note there is a sign painted on the side of one of the entry boards in large red letters saying "Caution". Indeed! Other parts are clearly marked by the builder as being "Unsafe to walk on" and obviously you would not want to trust those with your weight at all.

As for me, I was pleased enough to appreciate the contraption from a distance, and appreciate it for what it is: a not-so-subtle reminder that scenic vistas and public places are frequently under pressure from other uses. What we see when we visit a place is frequently the result of many different political pressures pulling in different directions, and ongoing efforts to change what we have visited may be underway out of our view.

The web site below is the one given on the sign on the contraption - which is for keeping track of the developments proposed for the inner harobour.

To get here, you need to walk west from the Johnson Street Bridge along the Westsong Waterway. The approximate location is along the water by the walkway, and not near any points where the walkway connects to the local street network. It is close to the loop formed by Russell Street, Milne Street, and Mary Street to give you an approximate idea of the location.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Feb 28, 2011

Lochside Regional Trail

Following a different branch of the old Canadian National Railway line north of Victoria, the Lochside Regional Trail branches off of the Galloping Goose Trail just north of the Highway 1 crossing. This trail heads northeast from the junction, and runs through a long series of highway overpasses. While this obscures the surrounding scenery, the fact is I'm not convinced there would be that much scenery here to begin with to see, as it is mostly failry unappealing suburban sprawl.

At least being depressed into the narrow cut keeps the road crossings to a minimum, and the line is nearly straight for quite some distance.

The line passes over Switch Bridge near the Swan Lake Nature Sancturary, Blenkinsop Trestle near the northeast edge of town, and gets very close to Mount Douglas Park. The trail eventually continues northeast all the way to the ferry terminal at Sidney.

The junction with the Galloping Goose Trail is at km post 4, though in reality the entire trail system is considered part of the Galloping Goose Trail network. Information about this branch of the trail is consolidated onto the Galloping Goose Trail web site.

See also my Galloping Goose Trail Victoria Tip and Galloping Goose Trail Vancouver Island Tip.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Feb 17, 2011

Barnard Park: Relax, View, and Mud Flats

Located as far west as you can go and still be in Victoria (the western border of the park is the line between the cities of Victoria and Esquimalt), Barnard Park is located on a hillside looking out into the harbour (partly the Inner Harbour, and partly the Outer Harbour). There a a large number of trees, which mean that except for the benches along the water there isn't too much of an actual view from inside the park.

Running through the park, and along the waterway, is the Westsong Walkway, which connects this park to downtown Victoria along the water.

The park features a number of benches, a small playground area, tennis courts, and a reasonable amount of open grass.

This is also one of the few remaining area close to Victoria proper where tidal flats have been preserved. From the park you can look out over the edge of the sea wall and watch birds as small as sand pipers up to as big as a Great Blue Heron explore and probe the sand for food.

On the east side of the tidal mud flats you will find a small shelter along the Westsong Walkway that is separated from the rest of the park. Perched on the rocks about the water this shelter provides a place to ponder the hooded mergansers, herons and other birds that visit this spot.

There is no access to the mud flats area as it is a small natural preserve.

I suggest getting to the park from downtown Victoria by walking on the Westsong Walkway, but the street entrance is at Rothwell Street and Esquimalt Road. Several busy bus routes operate on Esquimalt Road past the park.

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glabah
Feb 17, 2011
 
 
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Confederation Garden Court

While it isn't exactly hidden from view, since it is right across the street from the Parliament Building and next door to the huge Hotel Grand Pacific, this little plaza isn't featured on that many tourist maps of Victoria. It is a pleasant little park commemorating the union of Canada.

Featured in the park is a reasonably impressive roiling fountain, which creates quite a splash zone when the wind blows from the right (or wrong!) direction, a concrete block with a time capsule in it, and the Coat of Arms of all the Canadian provinces and territories. Where appropriate, the year of incorporation as a province is featured below the Coat of Arms. This means Yukon, Northwest, and Nunavut have no dates yet, as they are still territories.

The plaza is particularly attractive at night, when the fountain and Coat of Arms are lit up.

The area to the north and south of the paved plaza features plants (the "garden" part of Confederation Garden) and a statue or two that are monuments in their own right. One of these is a monument in commemoration of the treaty of 1825 between Russia and Canada, in which the UK ceded what is now the state of Alaska to Russia, and Russia ceded what is now British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and parts of the Northwest Territory to the UK (that is, Canada). This expanded Canada's boundaries to the Pacific and Arctic, as they are today.

The plaza is an artificial construction, but the rocks on the north side of the garden area are indigenous to the location.

How to Get Here:

The plaza is located across Menzies Street from Parliament, and on the southwest corner of the intersection of Menzies and Belleville Street. At first glance it appears to be part of the Hotel Grand Pacific, but there is no direct pathway between the hotel's entrance garden and the Confederation Garden Court.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Feb 15, 2011

Gorge Walkway East

I have called this walkway "Gorge Walkway East" as I know not what else to call it. I have called it this because the nearby road is called Gorge Road East.

From the trail intersection at the north end of the bridge where the Galloping Goose Trail crosses the Inner Harbour, this trail wanders along the edge of the water south and east a short distance until it runs into a place where industrial use of the land is still ongoing. Here, the pathway makes a small loop in the land owned by a commercial enterprise in the area, and the view is somewhat cut off from the water by a patch of tall grass which appears to be an effort at restoring some natural habitat to the area.

This section of trail features a restaurant, an eccentric bird sculpture just outside one of the commercial buildings, some good views of the water, a kayak club and their launch pier, and a station stop on the Victoria Harbour Ferry route.

The dock is privately owned, and according to the sign those using it will be charged $15.

There are very few benches from which to sit and enjoy the water along this walkway.

As I was visiting in January, I did notice a few wintering birds out on the water, including a mixture of common mergansers and hooded mergansers.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Feb 07, 2011

Banfield Park

Connecting with the Galloping Goose Trail just on the south side of the bridge over "The Gorge", this small park features some good views of the small bay here at the east end of "The Gorge". It also has access points to the water in a few small piers. There is also a playground, scattered benches, and a few picnic tables.

Much of the park is steeply sloped down to the water.

The small bay below the park seems to be a very popular place for people to anchor their boats overnight, and even in on this winter day in late January there is quite a number of them, as you can see in the photos taken on January 30th, 2011.

The very far northern end of the park has two of the most hidden benches in it, and though the trail doesn't go anywhere past this point it does provide a decent view of the rest of the park.

As most of the trees are deciduous the views will be a lot different in the rest of the year, but for winter there is a clear view of the surrounding area.

The web site below is the city of Victoria Parks department, which owns the park.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Feb 07, 2011

Milepost 0 of the Trans-Canada Highway

The official start of the Trans-Canada highway isn't one you will find on the mainland. Instead, to say that you have truly driven the entire distance across Canada, you have to come here to Vancouver Island and start (or end) at Milepost 0 of one of the longest highways in North America.

Despite the fact that roads continue north and west from Victoria, the official start of the Trans-Canada highway is at Douglas Street and Dallas Road. This is about 1.2 km (0.72 mile) south of the parliament building in downtown Victoria. This is the far southwestern side of Beacon Hill Park.

How to Get Here:

Walk, drive, or wander south on Douglas Street until it ends at the south side of the island. Bus routes # 1, 3, 19, 30, 33

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Dec 29, 2010

Top 5 Victoria Writers

Jetgirly

"Very Victoria"
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glabah

"Facing the Weather and the Mountains"
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Jefie

"A Canadian city with a British twist!"
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Greggor58

"A Trip Home is ALWAYS GREAT !!"
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Ross Bay Cemetery

While walking along the Dallas Road waterfront walkway, I came across the Ross Bay Cemetery. This is not a difficult thing to find: the cemetery is huge and faces the water, and thus is just on the north side of Dallas Road.

It contains a large number of very old graves, and it is obvious that some very early families that are important to the history of Victoria and Vancouver Island are buried here.

The cemetary is closed to dogs, and is closed to all entry from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.

The web site below is by a group that is dedicated to preserving and researching the historic cemeteries of Victoria.

How to Get Here:

Ross Bay Cemetery is bordered on the south by Dallas Road, on the west by Memorial Crescent, on the east by St. Charles Street, and on the north by Fairfield Road. There are several bus routes that serve this area. These include 19, 30 and 33.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Dec 28, 2010

"Homecoming" statue and Navy Monument

On May 4th, 2010 this monument to Canada's Royal Navy was installed on the northern end of the downtown section of Victoria's waterfront. This marked the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, while previously sea protection was provided directly by the Royal Navy. With what would eventually become World War I brewing, the duties of guarding Canada were transferred to Canada's own military.

The most prominent feature of the new plaza is the "Homecoming" statue, celebrating the safe return after being put out to sea for a long period of time.

The plaza also features tribute bricks to various locations where Her Majesty's Royal Canadian Navy has been active.

There is also a pretty nice view of Victoria's inner harbor from this location.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Dec 27, 2010

Laurel Point Park

Located just west of the ferry termnal that serves the international boats linking downtown Victoria with various places in the USA, Laurel Point Park features wonderful views of Victoria's Inner Harbour. The park is the home of the Waterfront Walkway for the section of the walkway that goes through this part of Victoria.

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glabah
Dec 27, 2010

Pallastsis Point - Horbour's Rocky Native Landmark

Located along the Westsong Walkway on the north side of Victoria's Inner Harbour, Pallastsis Point has been held as a special place for Vancouver Island's native cultures. It is regarded as a sacred meeting site.

A large totem pole was installed at the point in 1994 for the Commonwealth Games. In 1997, this pole was removed and reconfigured into four separate peices: two sections remain at Pallastsis Point and two others are at the Songhee Reserve.

The totem pole symbolizes friendship and welcoming between the Songhees and "Visiting Nations" and has been placed here due to the significance of Pallastsis Point as a sacred place of coming together.

The location is largely left as natural rock, but there are a few small pathways that have been carved into the rocks. There is also a small trail that goes down to beach level.

glabah's Profile Photo
glabah
Dec 27, 2010

Things to Do Near Victoria

Things to Do

Chinatown

Victoria's Chinatown has the distinction of being the oldest Chinatown in Canada. It is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco. Victoria's Chinatown grew up to house the many Chinese...
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Craigdarroch Castle

As soon as we said we were going to Victoria, everyone who had ever been there told us we had to go to Butchart Gardens, but we did not. The reason for this was that I found so many things I wanted to...
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Things to Do

City Hall

Victoria City Hall is located on Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue. It was completed in 1890 and was designed by architect John Teague. Outside there was a statue and a memorial to Victoria's...
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Things to Do

Harbour ferries

Well known for its charming city center the picturesque harbor, is a manageable on walking and explore the charming harbor and main city streets without paying for needless tours. The harbor area...
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Things to Do

Fisherman's Wharf

FIsherman's Wharf is Victoria's hidden treasure waiting for discovery! It's so close to downtown, and has a vibrant atmosphere with funky floathomes, fishing vessels and marine life! You get a front...
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Things to Do

Market Square

Market Square dates from the late 1800s. This was a time when Victoria was enjoying rapid growth and prosperity due to all the gold prospectors passing through on their way to seek their fortunes in...
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Getting to Victoria

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