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Victoria ( ) is the capital city of British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Islandmarker, Victoria is a major tourism destination seeing more than 3.65 million visitors a year who inject more than one billion dollars into the local economy. Victoria is a cruise ship port where cruise liners stop at Ogden Pointmarker terminal. The city also receives economic benefits from its close proximity to Canadian Forces Base Esquimaltmarker, the Canadian military’s main Pacific naval base. Downtown Victoria also serves as Greater Victoria's regional downtown, where many night clubs, theatres, restaurants and pubs are clustered, and where much larger regional public events occur. In particular, Canada Day fireworks displays and Symphony Splash and Victoria Electronic Music Festival concerts draw tens of thousands of Greater Victorians and visitors to the downtown core.

The city has hosted sports events including the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 2005 Ford World Men's Curling Championship tournament, the 1994 Commonwealth Games, and 2006 Skate Canada. Victoria co-hosted the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Royal Athletic Parkmarker, and is the venue for the Bastion Square Grand Prix Criterium road cycling race. The city is also a destination for conventions, meetings, and conferences, including a 2007 North Atlantic Treaty Organizationmarker military chief of staff meeting. Every year, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race brings boaters from around the world, to participate in the boat race in the waters off of Vancouver Island as well the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival brings over 90 teams from around North America. The Tall Ships Festival brings sailing ships to Victoria for the public to see and feel the sailing way of life in the past and present. For the more adventurous sailors, Victoria also hosts the start of the Vic-Maui Yacht Race, the longest offshore sailboat race on the West Coast.


Prior to the arrival of the Captain James Cook in the late 1700s, the Victoria area was home to several communities of Coast Salish peoples, including the Songhees. The Spanish and British took up the exploration of the northwest coast of North America beginning with the visits of Juan Perez in 1774 and of Captain James Cook in 1778, although the Victoria area of the Strait of Juan de Fuca was not penetrated until 1790. Spanish sailors visited Esquimalt Harbour (within the modern Capital Regional District) in 1790, 1791, and 1792.

In 1841 James Douglas was charged with the duty of setting up a trading post on the southern tip of Vancouver Islandmarker, upon the recommendation by Sir George Simpson that a second line of forts be built in case Fort Vancouvermarker and the other lower Columbia River valley forts fell into American hands (see Oregon boundary dispute). Charged with this task, Douglas founded Fort Victoriamarker, on the side of present-day Victoria, British Columbia. This proved beneficial when in 1846 the Oregon Treaty was signed, extending the British North America/United Statesmarker border along the 49th parallel from the Rockies to the Strait of Georgiamarker.

Erected in 1843 as a Hudson's Bay Company trading post on a site originally called Camosun (the native word was "camosack", meaning "rush of water") known briefly as "Forts Albert", the settlement was later christened Fort Victoriamarker, in honour of Queen Victoria. The Songhees established a village across the harbour from the fort. The Songhees' village was later moved north of Esquimaltmarker. When the crown Colony of Vancouver Islandss was established in 1849, a town was laid out on the site and made the capital of the colony. The Chief Factor of the fort, James Douglas was made the second governor of the Vancouver Island Colony (Richard Blanshard was first governor, Arthur Edward Kennedy was third and last governor), and would be the leading figure in the early development of the city until his retirement in 1864.
With the discovery of gold on the British Columbia mainland in 1858, Victoria became the port, supply base, and outfitting centre for miners on their way to the Fraser Canyonmarker gold fields, mushrooming from a population of 300 to over 5000 literally within a few days. In 1866 when the island was politically united with the mainland, Victoria remained the capital of the new united colony and became the provincial capital when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871. Victoria was incorporated as a city in 1862. In 1865, Esquimalt was made the North Pacific home of the Royal Navy, and remains Canada's west coast naval base.

In 1886, with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus on Burrard Inletmarker, Victoria's position as the commercial centre of British Columbia was irrevocably lost to the City of Vancouvermarker. The city subsequently began cultivating an image of genteel civility within its natural setting, an image aided by the impressions of visitors such as Rudyard Kipling, the opening of the popular Butchart Gardensmarker in 1904 and the construction of the Empress Hotelmarker by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1908. Robert Dunsmuir, a leading industrialist whose interests included coal mines and a railway on Vancouver Island, constructed Craigdarroch Castlemarker in the Rockland area, near the official residence of the province's lieutenant-governor. His son James Dunsmuir became premier and subsequently lieutenant-governor of the province and built his own grand residence at Hatley Parkmarker (used for several decades as Royal Roads Military Collegemarker, now civilian Royal Roads Universitymarker) in the present City of Colwoodmarker.

A real estate and development boom ended just before World War I, leaving Victoria with a large stock of Edwardian public, commercial and residential structures that have greatly contributed to the City's character. A number of municipalities surrounding Victoria were incorporated during this period, including the Township of Esquimalt, the District of Oak Bay, and several municipalities on the Saanich Peninsulamarker. Since World War II the Victoria area has seen relatively steady growth, becoming home to two major universities. Since the 1980s the western suburbs have been incorporated as new municipalities, such as Colwood and Langfordmarker.

Greater Victoria periodically experiences calls for the amalgamation of the thirteen municipal governments within the Capital Regional Districtmarker. The opponents of amalgamation state that separate governance affords residents a greater deal of local autonomy. The proponents of amalgamation argue that it would reduce duplication of services, while allowing for more efficient use of resources and the ability to better handle broad, regional issues and long-term planning.


The landscape of Victoria was molded by water in various forms. Pleistocene glaciation put the area under a thick ice cover, the weight of which depressed the land below present sea level. These glaciers also deposited stony sandy loam till. As they retreated, their melt water left thick deposits of sand and gravel. Marine clay settled on what would later become dry land. Post-glacial rebound exposed the present-day terrain to air, raising beach and mud deposits well above sea level. The resulting soils are highly variable in texture, and abrupt textural changes are common. In general, clays are most likely to be encountered in the northern part of town and in depressions. The southern part has coarse-textured subsoils and loamy topsoils. Sandy loams and loamy sands are common in the eastern part adjoining Oak Bay. Victoria's soils are relatively unleached and less acidic than soils elsewhere on the British Columbia coast. Their thick dark topsoils denoted a high level of fertility which made them valuable for farming until urbanization took over.


Victoria has a temperate climate that is usually classified as Marine west coast (Cfb), with mild, damp winters and relatively dry and mild summers. It is sometimes classified as a Mediterranean climate (Csb), due to its usually dry summers.

Daily temperatures rise above 30°C (86°F) on an average of one or two days per year and fall below -5°C (23°F) on an average of only 2 nights per year. During the winter, the average daily high and low temperatures are 8°C (47°F) and 4°C (38°F), respectively. The summer months are equally mild, with an average high temperature of 20°C (67°F) and low of 11°C (52°F). Victoria does occasionally experience more extreme temperatures. The highest temperature ever recorded in Victoria was 36.1°C (97°F) on July 16, 1941, while the coldest temperature on record was -16°C (4°F) on December 29, 1968 and January 28, 1950.

Colourful flowers bedeck the genteel "Garden City" downtown

Total annual precipitation is just at the Gonzales weather station in Victoria, contrasted to nearby Seattlemarker, ( away to the southeast), with of rainfall, or Vancouver, 100 km away, with of rainfall. Perhaps even more dramatic is the difference in rainfalls on Vancouver Island. Port Renfrewmarker, just 80 km from Victoria on the wet southwest coast of Vancouver Island receives . Even the Victoria Airportmarker, 25 km north of the city, receives about 45 per cent more precipitation than the city proper. One of the most striking features of Victoria's climate is the distinct dry and rainy seasons. Nearly two thirds of the annual precipitation falls during the four wettest months, November to February. Precipitation in December, the wettest month ( ) is nearly eight times as high as in July, the driest month ( ). During the summer months, Victoria is the driest major city in Canada.

Victoria averages just of snow annually. Every few decades, Victoria receives very large snowfalls, including the more than of snow that fell in December 1996. On the other hand, roughly one third of winters will see virtually no snow, with less than falling during the entire season. When snow does fall, it rarely lasts long on the ground. Victoria averages just 2–3 days per year with at least of snow on the ground.

The rain shadow effect also means that Victoria gets more sunshine than surrounding areas. With 2,223 hours of sun annually, Victoria is one of the sunniest places in British Columbia, and gets more sunshine than most other cities in Canada except those in the southern Prairies. The benefits of Victoria's climate are evident through the city's gardens, which are more likely to display drought-tolerant oak trees, eucalyptus, arbutus, and even banana and Palm Tree, than they are likely to feature evergreen conifers, which are typically associated with the coastal Pacific Northwest environment.

Victoria's Harbour with Songhees condominiums in the background

Victoria's equable climate has also added to its reputation as the "City of Gardens". With its mild temperatures and plentiful sunshine, Victoria boasts gardens that are home to many plant species rarely found elsewhere in Canada. Several species of palms, eucalyptus, and even certain varieties of bananas can be seen growing throughout the area's gardens. The city takes pride in the many flowers that bloom during the winter and early spring, including crocuses, daffodils, early-blooming rhododendrons, cherry and plum trees. Every February there is an annual "flower count" in what for the rest of the country and most of the province is still the dead of winter.

Due to its mild climate, Victoria and its surrounding area (southeastern Vancouver Island, Gulf Islandsmarker, and parts of the Lower Mainlandmarker and Sunshine Coastmarker) is also home to many rare, native plants found nowhere else in Canada, including Quercus garryana (Garry oak), Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy manzanita), and Canada's only broad leaf evergreen tree, Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone). Many of these species exist here at the northern end of their range, and are found as far south as Central and Southern California, and even parts of Mexico.

Neighbourhoods of Victoria

The Empress hotel
The following is a list of neighbourhoods in the City of Victoria, as defined by the city planning department. For a list of neighbourhoods in other area municipalities, see Greater Victoria, or the individual entries for those municipalities.

Other city districts often regarded as neighbourhoods include:



The population of the City of Victoria was estimated to be 78,659 in 2006. The Capital Regional Districtmarker, comprising thirteen municipalities informally referred to as Greater Victoria, has a population of more than 330,000 and is the largest urban area on Vancouver Island.By population, Greater Victoria is the 15th largest metropolitan area in Canada.

Age distribution

Victoria is well-known for its disproportionately large retiree population. Some 6.4 percent of the population of Victoria and its surrounding area are over 80 years of age—the highest proportion for any of Canada's metropolitan areas. The city also boasts the country's third-highest concentration of people 65 and older (17.8 per cent), behind only Peterborough, Ontariomarker, and Kelownamarker, British Columbiamarker. Retirees throughout Canada are drawn to Victoria's mild climate, beautiful scenery, year-round golf season, and generally easy-going pace of life. Indeed, a historically popular cliché referring to the city was that it is for "the newly wed and nearly dead".

Visible minorities

Note: these categories are those used in the Statistics Canada census.


% of total Victoria pop.

Pop. in City of Victoria

Percentage in BC
Tot. visible minority pop. 12%

Chinese 4%

Black 1%

South Asian 1%

Filipino 1%

Not a visible minority† 88% 66,260 75%
Not a visible minority - Includes respondents who reported 'Yes' to the Aboriginal identity question as well as respondents who were not considered to be members of a visible minority group.


The city's chief industries are technology, tourism, education, federal and provincial government administration and services. Other nearby employers include the Canadian Forces (the Township of Esquimaltmarker is the home of the Pacific headquarters of the Canadian Forces Maritime Command), and the University of Victoriamarker (located in the municipalities of Oak Baymarker and Saanichmarker) and Camosun College (which have over 33,000 faculty, staff and students combined). Other sectors of the Greater Victoria area economy include: investment and banking, online book publishing, various public and private schools, food products manufacturing, light aircraft manufacturing, technology products, various high tech firms in pharmaceuticals and computers, engineering, architecture and telecommunications.

The Victoria Advanced Technology Council (VIATeC) is an umbrella organization, partnership between industry and education, promoting high tech industry development in the Victoria region.

The May 24, 2007 edition of the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper reported that for the first time in Victoria history, high technology has overtaken tourism as the top performing economic sector in Greater Victoria. A gala awards event was staged at the Victoria Conference Centre for business executives and companies that achieved excellence in their respective fields.

The Victoria Region was experiencing a booming real estate economy up until late 2007. Its deflating real estate fortunes are attributed in part to the aftermath of the Global financial crisis of 2008. These incidents and other world financial issues are blamed for a potential economic near future recession, where some regions will survive better than others, depending on their policy plans or lack of plans.

Lower interest rates in the spring of 2009 have fueled yet another round of speculative real estate purchases, despite Victoria already ranking as 'Severely Unaffordable' in the "5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey". Housing experts who don't stand to gain from high real estate prices in Victoria have pointed out that Western Canadian 'bubble' cities will inevitably follow the path that virtually all the other 'Severely Unaffordable'-ranked cities have taken: substantial and long lasting price decreases. Experts assume the likely trigger for the substantial price decrease will be from many home buyers who, having only afforded their purchase due to historically low rates and very low equity requirements, must reset their mortgage payment amount under significantly higher interest rates and tightened lending environments. Experts further point out this scenario has already been played out by virtually all other 'bubble' housing markets in the world so far, with or without American-style mortgages, with disastrous results for the home purchasers and the local economies.

The Port of Victoria consists of three parts, the Outer Harbour, used by deep sea vessels, the Inner and Upper Harbours, used by coastal and industrial traffic. It is protected by a breakwater with deep and wide opening. The port is a working harbour, tourist attraction and cruise destination. Esquimaltmarker is also a well-protected harbour with large graving dock and shipbuilding and repair facilities.

Homelessness in Victoria

 In January 2005, a volunteer study by the Victoria Cool-Aid Society found the homeless population to be approximately 700 individuals (although this number has grown dramatically since then and is now estimated to be well over 2000 individuals). Remarkably, this was the first homeless count in the city. In 2006, a Times-Colonist news article estimated the homeless population to have increased by 30% in just a few weeks due to the anticipated tourism boom of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In early 2008, an anti-homelessness program based on a successful Italian program was introduced to Victoria. Built on a farm in Central Saanichmarker, the program would typically span two to five years for a homeless person to fully recover. The program boasts a 70 to 80 percent success rate, as opposed to the usual 28 day program with a five to ten percent success rate.

The homeless survey conducted by the Victoria Cool-Aid Society found 50% of the homeless population identify themselves as being of First Nations origin, and the majority of people living on the streets do not receive income assistance from the government.


Totem pole on the inner harbour.

The Victoria Symphony, led by Tania Miller, performs at the Royal Theatre and the Farquhar Auditorium of the University of Victoriamarker from September to May. Every BC Day weekend, the Symphony mounts Symphony Splash, an outdoor event that includes a performance by the orchestra sitting on a barge in Victoria's Inner Harbour. Streets in the local area are closed, as each year approximately 40,000 people attend a variety of concerts and events throughout the day. The event culminates with the Symphony's evening concert, with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture as the grand finale, complete with cannon-fire from Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Gunners from HMCS QUADRA, a pealing carillon and a fireworks display to honour BC Day. Pacific Opera Victoria, Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Canadian Pacific Ballet and Ballet Victoria stage two or three productions each year at the Macpherson or Royal Theatres. The Electronic Music Festival takes place in Centennial Square during the same time period for the BC Day holiday; DJs from various places show off their music skills.

The Bastion Theatre, a professional dramatic company, functioned in Victoria through the 1970s and '80s and performed high quality dramatic productions but ultimately declared bankruptcy in 1988. Reborn as The New Bastion Theatre in 1990 the company struggled for two more years before closing operations in 1992.

The Belfry Theatre started in 1974 as the Springridge Cultural Centre in 1974. The venue was renamed the Belfry Theatre in 1976 as the company began producing its own shows. The Belfry’s mandate is to produce contemporary plays with an emphasis on new Canadian plays.

One of the stone lions that guard the gate at Chinatown in Victoria.

Other regional Theatre venues include: Phoenix Theatre student theatre at the University of Victoria, Kaleidoscope Theatre and Intrepid Theatre, producers of the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival and The Uno Festival of Solo Performance.

The only Canadian Forces Primary Reserve brass/reed band on Vancouver Island is located in Victoria. The 5th (British Columbia) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery Band traces its roots back to 1864, making it the oldest, continually-operational military band west of Thunder Baymarker, Ontariomarker. Its mandate is to support the island's military community by performing at military dinners, parades and ceremonies, and other events. The band performs weekly in August at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site where the Regiment started manning the guns of the fort in 1896, and also performs every year at the Cameron Bandshell at Beacon Hill Parkmarker.

The current major sporting and entertainment complex, for Victoria and Vancouver Island Region, is the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centremarker arena. It replaced the former Victoria Memorial Arena, which was constructed by efforts of World War II veterans as a monument to fallen comrades. World War I, World War II, Korean War, and other conflict veterans are also commemorated. Fallen Canadian soldiers in past, present, and future wars and/or United Nations, NATOmarker missions are noted, or will be noted by the main lobby monument at the Save On Foods Memorial Centre. The arena is the home of the ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League) team, Victoria Salmon Kings, owned by RG Properties Limited, a real estate development firm that built the Victoria Save On Foods Memorial Centre, and Prospera Placemarker Arena in Kelownamarker.

A number of well-known musicians and bands are from Victoria, including Nelly Furtado, David Foster, Frog Eyes, Johnny Vallis, Jets Overhead, Bryce Soderberg, Swollen Members, Armchair Cynics, Wolf Parade, The Racoons and Hot Hot Heat. From the film industry, director Atom Egoyan was raised in Victoria. Actor Cameron Bright (Ultraviolet , X-Men: The Last Stand, Thank You For Smoking) was born in Victoria.


Part of Victoria's skyline in May 2006 from Thunderbird Park.
Victoria, British Columbia
The Inner Harbour is popular with tourists.
Fisherman's Wharf has a number of houseboats, some of which serve as restaurants.

Beacon Hill Parkmarker is the central city's main urban green space. Its area of 75 hectares adjacent to Victoria's southern shore includes numerous playing fields, manicured gardens, exotic species of plants and animals such as wild peacocks, a petting zoo, and views of the Strait of Juan de Fucamarker and the Olympic mountain rangemarker. The sport of cricket has been played in Beacon Hill Park since the mid-nineteenth century. Each summer, Beacon Hill Park plays host to several outdoor concerts, and the Luminara Community Lantern Festival.

The extensive system of parks in Victoria also includes a few areas of natural Garry oak meadow habitat, an increasingly scarce ecosystem that once dominated the region.

In the heart of downtown are the British Columbia Legislative Buildingsmarker, The Empress Hotelmarker, Victoria Police Department Station Museum, the gothic Christ Church Cathedralmarker, and the Royal British Columbia Museum/IMAX National Geographic Theatre, with large exhibits on local Aboriginal peoples, natural history, and modern history, along with travelling international exhibits. In addition, the heart of downtown also has the Emily Carr House, Royal London Wax Museum, Victoria Bug Zoomarker, Market Square and the Pacific Undersea Gardensmarker, which showcases marine life of British Columbia. The oldest (and most intact) Chinatown in Canada is located within downtown. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located close to downtown in the Rockland neighbourhood several city blocks from Craigdarroch Castlemarker built by industrialist James Dunsmuir and Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.

Numerous other buildings of historic importance or interest are also located in central Victoria, including: the 1845 St. Ann's Schoolhouse; the 1852 Helmcken Housemarker built for Victoria's first doctor; the 1863 Temple Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in Canada; the 1865 Angela College built as Victoria's first Anglican Collegiate School for Girls, now housing retired nuns of the Sisters of St. Ann; the 1871 St. Ann's Academy built as a Catholic school; the 1874 Church of Our Lord, built to house a breakaway congregation from the Anglican Christ Church cathedral; the 1890 St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church; the 1890 Metropolitan Methodist Church (now the Victoria Conservatory of Music), which is publicly open for faculty, student, and guest performances, also acts as Camosun College Music Department; the 1892 St. Andrew's Cathedral; and the 1925 Crystal Gardens, originally a saltwater swimming pool, restored as a conservatory and most recently a tourist attraction called the B.C. Experience, which closed down in 2006. Victoria is also famous for its Capital Iron Building, which is a prime focus in its downtown core.

CFB Esquimaltmarker navy base, in the adjacent municipality of Esquimaltmarker, has a base museum dedicated to naval and military history, located in the Naden part of the base.

North of the city on the Saanich Peninsula is Butchart Gardensmarker, one of the biggest tourist attractions on Vancouver Island, as well as the Dominion Astrophysical Observatorymarker, part of the National Research Councilmarker of Canada, Victoria Butterfly Gardensmarker and Centre of the Universe planetarium.Notable museums in Victoria include the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. There are also numerous National Historic Sites in close proximity to Victoria, such as the Fisgard Lighthousemarker, Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse, Hatley Castlemarker and Hatley Park and Fort Rodd Hillmarker, which is a coastal artillery fort built in the late 1890s, located west of the city in Colwoodmarker. Also located west of the city is Western Speedwaymarker, a 4/10th-mile oval vehicular race track and the largest in Western Canada.


Steve Nash, twice Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association, grew up in Victoria. Baseball pitcher Rich Harden of the Chicago Cubs is from Victoria. Olympic Games athletes Silken Laumann, Ryan Cochrane, and Simon Whitfield reside or were born in Victoria.

Victoria was the first city location of the cross Canada 2010 Winter Olympics torch relay that will occur before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Notable Sports Teams

Club Sport League Venue

Victoria Salmon Kings Ice Hockey ECHL Save on Foods Memorial Centremarker
Victoria Seals Baseball Golden Baseball League Royal Athletic Parkmarker
Victoria Highlanders Soccer USL Premier Development League West Shore Stadiummarker
Victoria Shamrocks Box Lacrosse Western Lacrosse Association Bear Mountain Arenamarker
Victoria Grizzlies Ice Hockey British Columbia Hockey League Bear Mountain Arenamarker
Victoria Rebels Canadian Football Canadian Junior Football League West Shore Stadiummarker
Victoria United Soccer Pacific Coast Soccer League Royal Athletic Parkmarker

College & University Teams

Defunct teams


Victoria’s climate, location and variety of facilities make it ideal for many recreational activities including hiking, kayaking, golf, water sports, informal team sports and jogging.

Victoria is also known as the Cycling Capital of Canada, with hundreds of kilometres of bicycle paths, bike lanes and bike routes in the city, including the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. There are mountain biking trails at Mount Work Regional Park, and Victoria is quickly becoming a bike tourism destination.

Cycling advocacy groups including Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition (GVCC) and the Bike To Work Society have worked to improve Victoria’s cycling infrastructure and facilities, and to make cycling a viable transportation alternative, attracting 5% of commuters in 2005.


The Jordan River Diversion Dammarker is Vancouver Island's main hydroelectric power station. It was built in 1911.

The city's water is supplied by the Capital Regional District's Water Services Department from its Sooke Lake Reservoir. The lake water is very soft and requires no filtering. It is treated with chlorine, ammonia and ultraviolet light to control micro-organisms.

The Hartland landfillmarker is the waste disposal site for Greater Victoria area. Since 1985, it has been run by the Capital Regional Districtmarker environmental services. It is located on top of a hill, between Victoria and Sidneymarker, at the end of Hartland Avenue. There is a recycling centre, a sewer solid waste collection, hazardous waste collection, and an electricity generating station. This generating station now creates 1.6 megawatts of electricity, enough for 1,600 homes. The site has won international environmental awards. The CRD conducts public tours of the facility. It is predicted to be full by 2045.

The sewage treatment facilities at Clover and Macaulay points serve most of Victoria. At these facilities, the sewage is screened to exclude objects larger than 6 millimetres prior to release into ocean outfalls. This procedure is heavily criticized, and the CRD is currently planning the upgrading of wastewater treatment practices.

The Saanich Peninsula wastewater treatment plant serves North Saanich, Central Saanich and the Town of Sidney as well as the Victoria International Airport, the Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Tseycum and Pauquachin First Nations communities. This is a secondary level treatment plant which produces Class A biosolids.


Local public transportation is run by the Victoria Regional Transit System, which is part of BC Transit. In 2000, they introduced double decker buses. Rider fare payments can be made in cash, monthly bus passes, disability yearly passes, or tickets.

Passenger rail service to Victoria is provided by VIA Rail, which operates the Malahat train north, along the eastern coast of Vancouver Islandmarker, to the cities of Nanaimomarker, Courtenaymarker, and points between. There is one daily round trip, departing Victoria in the morning, and returning from Courtenay in the evening.

The Victoria International Airportmarker has non-stop flights to and from Torontomarker, San Franciscomarker, Seattlemarker and many cities throughout Western Canada. Multiple scheduled helicopter and seaplane flights are available daily from Victoria's Inner Harbourmarker to Vancouver International Airportmarker, Vancouver Harbour, and Seattle. The BC Ferries Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, located 29 kilometres north of Victoria, has hourly sailings to Tsawwassen (a ferry terminal south of Vancouver) and to many of the Gulf Islandsmarker. The Washington State Ferry terminal in Sidneymarker provides ferry service to Friday Harbormarker, Orcas Islandmarker, and ultimately Anacortesmarker, Washington. In Victoria's Inner Harbour, an international ferry terminal provides car ferry service (M/V Coho) to Port Angelesmarker, Washingtonmarker, high-speed catamaran service (Victoria Clipper) to Downtown Seattlemarker, and seasonal passenger ferries to destinations in Washington including Friday Harbor, Port Angeles, and Bellinghammarker. Victoria also serves as the western terminus (Mile Zero) for Canada's Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world. The Mile Zero is located in the southern part of the city at the corner of Douglas Street and Dallas Road, where there is a small monument.

Direct flights between Victoria and the San Francisco Bay Areamarker (San Franciscomarker, Oaklandmarker, Silicon Valleymarker) began service on June 5, 2008 (Victoria Times Colonist, February 6, 2008). Trips will be 2 hours instead of the usual 6 hours because there will be no stop overs in Seattlemarker, as with other flights. The service will be operated by United Airlines, using 66 seat Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft. The same newspaper article also mentions the Victoria Airport Authority's plans for further capacity expansions at the Victoria International Airportmarker. These are expected to offer extended economic benefits to the region, especially the Tourism and High Tech industries. West Jet started a direct flight service to Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, three times per week, on September 9, 2008 (Victoria Times Colonist, May 29, 2008).

Bus service between Victoria and Vancouver is run by Pacific Coach Lines. As the service is a cross-water service it is co-ordinated with the BC Ferries schedule. Average travel time between the two cities is 4 hours. Bus service from Victoria to points up island is run by Vancouver Island Coach lines. Both bus services depart from the Victoria bus terminal located at 900 Douglas Street, behind the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Local roadways, although showing signs of increased congestion due to increased population, is relatively easily navigable via most conveyances. The typical passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks are the obvious preferred choices for daily transportation needs within the Greater Victoria area. However, the city boasts an ever-expanding system designed to facilitate "people powered" bicycles and "E-Bikes" via bike lanes on many main roads, as well as the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and Lochside Regional Trail, designed exclusively for foot traffic and cyclists that now pass through many communities, beginning at the downtown core and extending into areas such as Langford, West/Central Sannich and Cordova Bay.

In addition, the compact size of the city lends itself readily to smaller, fuel efficient alternatives to full blown passenger cars, such as scooters, as areas with excessively steep hills, such as one would find in San Franciscomarker, are negligible. Victoria is also in the process of making the use of such methods of transportation more desirable (in a push towards a more "green", eco-friendly environment), by offering incentives to use such modes of transport, such as parking spaces in the downtown core specifically designed for vehicles "3 meters or less" in wheelbase size, thus fostering the desirability for ownership of vehicles such as Smart Cars, motorcycles and small displacement scooters. Generally speaking, one can expect to reach almost any destination within Greater Victoria within a time span of 20 – 30 minutes, dependent on traffic, where you are coming from and going to. Travel time is longer during rush hour times due to large volume of traffic.


The city of Victoria lies entirely within the Greater Victoria School District. There is one high school located within the city boundaries, Victoria High School, founded in 1876, making it the oldest High School in North America north of San Francisco and west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Most of the elementary schools in Victoria now offer the popular French immersion programmes in addition to programs in English. The educational needs of the local Francophone community are served by Ecole Victor Brodeur (recently rebuilt to fit "green" standards). In addition, within the city proper there are several smaller schools serving segments of the community such as the Chinese School in Chinatown, St. Andrew's Elementary School or the Anglican School adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral. Numerous other private schools are located in the municipalities adjacent to Victoria, including St. Michael's University School, Glenlyon Norfolk School, St. Patrick's Elementary School, St. Margaret's School and Pacific Christian School.

The Greater Victoria area has three public post secondary educational institutions: University of Victoriamarker (UVic), Camosun College, and Royal Roads Universitymarker. There is one international school, in Metchosinmarker Municipality, devoted to the ideals of a united world of peaceful cooperation and coexistence, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific. Pearson College is named after former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and architect of the United Nations Peace Keeping program. There are also several private vocational and English (ESL) training schools available for people who want to learn the English language or upgrade new job market skills. University Canada Westmarker is a private degree granting school headed by former UVic President David Strong. Sprott-Shaw Community College is a private career training institution that has had a campus in Victoria since 1913.


Victoria is the only Canadian provincial capital without a local CBC Television station, owned-and-operated or affiliate, although it does host a small CBC Radio station in the 1000 block of Pandora Avenue. The region is considered to be a part of the Vancouver television market, receiving most stations that broadcast from across the Strait of Georgiamarker, including the CBCmarker, CTVmarker, Citytv, and Globalmarker networks. Television stations based in Victoria include CHEK-TVmarker and Amarker (formerly The New VI and A-Channel).

Sister cities

Victoria has four Sister Cities:

See also


  1. Tourism Victoria
  2. City of Victoria - History
  3. House built by Mungo Martin and David Martin with carpenter Robert J. Wallace. Based on Chief Nakap'ankam's house in Tsaxis (Fort Rupert). The house "bears on its housex-posts the hereditary cresdts of Marfddtin's family." It continues to be used for ceremonies with the permission of Chief Oast'akalagalis 'Walas 'Namugwis x(Peter Knox, Martin's grandson) and Mable Knox. Pole carved by Mungo Martin, David Martin and Mildred Hunt. "Rather than display his own crests on the pole, which was customary, Martin chose to include crests representing the A'wa'etlala, Kwagu'l, 'Nak'waxda'xw and 'Namgis Nations. In this way, the pole represents and honours all the Kwakwaka'wakw people."
  4. Population Counts, Land Area, Population Density and Population Rank, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Subdivisions (Municipalities), 2006 Census - 100% Data
  5. 2006 Community Profiles - Census Subdivision: Visible Minority Population
  6. StatsCan Definition of "Not a visible minority"
  7. Homeless Count – 2005 Victoria, BC Cool Aid Society. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  8. Homeless influx hits Victoria Victoria Times Colonist, 16 May, 2006
  9. Saanich farm could be new training facility for homeless Victoria Times Colonist, 13 January, 2008
  10. Cricket in Canada/Daily Colonist, March 16, 1863
  11. Luminara Community Lantern Festival
  12. BRC-HIA: Centre of the Universe - Public Observatory and Astronomy Centre
  13. Hall, Mary Beth. An Interview with Todd Litman. Cycle Therapy. Fall 2009
  14. Newcomb,John. A source of Victoria's power, 18 March 2001 (pdf 140K).[1]
  15. Hartland Landfill Site Rehabilitation [2]

External links

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