Everyone here at ViSTA are not only proud residents of the ‘city of flowers’ Victoria, BC, but we are privileged to be able to live and work here. We all wanted to share with you some of our thoughts and recommendations on activities, attractions, places to go while you are here that may be either off the beaten path, or simply some of our favorite green things to do.
Cool Green facts about Victoria, Salish Sea & the Island:
- Victoria is the Cycling Capital of Canada – and for good reason. It boasts an extensive system of bicycle paths; in fact you can cycle from the ferry in Schwartz Bay on a bike path all the way to downtown Victoria. Then if you’re energetic you can continue on to Sooke. Plus it’s easy to make your way by bike to the Gulf Islands or to the Cowichan Valley area.
- Forty six percent of people in Victoria walk, ride or use public transportation to get to work.
- There are over 70 city parks including Beacon Hill Park which boasts vistas across the Juan de Fuca Strait. Beacon Hill Park is also home to the Mile “0″ marker for the 8,000 kilometer Trans-Canada Trail.
- Victoria is internationally renowned as the “City of Gardens”
- 950 hanging baskets adorn lampposts throughout the City of Victoria each summer
- There are 2,855 farms on Vancouver Island including 991 in Greater Victoria and 700 in the Cowichan Valley
- National Geographic Magazine recognizes Vancouver Island as one of the best cold-water diving destinations in the world and the renowned Jacques Cousteau Society rates the area as only second to the Red Sea for diversity of marine life and water clarity
- Victoria’s waters are home to three resident pods of orca whales, totaling over 80 mammals
TOP GREEN THINGS TO DO WHILE IN VICTORIA, BC:
- Walk the Ogden Point Breakwater: The Ogden Point Breakwater is a major Victoria tourist attraction. It is an exhilarating 850 metre (one-half mile) walk starting adjacent to the Ogden Point Café (199 Dallas Road/V8V 1A1) & the Pacific Pilotage Authority Despatch Office (211 Dallas Road/(V8V 1A1). This Victoria landmark is used regularly by locals as well as by tourists. In April of 2013 installation was completed on new aluminum and stainless-steel railings on each side of the walkway.
- Picnic in Beacon Hill Park: The Watering Garden is a water play park facility located at the site of the old wading pool in Beacon Hill Park. The goal was to create a play park that celebrates water in creative, playful and visually interesting ways, in all seasons. The new Watering Garden achieves these goals, creating a peaceful oasis in the park that citizens of all ages can enjoy for years to come.
- Beachcomb at Fort Rodd Hill national Park: Fort Rodd Hill NHS commemorates the national significance of the Victoria-Esquimalt coast artillery fortress in the defence of Victoria and the naval base at Esquimalt harbour, as part of the larger defence strategy of the British Empire and Canada, 1878 to 1956. Fisgard Lighthouse NHS commemorates the national significance of the first lighthouse on Canada’s west coast. Fisgard has been an important symbol of sovereignty-British, Colonial and Canadian-since 1860. Along with Race Rocks lighthouse, Fisgard provides a guide for mariners to Royal Roads anchorage, Esquimalt harbour and its naval base, and points the way to Victoria harbour.
- Explore Fisherman’s Wharf: Just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This unique marine destination offers food kiosks, unique shops and eco-tour adventures in the heart of the working harbour. Wander down the docks with your lunch, buy seafood fresh off the boat, see moored pleasure vessels and float homes, and watch as fishing vessels unload their wares. Whale Watching, Kayaking, Pirate adventures, fresh seafood sales, Mexican food, BBQ grill, ice cream, harbour ferry tours & Fish & Chips.
- Flying a kite at Clover Point and the Victoria Waterfront: One of the more popular scenic destinations in Victoria has to be Clover Point, located off Dallas Road. Clover Point is actually owned by the Department of Defence, but leased to the City of Victoria for use as a park. This point offers spectacular views to the south to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, the always impressive Mount Baker (a dormant volcano) and also the Sooke Hills to the west.
- Walk, bike & run Victoria’s inner Harbour: Victoria Harbour is a harbour, seaport, and seaplane airport located in the Canadian city of Victoria, British Columbia. It serves as a cruise ship and ferry destination for tourists and visitors to the city and Vancouver Island. It is both a port of entry and an airport of entry for general aviation. Historically it was a shipbuilding and commercial fishing centre.
Explore the Galloping Goose Regional Trail: The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a 55-kilometre (34 mi) rail trail between Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and the ghost town of Leechtown, north of Sooke, where it meets the old Sooke Flowline. The trail is a popular route both for commuting and recreation, including within the urban areas of central Victoria, which it penetrates in part. It is frequented by people walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and (in places) riding horses. It connects up with many other trails and parks in the area. The trail was created in 1987 on the former right-of-way of the Canadian National Railway, and runs through the communities of Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Saanich, and Victoria as well as the unincorporated community of East Sooke.
Go for a ‘refreshing dip’ in the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park: The Sooke Potholes Regional Park is a 55 hectare (136 acre) park along the Sooke River in British Columbia, known for its rocky pools and canyon-like features. It is located near Sooke, British Columbia and it is a popular destination for hiking and swimming. The Land Conservancy and the Capital Regional District purchased the Sooke Potholes property from a private owner in 2005 and turned it into a regional park. This park is a provincial/regional park hybrid. The Sooke Flowline constructed in 1915 snakes through the nearby hills around the Sooke Potholes and travels all the way to the Humpback Reservoir near Mt. Wells Regional Park. It can be found east of the Sooke River.
Kayak the Gorge Waterway and Inner Harbour: The Gorge Waterway Park in Saanich runs the length of the Gorge, an inlet connected to Victoria Harbour, from Tillicum Road to Admirals Road. This is a beautiful, well maintained park. You can start your walk at the Tillicum end, site of the Victoria Canoeing and Kayaking Club, or at Admirals Road. Free parking at both ends, and at various points along the way. It’s an easy walk, about 2.5 km return (1km=.62 miles), with excellent interpretative presentations along the way. [There’s another park, large picnic area, and newly restored Japanese Garden on the other side of the Gorge]
Bird watch at Swan Lake Nature Santuary: The Sanctuary is a living classroom fostering an understanding and appreciation of nature through direct experiences. Educational programs for all ages encourage responsibility for the care and protection of the natural environment. To protect our native plants and animals please remember that dogs are not permitted in the Sanctuary. Managed by a non-profit society, this urban refuge provides an exceptional opportunity to bring people and nature together.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO HELPING YOU CREATE A WEST COAST ADVENTURE TO BE REMEMBERED!