Unforgettable golf meets fine food and drink culture and hospitality in British Columbia’s beautiful capital city.
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just off the west coast of mainland British Columbia, Victoria simply sparkles with its breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and Pacific Ocean. With the mildest climate in Canada, summer in Victoria is comfortably warm and dry. Victoria receives an average of 2,185 hours of sunshine a year and boasts a low humidity ratio. Almost constant offshore breezes keep summer days from becoming too hot and summer evenings cool. The city is abuzz with artisans, musicians and festivals, and visitors are encouraged to stroll the waterfront and city core to soak it all in!
Victoria boasts a very interesting & exciting harbour with much to see and do. This is a working harbour with up to 40 seaplanes departing or arriving daily, passenger and car ferries, whale watching excursions, fishing charters, local harbour & Gorge waterway tours as well as local harbour traffic. On the Inner Harbour you find the world renowned Empress Hotel, The BC Parliament Buildings, as well as our Tourism Victoria Information Centre, Royal BC Museum, several shops and restaurants.
The Inner Harbour is particularly beautiful at night with the Parliament Buildings aglow with over 5,000 lights and the reflections on the water from the yachts docked at the lower causeway. In the summer there are beautiful hanging baskets on all the lamp posts in the city and the Inner Harbour is a wonderful place to stroll and enjoy our many street entertainers and artists.
Downtown & Olde Town
Victoria was born at the edge of the Inner Harbour in the 1840’s and grew outward from there. Thus the area of most interest to visitors, including the Downtown and Olde Town lie along the eastern edge of the Inner Harbour. These two neighborhoods are usually listed together as it is hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins.
Olde Town is generally from Fort Street to Pandora and between Wharf and Douglas and Downtown is a three block radius around the Olde Town area. These areas have been the city’s social and commercial focal points since the mid 1800’s when settlers first arrived by ship. This area is filled with shops, museums, heritage buildings, and many restaurants.
Downtown you will find the Bay Centre Mall, Antique Row, Bastion Square and Market Square as well as many unique shops along Government Street. The downtown area is not only great for shopping but a wonderful place for a leisurely stroll, some people watching or to see some of the local attractions.
The official entrance into Chinatown is marked by the ornate Gate of Harmonious Interest, built in 1981. Highlighted by two stone lions, legend has it that these lions will come to life and roar when an honest politician walks between them. The lions sit quietly today. Although small, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America. Lined with Chinese restaurants, bakeries and specialty shops, it is a wonderful spot to stop for a dim sum or a full Hong Kong style seafood dinner.
Hidden within the block is Fan Tan Alley, the city’s narrowest street, which at one time housed opium dens, but now houses shops and galleries.
In the early 1800’s more than 16000 migrants arrived to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Merchants set up shop in the area now known as Chinatown. Today’s Chinatown offers visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of an Asian themed market complete with exotic foods and smells, gift shops, and a variety of restaurants.
This is the heart of Olde Town and as the name implies, this pleasant public space stands on the site of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s original Fort Victoria. In Bastion Square you will find the Maritime Museum, ReBars Vegetarian restaurant, Dig This garden and gift shop, Darcy McGees Pub, and several other shops, restaurants and a night club.
James Bay includes the Parliament Buildings, waterfront and everything south to Dallas Road. In 1903, part of the bay was filled in to make space for the Empress Hotel. In James Bay you will find many pristine older residences that have maintained their original Victorian flavor.
Many of these homes belonged to some of the original settlers of the area. Famous artist Emily Carr’s home is located near Royal Scot Suite Hotel, as is the home of the islands first doctor, Doctor Helmcken. James Bay Village is just a couple of blocks behind Royal Scot Suite Hotel and many of our guests enjoy this area for personal shopping. Here we have a grocery store, pharmacy, liquor store, hairdresser, coffee shops, banks, and other interesting shops.
A stroll through James Bay down to the breakwater just off Dallas Road is always a nice way to spend some time.
To arrive in Oak Bay is to step behind the Tweed Curtain, where afternoon tea is served according to proper English Tradition and local gentry slip into their local pub for a quiet pint. Along Oak Bay Ave. we find Oak Bay Village known for its tea rooms, such as the Blethering Place, as well as other restaurants and unique shops.
Also in Oak Bay is the Oak Bay Marina where you can stop and watch the seals splash around or have a great meal at the Marina Restaurant. This area has some wonderful Tudor style buildings as well as a couple of special gardens; a native plant garden and a rose garden. Look for the home of Mr. Ian Ross, who’s family owns the famous Butchart Gardens. The home is evident by the spectacular display of flowers year round.
Oak Bay is also home to the Uplands area. This was one of the first purpose built sub divisions in the Victoria area. The famous architect, Samuel Maclure, was one of the planners for this area. Home now to some of the most expensive real estate in Canada, lots could be purchased for only $10,000 in 1912, those same lots today would sell for about $650,000.
Cook Street Village
The city of Victoria is comprised of many quaint neighbourhoods. Each one has a personality all of its own and is worth a visit. Like so many of the neighborhood villages, it primarily supplies locals with lovely foods, flowers and serves as a friendly socializing area with several restaurants. Cook Street itself is lined with a canopy of almost 100 Chestnut trees and is a lovely area to visit whether for a meal or just a nice leisurely stroll. The village is bordered by Dallas Road on the South, Beacon Hill Park on the west, Fairfield on the east and Fort Street on the north.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is Victoria’s largest and oldest urban park, covering 185 acres of relatively wild Garry Oak Meadows and neatly manicured flower beds. This park is very relaxing with lovely gardens, many ponds with ducks and birds, an aviary, safe paths and many benches to sit and relax. For the sports enthusiasts there are cricket fields and tennis courts. Guests with us are fortunate this park is only two blocks from Royal Scot Suite Hotel. Children especially enjoy the park, as Beacon Hill has an animal farm and petting zoo as well as several playgrounds. The south side of the park borders on the Pacific Ocean and houses the world’s tallest totem pole. The park also marks Mile 0, which is one end of the 4,849 mile Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world. The highway ends (or begins) at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Ogden Point is located at the entrance to the Victoria Harbour and is one of the best walking areas, especially on the half mile long breakwater that protects the harbour. This area boasts great views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the Olympic Mountains.
It is a nice spot to do some beach combing as well as stop for refreshments at the Ogden Point Café, or check out the cruise ship terminal to see what ships are visiting Victoria.
A recent addition to the area has been a dive shop. These waters offer some of the finest cold water diving in the world. Everything you need for a day under the water is available at the Ogden Point Dive Shop.