Why Victoria is a Canadian city like no other

Friendly locals, rich cultural and gastronomic heritage, natural landscapes and opportunities for adventure make the city an ideal option for cruise calls

Why Victoria is a Canadian city like no other
Victoria is home to the Lekwungen people, who share their culture and traditions with cruise guests (Image: Kevin Light)

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province. The city is located 100 kilometres north-west of Seattle, Washington, making it closer to the US than mainland Canada.

When cruise guests sail into Victoria, they will experience a Canadian city like no other. Canadians are renowned for being friendly, but friendly is an understatement for Victoria’s locals. In fact, Victoria has been named one of the top 15 ‘Friendliest Cities in the World’ and the ‘Most Romantic City’ in Canada. Victoria is also known internationally as the ‘City of Gardens’ due to The Butchart Gardens and the fact that its mild climate allows flowers to bloom year-round. Each winter since the 1970s, the city has held a flower count and blooms totalled 19.9 billion in 2019.

Cruise guests will also be delighted by the way Victoria has embraced the best of coastal life to create an idyllic island playground for adventure seekers and curious travellers. The year-round temperate climate, rugged west coast shores and mountains, lush rainforest canopies and pacific breezes offer a natural environment that is tailor-made for everything from hiking, cycling and kayaking, to diving, fishing, picnicking and even ziplining above the treetops.

Alternatively, cruise visitors can simply disconnect from the hustle and bustle of regular life by heading to Victoria’s restaurants and cafes to savour dishes made with local, sustainable produce from the farming regions of the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley. Seafood – particularly salmon and shellfish – is caught fresh from Pacific waters and is a mainstay of local cuisine. Meanwhile, those looking to explore the ‘Cradle of the Craft Beer Revolution’ can visit various breweries and brewpubs along the BC Ale Trail.

Thanks to its location in the traditional territories of the Lekwungen people, Victoria offers tourists the chance to immerse themselves in indigenous traditions and culture that are still incorporated into daily life. Cruise guests can visit the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole in Beacon Hill Park, which is a 20-minute walk from the cruise terminal. Meanwhile, the Royal BC Museum in the heart of the city is home to thousands of photographs, films, recordings and objects showcasing the many Indigenous cultures in British Columbia.

While Victoria’s tourist attractions are a key draw for the cruise guests, the city also has plenty to offer cruise operators. The Breakwater District at Ogden Point has three deep-sea berths, all with excellent approaches, depths, decks and mooring facilities. Pier A offers one 1,100-foot-long berth and is home to a 100,000-square-foot warehouse. By the start of the 2020 season, the two berths at Pier B will have been extended to 1,040 foot with the installation of a mooring dolphin.

Managed by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, all facilities are secure and modern, with paved parking lots, passenger transport and cargo storage areas to accommodate cruise ships calling during the Alaska season. Available vessel services include line hangers, passenger gangways, fresh water, baggage handling, garbage disposal, telephones and provisioning. Passengers benefit from multiple dockside services such as gift shops, foreign currency exchange, pay telephones, tour and shuttle buses, taxis and other reliable forms of transportation.

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
03 February 2020

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