Victoria and Vancouver Island—For the History Lover

Victoria sits just a 90-minute ferry ride away from the bustling metropolis of Vancouver. Though relatively close, the city feels like it’s a world—and century—away. Rather than innovating and modernizing as Vancouver, Victoria relies heavily on its deeply Colonial past, relishing distinctively British traditions like afternoon tea and British-style pubs. Though thousands of miles away from the United Kingdom, Victoria feels like an Anglophile’s dream.


Named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, the most famous of which are the Parliament Buildings (finished in 1897) and the Empress Hotel (opened in 1908). Nicknamed “The Garden City,” Victoria is stunningly green, boasting a thriving technology industry and a popular tourist destination. It is also in the top twenty of world cities for quality-of-life.


Victoria, which sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is not strictly reserved for the British lovers among us. Despite the city’s nostalgic tendencies, it attracts a wide variety of travelers with its excellent museums, charming architecture, and fantastic harbor views. To that end, there’s a lot more to this part of the country than English-style rose gardens and afternoon tea. Vancouver Island is known for its stretching beaches and prolific wineries. In fact, many tourists visit this part of the country to experience wine tours, attend whale watches, and stroll along the pristine beaches. Interestingly enough, Victoria’s Chinatown is the second-oldest in North America (after San Francisco’s).


Victoria is easily visited from several locations. Those traveling from Vancouver can easily access this part of the island via ferry, while those traveling from Seattle can take a ferry or the Victoria Clipper, a passenger-only ferry which operates daily and year-round between Seattle and Victoria. The city is also just 25 miles from Port Angeles, Washington