Victoria has been listed many times as one of Canada’s best cities to live in. It is known worldwide as the city of gardens. Popular among Canadians as well as being a major tourist attraction, Victoria is very unique to Canada for a few reasons. Here are the 10 unique things about Victoria City, Canada!
1. Best Climate in Canada
The weather in Victoria is just incredible. I landed here and was strolling Cadboro Bay in my lightest beach dress in September! It came as a surprise to me as I always imagined Canada to be the place I would freeze to death (no offence!). The weather never gets too hot in the summer as the temperatures are generally in the lowto mid 20s deg c. It hardly ever snows either ( I think I saw snow only twice while being in Victoria for 2 years!). This might not be a big deal for most people who live in warm temperatures, but for a Canadian city, that’s quite unique!
2. No (almost) Bugs!
After graduating university, I decided to move to Vancouver for a change. Someone on the ferry said: “oh prepare for the bugs!”. A few weeks later, I realised how much I had been living in a bubble in Victoria! Indeed, I hardly ever encountered these huge mosquitoes, flies, spiders and other bugs that seem to be rampant in Vancouver! Being on a island, Victoria is protected from all of this. That means you don’t have to worry too much when you leave your windows open or go for a hike in the woods. Although, my friend did find a massive spider in her closet in Victoria once, haha!
3. Nature is Only a Few Minutes Away!
One thing that I will forever cherish about Victoria is how close nature is to you. Whenever you need a break from the concrete, you only need to walk for a few minutes until you reach a waterfront, a beach, a trail, a mountain or a garden (take the bus to the amazing Butchart Gardens). Victoria city has preserved its nature well and has also incorporated it within the city too.
My favourite is going for long walks down Dallas Road. There’s plenty to do here: go down by the beach, walk along the waterfront path where you can enjoy the ocean views and sometimes spot people paragliding or kitesurfing, play with the dogs, and make you way to Beacon Hill park which is only a few minutes away.
4. It’s HEAVEN if you are a dog-person
Speaking of dogs, it seems that in Victoria everyone LOVES them. And being a dog-lover myself, this place feels like heaven! People walk there dogs everywhere and are usually ok with you petting them (it’s still polite to ask first!). I don’t have a dog myself, but I go to the dog parks to make up for it. That’s when I get 20 dogs running to me to give me love! Victoria is a dog and family-friendly city and, thus, is a great place to raise children.
5. Dress Effortlessly
If you do not want to stress about what you are going to wear every morning, Victoria is the place to be. The fashion sense in this city is very laid back. Low maintenance people are welcome here! Victoria has allowed me to really embrace minimalism without fearing any judgement. And, side note: Victoria is a great city for those who believe in recycling and repurposing too! People are always selling or donating their items on Facebook, UsedVictoria and VarageSale. Being a student has never been easier!
6. No Skyscrapers Here!
If you had high hopes of landing in a modern city with breathtaking architecture, Victoria might be a bit underwhelming for you. This city does not have any skyscrapers and flaunts a more Victorian style architecture. Most people actually believe that this is what makes Victoria charming. The highlight of the city is truly the beautiful Parliament building that stands out by the waterfront and lights up at night.
7. Pedestrian is King!
Victoria is probably the only city I can cross the road with zero stress. Drivers are polite and really pay attention to pedestrians. Many cars will stop and wave at you to cross with a smile even if you are not really in the right place to do so. Bus drivers are also very friendly and would wait for you if they see you running towards them at the bus-stops. Again, this is another reason Victoria is a family- friendly city!
8. It has the oldest China Town of Canada!
Not many people know (well, at least, I didn’t) that the oldest Chinatown in Canada – and the second oldest in North America- is actually in Victoria. You can read more about the history of Chinese immigration via the artsy murals on the streets and in the alleyways. I think the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards are really what make Victoria’s Chinatown unique. Most tourists go to ChinaTown to walk through and take pictures in Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest alleyway in all of Canada. Chinatown is one of those places where you will probably keep making new discoveries (shops, cafes, ornate alleyways, and wall arts) every single time you visit!
9. The Xmen was filmed here!
This one is sure to please all those Marvel lovers out there. It has never been simpler to visit Professor Xavier’s school of Gifted Youngsters. Just head to Royal Roads University and find your way to Hatley Castle. There you have it: you are standing in front of the building that has served as filming location of one of the greatest comics franchise created. But, really, even those who are not the biggest fans, will still admire the impressive castle and gardens. It can also serve as a wedding location (in case you are still deciding :P)
10. It is the Most Romantic City in the World
I kept the best for last! Victoria is known as the most romantic city in the world. Yes, you heard me, not Paris, V-I-C-T-O-R-I-A. But, after living here for 2 years, I am really not surprised. Surrounded by flowers, the oceans, ambient lit lamps, illuminated Parliament Building, and gardens, you might easily give your heart away on your second date.
If you are planning for a perfect romantic date and happen to be in Victoria in the summer, here’s what you can do: plan to be by the waterfront at sunset to see the beautiful sunset by the ocean; then turn around and watch the Parliament Building light up; after that, head to Chocolats Favoris on Government Street and treat your date to an ice-cream. You’re welcome!
Here you have it: my list of unique things about Victoria, BC. As I plan my travels to other places in the world, I say goodbye to this beautiful city and hope to see it again soon <3
If you want to read about what to do on a budget in Vancouver, BC, click here.
Until next time,