Victoria

Victoria: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: December 31, 2021

Less known than Vancouver, and also less populated, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the city has a temperate climate, attracting many pensioners. Its status as a capital city gives it an interesting arts scene where First Nations artwork is prominent.

01. Parliament Buildings

Completed in 1898, the present parliament replaced a more modest construction, nicknamed the birdcages, which burned down in 1895. Victoria, wishing to consolidate its role as provincial capital, hastened to rebuild the building. It is possible to push the door and walk freely through the corridors, where an elegant and abundant decoration full of symbols can be seen.

02. Royal British Columbia Museum

As early as 1894, the collection of memorabilia related to the pioneers began. These objects and documents form the basis of the provincial archives, which were merged with the museum, the latter collecting artifacts from the First Nations. The present building dates from 1968 and is part of a cultural and historical complex close to Parliament.

03. Thunderbird Park

Located next to the museum, the park features several totem poles from the province’s First Nations. As early as 1940, totem poles were installed there. As they deteriorate over time, Aboriginal artists have been associated with repairing them or replacing them with recent versions. This is one of the expressions of the attachment to valuing Aboriginal culture.

04. Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel was built in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway on the model of the luxury hotels built in major cities for the wealthy travellers of the time. The architect of the nearby Parliament building was chosen for this project, creating a sense of unity around the harbour. Afternoon tea is one of the traditions followed by locals and visitors alike.

05. Helmcken House

Helmcken House is the oldest surviving house in Victoria. It was built in 1852 by Dr. Helmcken, a surgeon and politician from Fort Victoria as the new city was then called. Expanded several times, the house overlooked the harbour which was already the centre of activity for British pioneers attracted by the development of trade.

06. Emily Carr’s home

Emily Carr (1871-1945), a Canadian painter and writer from a well-to-do family, travelled to London and Paris to improve her artistic knowledge. The Fauves and Native art influenced her work, which began to gain recognition in the late 1920s after a long period of difficult Bohemian life. Her family home serves as a museum.

07. Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887 and 1890 by Robert Dunsmuir, an immigrant enriched by the coal trade. Using the finest marble, granite and ashlar for this Gothic pastiche of a Victorian manor house, he sought to show off his financial success. Sadly Dunsmuir died in 1889, before his castle was completed.

08. Float Home Village

At Fisherman’s Wharf there are 30 berths for floating homes. These are not holiday homes, the houses form a village of real permanent residents, supplied with water and electricity. Many curious people freely roam the pontoons replacing the streets, which is rare for this kind of place often restricted to residents.

09. First Nations Breakwater

In order to protect the entrance to the bay, a breakwater wall was built in 1916, extending 850 metres, 2800 feet, into the sea. In the early 2010’s, native artists were encouraged to come and paint murals depicting their history. The project was a success, since railings have been installed to secure the walks on the wall.

10. Songhees Walkway

The Songhees Walkway runs around the harbour, where Aboriginal people lived near Fort Victoria. It’s a beautiful place at the end of a summer’s day, you can see the activity of the harbour, between the departure of the ferry to the United States or the boats crossing the bay, the roaring float planes come and go. A totem pole also reminds us of the former inhabitants of the place.

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8 comments

    • I hope you will be able to visit it again soon, it is a region where leisure and contact with nature have become a real culture for the inhabitants and visitors also benefit from it.

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  1. I’ve taken lots of little trips to Victoria and really enjoy the city. Besides the wonderful sites you have shown, I also love the feel of Victoria—large enough to be exciting with lots of amenities but small enough to be easy to navigate and manageable. There’s a great combo of history and a youthful, fun vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What you say is very true, it’ s a serene place to walk around. There is not a high density of people, and it is not a city of high-rise buildings, which is different from other large Canadian, not to say North American, cities.

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    • It’s true that the attraction of Vancouver or the possibilities of Vancouver Island sometimes make people forget about Victoria, but there is a quiet and relaxed atmosphere that is welcoming. It is typical to be able to walk freely between the rows of floating homes or in the Parliament corridors. Thanks for commenting.

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    • Thank you, it’s not my best picture, but I wanted to show this place and its location in the heart of the city. Knowing your interest in First Nations culture, I am sure you would find many interesting references in Victoria. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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