Victoria Travel Guide, British Columbia
The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is a very pleasant and polite city with nice people and even nicer surroundings. Victoria is a major port of call for cruise ships and a small city of about 325,000 residents living on a small part of the island that once occupied by the former British Empire. Victoria was the first European settlement on Vancouver Island. Remnants of that era are still present in the city that is full restored 19th-century architecture, stately Victorian structures such as the Parliament Buildings, the statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Provincial Legislature building, and the Fairmont Empress Hotel that still keeps the air of those times with its beautiful design.
Even the name of the city makes you think of the Victorian age.
Nobody can contest the city’s British heritage as the entire region was under British rule in the mid-19th century and Victoria was a British colony much to the disappointment of the First Nations tribes who had inhabited the place for a long time. Of course the British rule turned almost all the settlement into a British like settlement except the surroundings that could not be changed and look nothing like England. Actually they look better. But this change was probably what saved the city from economical failure when Vancouver was the main economical hub of the area and attracted many of the investors.
The city survived because it knew how to sell its image as an English city without making it seem a fake city and kept the reminders of the city’s past, such as historic houses and added to their beauty with the green spaces like Butchart Gardens which is a mix of flowers and garden styles. So the centre of the city turned out to be a beautiful historic area anyone would be delighted to see.
Besides the British heritage, Asian and native heritage are also present in the city and you will find here the country's oldest and most intact Chinatown.
Old and new buildings intermingle with the structures of a modern metropolis giving the city a very attractive appeal. And what is more attractive is that there are areas that are still wild and nature was not spoiled by modernity, actually there are areas you will find difficult to get around as there are no roads.
You don’t have to go far to be in the middle of nature just head to Strathcona Provincial Park with its scenic lake and river paddling opportunities or Beacon Hill Park providing great outdoor activities as well as spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains. And there’s more, in the nearby areas of the city you have access to sea kayaking, mountain biking, whale-watching (whales and seals are among the sights at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve) and many other outdoor adventure are at a stone throw as ecotourism is very well developed in the area. Kayakers from around the world go to the Broken Group Islands to practice their favourite sport in protected, wildlife-rich waters.
On the island's eastern coastal waters opportunities of wildlife watching are plenty. Different whales like humpback whales, minke whales, orcas, killer whales and other marine mammals like seals, sea lions, porpoises, and marine-bird are a beautiful sight and there are many boat tours that have as an aim taking tourists to see them.
Living in such environment in a city that blends with nature can only be invigorating and soul healing for all those who come here to find a corner of heaven and they do as the peace of life is matching the people’s needs and capabilities, they don’t have to rush all the time to work they have time to relax and enjoy the beauty around them.
Victoria still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the so called hyper world, and that is a condition much to be envied.
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