Victoria

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Introduction

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The City of Victoria makes up around 1/4 of Metro Victoria, which is itself a large part of the Capital Regional District. The largest individual component of Metro Victoria is Saanich.


Geography

Downtown Victoria is wrapped around the Inner Harbour, a picturesque landmark with many of Victoria's famous buildings, including the BC Parliament and the Empress Hotel. The Saanich peninsular as a whole has a rugged and indented shoreline, with mainly flat areas sloping up from the sea. Hills such as Mount Douglas and Mount Tolmie punctuate the immediate area, with generally increasing altitudes heading west. Gowlland Todd Provincial Park lines the west side of the peninsular, rising sharply around 300m above the ocean inlet Finlayson Arm. Much of the city has views south across the Straight of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains in Washington state, or east across the Haro Strait to the Cascades, including the landmark Mount Baker.

Victoria has access to large numbers of small mountains for hiking or cycling, as well as rainforest, lakes, and beaches and coves for sailing and kayaking.


Climate

The climate in Victoria is extremely mild, with some winters never getting down to freezing temperatures. Victoria averages around 2200 hours of sunshine annually, The east of Vancouver island is typically dry, averaging 58cm of rain annually (similar to London UK, and approximately half the around 110cm received by Vancouver BC or Manchester UK). City of Victoria Climate page


Transport

Victoria International Airport is a small airport, with links to Seattle and San Francisco its only current 'international' flights. The city has regular flights to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and other Canadian destinations.

Downtown Victoria is home to the Inner Harbour, where the Black Ball Ferry line vessel MV Coho links to Seattle, Washington, and float planes link to Vancouver Harbour. The cruise ship terminal is near downtown, on the south coast.

The BC Ferry terminal in Swartz Bayt is some 30 minutes by car north of Victoria, and takes about an hour and a half to link to Tsawwassen terminal near Vancouver as a continuation of Highway 17 (known in Victoria as the Patricia Bay Highway).

Victoria has no rail service, which was terminated around ten years ago. Feasibility studies are occasionally mooted to resume the rail link to Nanaimo.

The Malahat Highway is a mountain highway which carries the Trans-Canada highway north to Nanaimo, and from there across to Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver.

Population and demographics

Education

University of Victoria Camosun College


Districts

Victoria Saanich Oak Bay Brentwood Bay Langford Esquimalt