Walking Tour of Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located at the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. The city is equidistant from Seattle, Washington, and the city of Vancouver, on the British Columbia mainland. There are ferries which carry visitors to and from Victoria from either location. Victoria is a quintessential British city and is a delight to walk, especially around the Parliament Buildings which are regal and impressive, and throughout the area which includes Thunderbird Park, a spot that contains a number of totem poles recalling Victoria’s far distant past.
My walk begins on the grounds of the Parliament Buildings, which face Belleville Street and the harbor. Wander the extensive, landscaped expanse leisurely. Be sure to take a close look at the marvelous buildings themselves, and also check into the guided tour schedule to view the interior.
Exit the area on Belleville Street and turn left to visit the Undersea Gardens (at #409 Belleville), where visitors can observe the harbor’s underwater marine life.
Now, walk back on Belleville Street, past the Parliament Buildings, and then turn left on Government Street. Miniature World, a fascinating venue in which visitors can see various scenes “come to life” through the use of animation in concert with lights and sounds. This attraction can be found inside the Empress Hotel, on Humboldt Street.
Continue north on Government Street and then turn left on Fort Street and then right on Wharf. Walk to Bastion Square, ahead on the right, which contains restored buildings from Fort Victoria, a community which evolved into the city of today.
Return to Government Street via Yates Street (a bit further north) and turn left. Market Square is ahead, on the left. You will find numerous shops and restaurants here. At Pandora Street, turn right. Centennial Square, the location of Victoria’s City Hall, is on your left.
Continue east on Pandora Street to Blanshard Street, and then turn right. At the intersection with View Street, you will find St Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral. Turn left on View and then right on Quadra Street. Pioneer Square is ahead on your left, and Christ Church Cathedral is just beyond it, at the corner of Burdett St (#930). This church is one of Canada’s largest and is reminiscent of Europe’s great, Gothic cathedrals.
Now, retrace your steps on Quadra Street and turn right on Fort. When you reach Joan Crescent, turn right again to reach Craigdarroch Castle, a multi-turreted mansion loaded with antiques and history. After your visit, return to Fort Street and turn left, back toward the downtown area. Next, turn left on Douglas Street to find the Crystal Garden, up ahead, a beautiful spot which displays tropical plants, butterflies, birds, and even small monkeys.
Continue on Douglas to Belleville Street and cross into Thunderbird Park which contains a number of Native American totem poles in a section of the park bordering Douglas Street, recalling the area’s origins. Also here is the Royal British Columbia Museum, one of Victoria’s most popular attractions as well as the Netherland Centennial Carillon (with the largest bell tower in Canada). After wandering through the park, walk southward on Douglas to Simcoe Street. Turn right again on Government to find the Emily Carr House (207 Government Street). It is a Victorian home, furnished to look the way it did in the 1870’s. Walk northward on Government to reach the Parliament Buildings, where the walking tour started.