British Columbia - Best Summer and Winter Vacation Travel Destinations
Victoria, British Columbia
My favorite winter vacation destination has been Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. The views from the airplane as one flies over the Inner Harbour up to the airport or as one rides a relaxing ferry into the harbour are gorgeous. Leaving the harbour area to return home is rather a sad time, because it is difficult to leave the beauty, peace, and friendly people in British Columbia.
One of my vacations in Victoria spanned the last week of December and the first week of January, so I was able to enjoy Christmas and New Years in Victoria, BC. The climate was mild and the temperature stayed at around 49º F during the whole two weeks. For snow, we could go up island to the ski resorts on Vancouver Island. Even in warmer seasons, one can go northward on the island and enjoy skiing, and then come back down to the south and enjoy the summer sun.
Getting around Downtown Victoria is especially easy. The length of a city block is about half the length of a block in my city, so walking as few blocks from a hotel or my friend's house all the way down to the Inner Harbour is always a pleasure. This is especially true, given the low crime rate and the friendliness and serenity most of the people living in town seem to possess in Victoria.
Then there are the fog horns of the large vessels sounding and the wildlife all around - seagulls and marine life in the Harbour. Sometimes the orca come into the Inner Harbour and jump up from the water so that we can see them. Baskets of flowers hang from every street lamp in the Srping, Winter, and Fall and some greenery in the Winter.and the Parliament and other buildings are lit with millions of lights at night.
At the mall in the downtown area, there are often street musicians and performance artists, including poets and mimes. Inside the mall are kiosks that offer free internet service so that one can send a message back home. The mall is four stories tall and shows beautiful architecture and glasswork.
Bus service in Victoria is superb. Every bus I used had no steps at all, but its entranceway was exactly level with the sidwalk curb. The busses also have ramps for wheelchair users. Most important, they ran quite often along their routes and wait times were never longer than a few minutes. A nice feature program of BC Transit is Transit Safe House -- After 7:00 PM any evening, if anyone feels that they are lost, sick, or under danger of being assaulted, they can board any bus and the driver will radio for help.
Victoria offers a number of car rental and leasing companies in addition to the bus system and good taxi service. There are also double decker site seeing busses and horse drawn carriages.
Fan-Tan Alley, Chinatown
Fan Tan Alley, Off Fisgard
The downtown Victoria mall - Market Center - features a Tuba ensemble in December.
Chinatown is my favorite place in Victoria, after the Inner Harbour. It is the first Chinatown settles in Canada, because it is located in a port city close to Hawaii, Japan, China and Korea by boat.
Chinatown in Victoria is Canada's first Chinatown. It began in 1858 when gold was discovered in the nearby mountain. In the Gold Rush, many Chinese immigrated to Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the USA to escape famine and war. Other Chinese came from California, from the Gold Rush in that part of North America.
The railroad building jobs on the Canadian Pacific Railway drew even more Chinese. The shops and food stalls are interesting and the restaurants are top notch.
Click here to read about Fan Tan Alley, which used to be a street of opium dens.
Because of the influx of Asian peoples into Western Canada, there is a large martial arts business thriving in Victoria and all over Vancouver Island. You can find dojos and dojangs of all styles throughout Victoria, along with Chinese medicine shops, alternative medicine schools, yoga classes, naturopathists, acupuncturists, and many other practitioners and Asian-influenced businesses.
You can also find Cuban cigars sold everywhere, as well as high-quality crafts and furniture, clothing, and shoes from indigenous Native Peoples, like the Haida, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Nuxalk,among others.
Some airlines offer good rates across the USA and especially to Bellingham, Washington. From Bellingham, a system of ferries travel straight to Victoria, BC and in the early evenings, a buffet meal is included on board some of the vessels. Affordable ferry rates are available for one-way and round trip tickets, whether you are walking onto the ferry bringing your bicycle or kayak, or bringing your motorized vehicle on board. The ride across the water along the Straits of Juan De Fuca to Victoria is a vacation in itself and one I have enjoyed often. Click here for Major Airline across North America.
Other travel links:
- THE RAVE 'N' IRON. Hand Crafted Designer Jewelry & Fashion Accessories
THE RAVE 'N' IRON. Nature Inspired, One of a Kind, Hand Crafted Jewelry and Designer Accessories for both Men and Women in Metal by Canadian Artists
- Victoria Miniland - Home
- Walk Victoria
- BC Hotels
A variety of price ranges and accommodations
- Travellers Inn in Victoria BC - This is my favorite: a Travellers Inn Express one mile from the Royal BC Museum that I enjoy and 16 miles from Victoria International Airport. The facility is a few-blocks walk away from the beautiful Inner Harbour where you can hear fog horns and perhaps see some sea life, Beacon Hill Park, and a castle. Great amenities include free parking, and shuttle service from all the Inner Harbour Ferries, digital TV, air-conditioning, kitchenettes, desks, coffee, and voicemail. There is no extra charge for additional guests above two per room , so this is fine for families.
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