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About Victoria, BC. Canada
British influence is everywhere to be felt in this elegant city. The Victorian architecture, the double-decker buses, the a fully tended parks, and little tearooms all add to the ambiance of a Colonial capital in the heyday of the Empire. From the marinas and beaches there are inspiring views of the sea, which reaches right into the downtown area, situated as it is on a small sheltered bay fringed by flowers.
A Little History of Victoria
In 1843, after Britain had ceded the long disputed Oregon Territory to the United States, James Douglas established a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The fort and the little town that grew up around it soon developed into a center of the company's fur trade on the west coast. Eighteen fifty-eight, the year swarms of adventurers arrived in Victoria on their way to the gold fields of the Fraser River Valley, marked the beginning of the town's "wild" times. Not surprisingly, many of the gold-seekers later settled down here, and in 1868 Victoria became the capital of the newly created province of British Columbia.
However, Vancouver, thanks to its situation as the westernmost terminus of the trans-Canada railroad, became the region's largest and economically most important town, while Victoria remained the tranquil seat of the provincial government, (and later developed into an attractive and popular holiday resort). There is still some fishing, but the city's main sources of revenue are now the administration of the province and tourism.
Parliament building, Victoria capital of BC
The Victorian-style Parliament Buildings, which are situated on a low hill on the south side of the harbor (conducted tours daily when Parliament is not sitting). Of course, pride of place in front of the main building belongs to a statue of Queen Victoria, after whom the city is named. In addition, the vigilant figure of Captain George Vancouver looks down from its copper-covered dome.
"To realize Victoria," wrote Rudyard Kipling enthusiastically, "you must take all that the eye admires most in Bournemouth Torquay, the Isle of Wight, Happy Valley at Hong Kong, Doon, Sorrento and Camps B add reminiscences of the Th< sand Islands, and arrange whole round the Bay of Napl with some Himalayas for the back ground."
Victoria has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in North America, and its grand scenery and European charm have long enchanted visitors. The downtown area itself lies in a horseshoe around sheltered James Bay and the Inner Harbour . At the northeast corner of the bay, on Government and Wharf streets, is the city's Visitor Information Centre. Following Government Street south along the harbor promenade, resplendent with flowerbeds, you'll come to the old, ivy-clad Empress Hotel, the starting point of city sightseeing tours.
Victoria, BC, Canada
Mildest Climate in Canada
The mild maritime climate at the southern tip of the island allows flowers and shrubs from all over the world to flourish year-round. And from the lovingly tended gardens and parks of Victoria there's almost always a view over the busy Juan de Fuca Strait to the snow-capped peaks on the Olympic Peninsula—Kipling's Himalayas.
Even Victoria's festivals are British. On the weekend following the great Victoria Day Parade at the end of May, sailing enthusiasts from far and wide gather for the traditional Swiftsure Race.