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British Columbia - Best Summer and Winter Vacation Travel Destinations

Updated on January 21, 2014
Parliament Building Coat of Arms
Parliament Building Coat of Arms
Royal British Columbia Museum and up-island installations.
Royal British Columbia Museum and up-island installations.

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

Suite 104-3 Fan Tan Alley, Victoria, BC V8W 3G9, Canada:
3-23 Fan-Tan Alley #104, Victoria, BC V8W 3G9, Canada

get directions

Fan Tan Alley, Off Fisgard

Inside view of Parliament
Inside view of Parliament

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.

Inexpensive Travel

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:

Bellingham Ferry (Ferry Traveller)

Washington Ferries

Reviewer Rating

5 stars for Travel In Victoria BC
  • 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.

Travellers Inn in Victoria:
626 Gorge Road East, Victoria, BC V8T 2W6, Canada

get directions

Ideas and Comments

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    • Beth Bennett profile image

      Beth Bennett 

      4 years ago from Vancouver, British Columbia

      Ohhhh, so many more great places to mention - this hub could be 8000 words. Thanks for sharing our amazing province, hope to see more and more featured.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks! BC is one of my favorite places to visit and I think it could fill a lifetime of vacations!

    • kashmir-ladakh profile image


      6 years ago from usa

      British Columbia is a travelers paradise, so many beautiful places out there. Nice hub dedicated to this beautiful place.

    • vacationguides profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Patti!

      Great hub! Thanks so much for sharing this information about British Columbia. I have never been there, but would love to go in the future!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      You'll have a wonderful time if you go. Chinatown is intersting and the people all over are friendly. Street performers, fog horns, museums. a Greek restaurant - It's great.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      11 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really excellent hub, Patty. I'm doing a series of articles for a client about the island, so this caught my attention. Same as you, after reading and writing about it, I want to go there. It sounds like the most beautiful place on earth.

      Funny, I've been to a number of states in the U.S., been to Europe and the Caribbean, but never to another province in my own country. I really should remedy that.

      Great pics too, by the way.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hi kpfingaz and Guru-C! -- I almost hopped on a plane and went back to BC just aftrer I wrote this Hub. I'm so glad you like it.

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      12 years ago from Miami Beach, Florida

      Hi Patty, This is a beautiful and enticing hub. I've always wanted to visit British Columbia and now I wish to even more!

    • kpfingaz profile image


      12 years ago from ~~~

      Great info as always.



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