Though Toronto and Vancouver are the more famous Canadian destinations, it’s high time for the sophisticated and beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia (BC) to have its big moment. On a Canada cruise, the quaint charm and English manners of Victoria will take you back in time to the days of British occupation in the 19th century. Victoria is known as “the garden city” for its lushness and its commitment to keeping the city beautiful. Head to Butchart Garden or Beacon Hill Park to enjoy nature during your time in port.
Of course, a little history lesson is another must while on a cruise to Victoria, BC. Tour the expertly maintained Craigdarroch Castle and the Parliament Buildings, or stop in the Royal BC Museum, a natural history museum dedicated to the history of human settlement in the region. There’s also the Emily Carr House, a museum dedicated to the life and works of the famous painter, Emily Carr. Victoria exudes an intellectualism where art galleries and afternoon tea await you, but so do long bicycle rides along the seafront. Stylish cafes and restaurants are modernizing the city, all while maintaining its signature look: something straight out of a postcard.
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm, the Emily Carr House is a thoughtful dedication to the life of an incredible local painter. Her paintings were inspired by and paid tribute to the indigenous populations living on the Pacific Northwest coast. Touring her home is a must-experience tribute to both Canada and Carr herself.
The Victorian-era Craigdarroch Castle looms over you as you arrive. It’s hard to believe a castle this magnificent is located in one of Victoria’s neighborhoods on Rockland Avenue since it looks like something out of a period movie. A guided tour of the castle is a must. Explore the nooks and crannies, tour the grand halls, and soak in the opulence while learning about the original builders and residents of the castle, the Dunsmuir family.
History buffs shouldn’t miss the Parliament Buildings during a Victoria, Canada cruise. Located on Belleville Street, these government legislative buildings light up at night. Take the free 45-minute tour if you have time. You can also check out the Legislative Library or catch a spirited debate or two.
Go back in time through millions of years of natural history at the Royal BC Museum, which is one of Victoria’s most informative museums. It’s one of the best ways to get a nuanced understanding of the lives of indigenous people before colonialism. This attraction offers an ideal afternoon of learning for all ages.
On a cruise to Victoria, BC, one thing you’ll discover is a burgeoning and impressive art scene. A gallery tour is a must-do activity for art lovers, like the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on Moss Street or the Avenue Art Gallery for contemporary Canadian art. After your gallery hop, end the day with a glass of wine or by relaxing at Beacon Hill Park.
55 acres of garden and 26 greenhouses mean you could easily spend an entire day at Butchart Garden lost in thought among some of the most beautiful blooms in Victoria. One definitive Victoria experience is afternoon tea at the Butchart Garden. The traditional afternoon tea is a centuries-old practice featuring sandwiches and snacks that you can book in advance of your cruise to Victoria, BC.
If you’re craving time in nature or some relaxed family fun, look no further than the free and conveniently located Beacon Hill Park on Cook Street, behind the Parliament Buildings. Pack a picnic, take photos of the world’s largest totem poles, or stroll the grounds while visiting on a Victoria, Canada cruise.
Address: 555 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8W 1M2
For a romantic Italian experience, sit on the patio at Il Terrazzo to enjoy the sea breeze and a full-bodied glass of red wine. Pasta, fish, and wood-fired pizzas are the classic fare here. The ambiance of Il Terrazzo, its deep-red brick walls, and upscale feel make for a good date night.
10 Acres Kitchen
Address: 614 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC, V8W 1A4
Ethically raised livestock and farm-to-table inspiration are what sets 10 Acres Kitchen apart from other restaurants in the area. Close to the harbor, 10 Acres Kitchen uses its seasonal, ever-changing menu to support the area’s fishermen and farmers. Try the mouthwatering salmon with smoked tuna rice and locally farmed turnips, the homemade gnocchi, or the fresh-picked summer squash.
Aura Waterfront Restaurant and Patio
Address: 680 Montreal St, Victoria, BC V8V 1Z8
Another waterfront spot for a night out in Victoria, Aura is all about the ambiance. It’s a good spot to get classic entrees like duck, freshly-shucked oysters, and hearty steaks.
As the capital and cultural heart of British Columbia, Victoria has something to do for everyone. Though Victoria isn’t as big as Toronto or Montreal, it makes up for its size with charm, history, and plenty of wide-open garden space. The harbor city of Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the region, and as a capital, Victoria has made a name for itself with its museums, gardens, and traditions like afternoon tea ceremonies, castle tours, and other refined activities. Today, more and more young people are flocking to BC and Victoria specifically for technology jobs, breathing new life into the city. On a cruise to Victoria, BC, you’ll quickly gain knowledge of British colonialism in the 19th century and how British occupation continues to impact the personality of Victoria today. After all, the city was named for Queen Victoria herself.
The Victoria port, called Ogden Point, is one of the busiest ports in all of Canada, with plans to grow and expand in the near future to accommodate growing cruise traffic. The port is currently more tailored toward deep water vessels, not just cruises.
It’s pretty easy to see plenty of downtown Victoria on foot, but many rent bikes to get around the city since there are an abundance of biking trails. There’s also a shuttle available to take cruise passengers from the port to downtown, and taxis are available on your cruise to Victoria, BC.
The closest shopping to the Ogden Point port is the Beaver Gift Shop. It’s open during peak season from April to October and offers many of the souvenir items you might need, including handy items like umbrellas, hats, and gifts for back home. In downtown Victoria, go shopping at the Bay Centre on Government Street, which is just off the shuttle bus route. Bay Centre has higher-end items like jewelry, fine chocolates, clothing boutiques, and more.
In Victoria, the Canadian dollar is the official currency. Credit and debit cards are almost universally accepted, and ATMs are widespread. Tipping in Canada follows these best practices: tip 15% for waitstaff at a restaurants, 15% for taxi drivers, and tip a dollar per drink to your bartender.