Downtown Victoria: A Neighbourhood Guide
Living downtown Victoria feels like you’re on holidays: Picture perfect streets, countless tourist attractions, gorgeous buildings, all are within arms reach. History surrounds you including many historic buildings that feature our famous Victorian-Edwardian architecture. With many improvements, new businesses, restaurants, and new housing being built it’s no wonder why many are finding the downtown area so desirable to live.
Scroll down to read what it’s like living in Downtown Victoria. You’ll learn about the city’s history and what makes it so attractive to the millions who visit annually. If this is the neighbourhood for you, scroll down to the bottom to view homes that are currently for sale in the Capital City. Alternatively, you can view these properties here.
Known as “The Garden City”, Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourism destination with a thriving technology sector that has risen to be its largest revenue-generating private industry. Victoria features some of the most beautiful scenery and extremely popular tourist attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, the Inner Harbour, the Parliament & Legislature Buildings as well as the Empress Hotel. The city is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown and some of the nation’s oldest churches. We are particularly proud of our unique architectural style as it is derived and influenced by Queen Victoria herself. The Population of the City of Victoria (this includes not just downtown) is around 85,000 people.
A Brief History Lesson:
Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. Prior to the arrival of European navigators in the late 1700s, the Victoria area was home to several communities of Coast Salish peoples, including the Songhees. The original name of Victoria was Camosack, meaning rush of water. In 1847 Joseph Despard Pemberton (founder of Pemberton Holmes Real Estate) arrived in Victoria as an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company sent here to survey the land and establish the town. When news of the discovery of gold on the British Columbia mainland reached San Francisco in 1858, Victoria became the port, supply base, and outfitting centre for miners on their way to the Fraser Canyon gold fields. When the railway was established on the mainland, the goldrush had vacated our city. From that moment on, development seemed to take off in Vancouver and is why many mistake it for the province’s capital.
Downtown Victoria is a major tourist destination, with over 4 Million Visitors per year including many from cruise ships which arrive in the James Bay/Ogden Point area of Victoria. Many whale watching tour companies operate from this harbour due to the whales often present near its coast. Beacon Hill Park is the central city’s main urban green space and includes numerous playing fields, manicured gardens, exotic species of plants and animals such as wild peacocks, a petting zoo, and includes spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.
The Inner Harbour attracts the most amount of tourists, as the scenery is simply picture perfect with the beautiful boats fronting the historic Empress Hotel and the Legislature Buildings. Fisherman’s Wharf is just around the corner and is a great place for a snack no matter the season. Chinatown is a short walk down Government Street, where you’ll stumble upon Fan Tan Alley (a very famous spot) and Market Square. The lower Johnson & Yates Shopping District attracts many tourists, as does the Bastion Square district. The summertime is when you’ll see the countless local vendors selling many beautiful crafts and goods.
Victoria’s mild climate and variety of different recreational facilities make it ideal for those who enjoy exercise and an active lifestyle. You can enjoy rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, golf, water sports, and cycling. Victoria is also known as the Cycling Capital of Canada and has recently undergone various designated and protected bike lanes throughout the downtown region. Victoria is quickly becoming a cycling destination, as the Galloping Goose trail also stretches out through the various regions throughout the south island area.
Living downtown Victoria means never being short of necessities. There are countless amenities nearby, from Vitamin Shops to Craft Stores to Camping Equipment. You’ll be at the hub of transportation, with ferry service to Port Angeles, Vancouver, Seattle, and water taxi’s to neighbouring districts such as Esquimalt. You’ll also be steps to Harbour Air, a float plane service which takes you either up island or to the mainland. BC Transit and many Chartered Tourist services also operate from Downtown.
The Downtown Victoria area hosts many local events. Notably, the The Victoria Symphony performs at the Royal Theatre and the Farquhar Auditorium of the University of Victoria from September to May. They also perform the Symphony Splash. Rifflandia Festival is gaining enormous popularity and features many headlining bands from across the globe. The Belfry theatre operates and performs many productions and plays to the public. During the summer months, Victoria is home to many food festivals including the noteworthy Food Truck Festival. There are so many local markets and events it’s hard to fit in!
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