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would like to suggest some things to do while you are here.

Tours and Attractions

Whatever your interests, whatever your age, the Victoria region is bursting with things to do and places to go -- and it's all in a glorious physical setting.

Start at Victoria City's Inner Harbour where you'll find the B.C. Parliament Buildings, seat of the provincial government. Join a tour and see the restoration in all of its late 19th century glory. The capital buildings are at the Inner Harbour and the same location as the Empress Hotel, where you can also take a look  at Beautiful B.C.'s beautiful capital city from the air with Harbour Air Seaplanes.

Across the street from the Parliament Buildings is the Royal British Columbia Museum, packed with realistic and fascinating displays centred on the Pacific West Coast and featuring magnificent examples of Pacific Northwest aboriginal art. For more of First Nations' art--including magnificent totem poles - walk next door to Thunderbird Park. The Museum is also home to the National Geographic IMAX Theatre.  Nearby sits the Maritime Museum of BC with a variety of theme galleries related to the seafaring life.

Adjacent to The Maritime Museum is Bastion Square, the original heart of  Victoria when it was a fur-trading fort, built in the 1840's. Gold Rush fever in the later 1800s changed Victoria irrevocably. The Hudson's Bay Co. fort disappeared to be replaced by neighborhoods such as Chinatown, a living museum in itself. Don't be afraid to trace the small mysterious alleys leading to tiny shops tucked into late 19th century brick buildings. Victoria's has compact downtown, an easy to walk for all. Within a 10 minute walk of Chinatown for example is Antique Row, otherwise known as Fort Street.

If you prefer,  you can take a guided walking tour through different historical areas of Victoria. For example, a number of walk tours are sponsored by the Architectural Institute of B.C.and led by architectural students. Another historic walking tour called Tales from the Tombs  is provided by members of the Old Cemeteries Society, who lead you through a classic Victorian burial ground at Ross Bay. Or, outside the city's downtown, take your own guided walk in the district of  Oak Bay  or the Royal Canadian Navy base, which features the largest drydock on the west coast of the Americas.

Victoria, Western Canada's oldest city, dating from 1843, has also managed to preserve some homes that date from the mid to late 18001s. A few examples open to the public: Home of Emily Carr, an "English Gingerbread" house built in 1864 that also provides insight into Canada's first -- and best known -- independent artist and writer, Emily Carr. Helmcken House, right beside the  Royal British Columbia Museum,  is the oldest historic house in the Province, built in 1852. A beautifully preserved modest  family Victorian home can be seen at  Point Ellice House -- with high tea service daily.

For a map of these homes and others visit click here.

By the way, the most magnificent home of all perches on a hill overlooking Victoria's downtown. Craigdarroch Castle,   furnished lavishly in the period of the 1890s-1900s, is a stunning example of what money can buy. You may visit in the comfort of an open coach from Royal Blue Line Motor Tours,  which leaves from the Inner Harbour.

Another carefully restored historic treasure located near the Inner Harbour is St. Ann's Academy. It was once home to French-Canadian nuns and dates from 1858.

Victoria and its environs has a number of  galleries that sell the work of local artists. If yo'1re interested in the art world take time to visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, one of Canada's finest art museums with a permanent collection of 15,000 objets d'art, with primary emphasis on Canada and Japan. Also of note is the University of Victoria's Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, which features a large and varied collection ranging from ancient Chinese artifacts to works by well known contemporary artists

Moving away from the downtown core, and if flight is your fancy, drop into the BC Aviation Museum  by Victoria International Airport. It contains restored aircraft and artifacts related to the history of aviation in B.C. If you need more space, consider the Centre of the Universe, the interpretive centre of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory with spectacular views of both Victoria and the Cosmos.

For a glimpse of life as it has been lived for thousands of years in the temperate rain forest visit Sooke Region Museum.    For a different look at our rural past, see the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society where 29 beautfful acres contains everything from a blacksmith shop to an early sawmill.

Fisgard Lighthouse  was the first lighthouse on Canada's West Coast built by the British in 1860. Exhibits tell of shipwrecks, storms and the everyday working equipment of a lightkeeper a century ago. It and the adjacent Fort Rodd Hill  are national parks. Fort Rodd Hill was constructed at the begnning of the 20th century to protect the Esquimalt naval docks. You can experience the history of the Canadian Navy on Canada's West Coast at CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum.

Now, after all this, and if the kids are bugging you, head downtown again to the Victoria Bug Zoo, home to over 30 live species of the world's most fascinating insects and spiders. The gentler side of bugs can be seen at Butterfly Gardens  where hundreds of butterflies flutter in freedom.  Or visit tropical displays under th

 glass roof of  Crystal Gardens.    Both the Royal London Wax Museum,   with its exhibition of over 300 life size wax figures, and Miniature World,   with its tiny treasures and miniature pleasures, are nearby.

To end your  week in Victoria -- was a week enough? -- walk beneath the Inner Harbour at the Pacific Undersea Gardens    for an exciting and convenient way to view the marine life of the British Columbia coastal region.

Wineries Of the Victoria Region

Saanich Peninsula

Victoria Estate Winery is Saanich Peninsula’s newest and most prestigious winery. Located 20 minutes north of downtown Victoria, this is the pet project of Eric von Krosigk, one of Canada's elite wine makers and the recipient of almost 175 international wine medals. Using grapes from Saanich Peninsula, the Cowichan Valley, the Gulf Islands and the Okanagan Valley, this winery is producing fine wine like chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and merlot.  1445 Benvenuto Avenue.

Chalet Estate Winery is a small farm gate winery producing quality, hand crafted wines with grapes from the Saanich Peninsula and from select vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. These wines are only available at the winery and at a few select local restaurants. Open Thursday to Saturday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. 11195 Chalet Road, North Saanich.

Cowichan Valley

Less than an hour's drive from Victoria, you will find the gently rolling countryside of the South Cowichan Valley. Award-winning wineries and one cidery are found on paved, country roads through the region’s lush hills. Head for the wineries or tour the coastal and countryside communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay. Grab a map of the wine route and enjoy some complimentary tours and tastings. Watch for the annual festival “Wines of the Island” in the first week in September.

Wineries to visit in the area::
Zanatta Winery
Cherry Point Vineyards
Godfrey Brownnell Vineyards
Merridale Cider

Gulf Islands

Plan a day trip to Salt Spring Island and visit two wineries while experiencing the alluring life of this magical hideaway. Well-known as an enclave for gifted artists, musicians and writers, pick up a map of craft and art studios from Visitor Services in Ganges, and spend the day wandering the countryside and visit Salt Spring Vineyards, 151 Lee Road at the 1800 block Fulford Ganges Road Garry Oaks Winery,1880 Fulford-Ganges Road. Saturna Island Vineyards is situated at the side of a soaring sandstone and granite cliff on the edge of the ocean, with a magnificent view to southern Gulf Islands nearby. There are sixty acres of vines under cultivation in four designated vineyards, which makes Saturna Island Vineyards one of the largest estate vineyard and winery operations in the province.
 
Plan your ferry travel for Salt Spring and Saturna Islands check the ferry schedule.

A highlight of touring Saltspring island are the popular Saturday Market and unique shops in Ganges. Besides being the home to the greatest collection of artists in Canada it is also recognized as the "Organic gardening Capital of Canada.  A great way to see all of this is by bus tour, Round Trip Sightseeing offers a great package for the entire day.

Wineries Of the Victoria Region

Saanich Peninsula

Victoria Estate Winery is Saanich Peninsula’s newest and most prestigious winery. Located 20 minutes north of downtown Victoria, this is the pet project of Eric von Krosigk, one of Canada's elite wine makers and the recipient of almost 175 international wine medals. Using grapes from Saanich Peninsula, the Cowichan Valley, the Gulf Islands and the Okanagan Valley, this winery is producing fine wine like chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and merlot.  1445 Benvenuto Avenue.

Chalet Estate Winery is a small farm gate winery producing quality, hand crafted wines with grapes from the Saanich Peninsula and from select vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. These wines are only available at the winery and at a few select local restaurants. Open Thursday to Saturday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. 11195 Chalet Road, North Saanich.

Cowichan Valley

Less than an hour's drive from Victoria, you will find the gently rolling countryside of the South Cowichan Valley. Award-winning wineries and one cidery are found on paved, country roads through the region’s lush hills. Head for the wineries or tour the coastal and countryside communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay. Grab a map of the wine route and enjoy some complimentary tours and tastings. Watch for the annual festival “Wines of the Island” in the first week in September.

Wineries to visit in the area::
Zanatta Winery
Cherry Point Vineyards
Godfrey Brownnell Vineyards
Merridale Cider

Gulf Islands

Plan a day trip to Salt Spring Island and visit two wineries while experiencing the alluring life of this magical hideaway. Well-known as an enclave for gifted artists, musicians and writers, pick up a map of craft and art studios from Visitor Services in Ganges, and spend the day wandering the countryside and visit Salt Spring Vineyards, 151 Lee Road at the 1800 block Fulford Ganges Road Garry Oaks Winery,1880 Fulford-Ganges Road. Saturna Island Vineyards is situated at the side of a soaring sandstone and granite cliff on the edge of the ocean, with a magnificent view to southern Gulf Islands nearby. There are sixty acres of vines under cultivation in four designated vineyards, which makes Saturna Island Vineyards one of the largest estate vineyard and winery operations in the province.
 
Plan your ferry travel for Salt Spring and Saturna Islands check the ferry schedule.

A highlight of touring Saltspring island are the popular Saturday Market and unique shops in Ganges. Besides being the home to the greatest collection of artists in Canada it is also recognized as the "Organic gardening Capital of Canada.  A great way to see all of this is by bus tour, Round Trip Sightseeing offers a great package for the entire day.