Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Named after Queen Victoria, it was settled (in this incarnation, at least) by the British in 1841, making it one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. It’s host to famous historic landmarks, including the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel. The city’s Chinatown district is the second oldest in North America, after San Francisco’s.
Side note: I’m a lifelong tea drinker (no coffee!) … and the best tea I have ever … EVER … bought, was here. I still have the lids in a futile attempt to find it once again. We also saw an actor ducking around quietly in Victoria’s Chinatown district — of course I recognized him, being the sci-fi spaz that I am, because he was in Ghost Ship.
The region’s Coast Salish First Nations peoples established communities in the area long before non-native settlement — several thousand years earlier. These large populations, sadly, were severely diminished by “extermination, enslavement, insulation, amalgamation” (as outlined in 1841 as a solution in “dealing” with the Native Peoples) — and ultimately, widespread death (an extreme understatement) with the smallpox epidemic. It’s a story that must be remembered and closely studied by all (in North America at the very least). Victoria however, continues to have a sizable First Nations presence, composed of peoples from all over Vancouver Island and beyond.
Known as the “City of Gardens” for its flowering gardens both within and on the outskirts of the city (the amazing Butchart Gardens is just a bit north), Victoria’s rich history, temperate climate, and beautiful scenery continues to attract visitors the world over. Besides finding an amazing historic B&B (what a magnificent home it was in its heyday) in our typical last-minute style, some of my favorite sites? The Royal BC Museum; Inner Harbor; Beacon Hill Park; Chinatown; Fisherman’s Wharf — and all of the city’s architecture. Really great food, too — obviously lots of seafood, but also lots of great greenery for the vegetarians.
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