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Victoria

Victoria, western Canada’s second oldest city, is the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Le-KWUNG-en) People and is the area’s original language. They called this area ‘Camosack’ which means ‘Rush of Water’. The city, as we know it today was originally founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1843 as a trading post and a fort. The quiet village of ‘Fort Victoria’ was forever transformed at the onset of the gold rush. Parcels of land that were difficult to sell at $25 were now being snatched up for $3,000. As Victoria continued to grow, it quickly became a city of government, tourism, and those looking for a quiet, yet bustling urban lifestyle in their retirement years. It was also, and still is, Canada’s western naval base. Ship building, machine manufacturing industries, and forest products grew quickly and still continue to thrive along with marine and agricultural research.
The Island and mainland were politically united in 1866 and Victoria became the capital of the new united colony causing much debate and friction among both residents and politicians in Vancouver. Victoria became the provincial capital in 1871 when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation.

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Victoria scenery

Real Estate in Victoria
Strong and continued growth in the Victoria housing market owes its success to such things as:
• Low interests rates
• Positive job growth
• Successful and innovative business practices
The Capital Regional District of Victoria includes as many as 13 separate municipalities each with its own rules, regulations and by-laws. The specific laws of purchasing a home in the Victoria real estate market can be affected by which municipality the property is located in.
The condominium real estate market in Victoria is increasingly popular for both young families and those looking for a retirement home. Waterfront real estate in the city offers potential buyers an opportunity to live close to all amenities as well as a wide range of entertainment and cultural attractions.
The year round temperate climate of Victoria makes the area ideal for those seeking ocean front homes and cottages. It affords buyers with the opportunity to live a slower pace of life and still be close to a thriving business community. From townhouse complexes to single family homes as well as luxury rental units, the Victoria real estate housing market is a financially attractive investment in a sound business environment.
A growing number of families continue to look to purchase Victoria real estate in order for the many public and higher education opportunities the city offers.
Victoria Attractions and Resources
With its large number of parks and lush gardens, Victoria is commonly referred to as ‘The Garden City’ of southern Vancouver Island. The area’s temperate climate offer lush, year round floral displays, world class golfing along with an abundance of both indoor outdoor activities for the whole family. Victoria hosts a number of summer festivals and special events all year long in their numerous family friendly parks as well as indoor venues.

The city is also known for the quality of its private and public schools and universities. Victoria is teeming with arts and cultural activities for all ages, making it both a fun and educational experience. All amenities that a family would ever need are easily accessed within the city limits, such as:
• Hospitals
• Doctors and specialists
• Pharmacies
• Legal offices
• Shopping, and more
Several religious institutions of various faiths are also to be found in Victoria creating a vibrant mosaic of cultural and community activities. From spas to whale watching to wine tasting and amazing culinary experiences, Victoria is a city that engages residents in all that southern Vancouver Island has to offer.

Local Resources and Information

Area Attractions

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is a stunning 13th century Gothic style Cathedral designed in late 1800s is a true beauty of Victoria BC. Located just steps away from the downtown epicenter at the very end of Courtney Street, bounded by Quadra Street, Rockland Avenue, Vancouver Street and Burdett Avenue. The Christ Church Cathedral with its gothic style architecture is open to the public and attracts not only tourist with its impressive stone arches and beautiful stained glass which lights up the interior of the building. Christ Church Cathedral School is based on Anglican Christian faith values and has students from various ethnic and religious upbringings, offers the public the ability of organize events, which could be Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals and others. With a congregation of over 400 parishioners combined, Christ Church Cathedral is able to have various ministries and programs, aims at serve the surrounding city and being a welcoming place for spiritual growth. If you have never experienced the majesty of such a place, it is worth a trip.

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Church of Our Lord

The Church of Our Lord is a historic Carpenter Gothic style church in Victoria BC, built in 1876 and located in heart of the beautiful downtown area, surrounded by gorgeous St. Ann`s Academy garden and modern high-risens. The Church of Our Lord (also known as COOL) is a National Historic Site of Canada and has been affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church since its inception. Designed by architect John Teague, today the building stands as a significant historical landmarks in BC and one of the few remaining structures with its features and style. Church it features stunning stained glass windows, a vaulted ceiling, dark wooden accents and an appleton pipe organ dating back to 1827.

The Church`s vision is to reach and server their community, thus friendly atmosphere reigns here all the time and service usually start with a meal time together. Well-known for its wedding services, they are always ready to organize an exceptional wedding for you.

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City of Victoria Municipal Hall

Victoria City Hall is the city hall for Victoria City, located right downtown on Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue. The place, where pristine history remains in Second Empire Style design dwelling with modern representation of the City of business owners, investors and developers. Secured by the remarkable Inner Harbour, downtown Victoria is the economic heart of the region and Vancouver Island. Scenic, featuring waterfront, amiable shops and restaurants, spectacular legacy structures and in a proximity to megapolices Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, USA with its many marine and air lines, make Victoria an apparent centre for business development and economic activities, while still offering the quality of life that a smaller city can provide and keeps the heritage of the culture.

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Conservatory of Music

The Victoria Conservatory of Music is a professional music school which was established in 1964. It welcomes all ages to learn the art of music in its architecturally unique building. Being known as the largest registered nonprofit institution in Victoria, the Conservatory is certainly located in the city in a splendid heritage building at 900 Johnson Street.The Victoria Conservatory of Music building contains three performance venues and teaching studios, this includes the 800-seat Alix Goolden Performance Hall. The Victoria Conservatory of Music inspires both the love of music and performance arts, offering musical lessons in various instruments, vocal and more; also offers two-year teacher-training program in collaboration with Camosun College. The conservatory has had several well-known teachers and students from all over the world on its faculty and now welcomes pupils of all ages and levels, from those who take classes simply for enjoyment to those really want to learn music.

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Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle known as the “bonanza castle” is located in Victoria, BC and is a National Historic Site of Canada due to its Victorian-era Scottish Baronial style. It has four levels which contain attractive stained glass windows, detailed woodwork and lavish furnishing, as well as well-preserved clothes and accessories help you dive into that age. It is a massive building with a grand staircase, but no elevators, so be prepared to work out. From its highest point which is 87 steps up, you can see amazing view of the ocean and Island. From the late 1800s till date the Craigdarroch Castles has gained a lot of history to be talked about and got converted into a museum. This is an awesome structure with fascinating history, where self-guided tour are provided in various languages. Craigdarroch Castle is a definitively Victorian experience!

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Crystal Pool

The Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre is Victoria’s main recreation hub located just steps away from downtown on 2275 Quadra Street Victoria BC. Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre offers a variety of recreation programs, from a fully equipped weight room and cardio areas to a pool area which comes with a sauna, steam room, hot tub, two children’s pools and 160 foot waterslide. At Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre has programs for everyone. It`s a great place to go with your family on hot day, or just for a swim, great atmosphere, fun but professional staff who are very welcoming.

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Fisherman`s Wharf

Fisherman`s Wharf is one of the most popular marine destination with a distinct flavor. This hidden treasure waiting to be discovered with floating homes which are an absolutely amazing experience, located just at the corner of the Inner Harhour at the beginning of Dallas Street. Close to downtown, this mysteriously beautiful floating village is hidden from a first view of passer-by, where visitors will enjoy beautiful floating homes, food kiosks where you can buy fresh crabs at a good price! Sushi, Mexican food, seafood or ice cream all this are available at the Fisherman`s Wharf. The famous Canadian fish and chips is available right there at the Wharf. You can also buy seafood fresh off the boat from commercial fishing vessels, cling local and international souvenirs purchased from unique shops or simply take eco-tour adventures on kayaks and whale watching tours.

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Government House

Government House of British Columbia informally known as the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor. Government House is located in the heart of the Rockland neighborhood in Victoria, BC, on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. The Government House property owned by the “Queen in Right of BC” and is a place where members of the Canadian Royal family and other foreign dignitaries are hosted as well as special events are held. Government House outspread on 14.6 hectares (36 acres), area is also open to the public from dawn to dusk and is often used by the community. You can observe artists are creating their unique pieces of art all around the area, as well as volunteers taking a good care of gardens and surrounding areas. The grounds are simply breath-taking with incredible views seeing the sunshine and one of the best places in Victoria for early spring flowers!

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Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia offers people maritime culture and the history of the Pacific Northwest through various means such as exhibits and educational and community-based programs. The Maritime Museum contains about 35,000 artefacts, which are from periods of 1775 to the present and also offers public outreach such as educational programming and talks, and a reference room which can be used by researchers, and has volunteers and staff who are always willing to assist. The Maritime Museum of BC offers services such as a gift shop, tour and programs. The Gift Shop has a wide variety of nautical-themed gifts, including model ships, caps, clothing and more! In 1963 the Museum moved from its location in Esquimalt to Bastion Square in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, and then moved again in 2015 to a Society office at Nootka Court, close to the Victoria downtown inner Harbour. Now you can enjoy a visit to the museum as well as other attractions within walking distance.

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Odeon Cinema

Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinema is one of the modern multiplex cinema chains, screening the latest films. We are lucky to have the Cinema here in the downtown of Victoria, BC, located in the heart of the city on 780 Yates Street. Being conveniently location is just steps away from many other local attractions. Cineplex Odeon gives more of the classic style as soon as you walk up to it. Always showing great new movies and independent releases. Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinema is a great downtown movie center equipped with seven screens and three 3-D screens. Admission rates starts from $10 for adults and $9 for children, depending on the seats and the movie. For your convenience, Cineplex offers you the opportunity to purchase tickets on your smart phone using their app. Additionally, the cinema is absolutely accessible and toilets are in basement with elevator access.

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Ogden Point Breakwater

The Ogden Point Breakwater is a major tourist attraction in Victoria, BC. The Ogden Point is the busiest cruise ship port in Canada, with a fascinating a half mile walk starting at the Ogden Point Café and ending at the lighthouse. It presents the opportunity for people to see the harbor, from ferries arriving or departing the harbor to cruise ships, sail boats as well as float planes. On your way to Ogden Point Breaker you can walk along Dallas Road and enjoy the waterfront. The wall inside on the breakwater has a huge art which was recently done by Na’ Tsa’ math. The art signifies the history between the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. You can walk, hobble, or ride in a chair, this walk is a must! As the sea air refreshes your spirit, all your cares slip away! Go all the way to the beacon or part way, walk up top on the sidewalk or down on the breakwater steps, you will never forget this stroll.

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St Andrew's Cathedral

St. Andrew’s Cathedral is one stunning Roman Catholic Cathedral located right downtown on View Street built in the High Victorian Gothic style, with well-kept historical artwork of 19th century and has been a National Historic Site since 1990. The Cathedral displays architecture of Quebec Style with its asymmetrical towers; a unique interior captures the attention of visitors is the altar which contains two native bentwood boxes that rotates according to the church calendar and represents different seasons. An impressive collection of stained glass windows gathered in various styles characterized to 19th century. The Cathedral often organizes pipe organ concerts for those who would like to plunge into the deepness of church music. Apart from its regular church activities, the Church is highly involved in helping the community; their kitchen feeds breakfast to over 300 people a day, five days a week.

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St. Ann`s Academy

St. Ann’s Academy is a gem of 1858, which was initial opened as a Catholic girls’ school.  Over the years it has gone through renovation and restoration by BC and is seen today by the public as a national heritage and historic site. St. Ann’s Academy with its Victoria’s Quebec Colonial style architecture is open to the public to tour the grounds. Admission to the tour is by donation. You are free to drop in any time during regular operating hours for the tour. Today, the Chapel remains a distinctive consecrated place, however there are no regular services as the Chapel has no congregation. At St. Ann’s Academy gift shop you will find a wide variety of original souvenirs and other items for rent or purchase such as bridal items. From a distance the St. Ann’s Academy monumental brick-clad building welcomes you, take a walk along the pavement, through the wrought-iron gate and up the staircase and enjoy the beauty of the well-maintained gardens and landscape.

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The Art Gallery

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is a perfect place for those who love art, this is a place to visit and plunge into the beauty of Arts from various parts of the world. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located in a residential area just outside of downtown Victoria and is known as a landmark institution in Victoria. When it first opened in 1951, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibited art in the historic 1889 mansion that is now adjacent to its seven modern galleries. With almost 20,000 works of art, the Art Gallery has the largest public collection in BC and is a vibrant and active part of Victoria’s artist community. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria offers tours which are available at a fee. It is a wonderful destination for art lovers looking for interesting Asian pieces and also Emily Carr paintings. Don’t miss the dollhouse on the 1st floor- it is quite impressive!

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The Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour is the birthplace of Victoria City. It`s situated in the heart of downtown Victoria and runs along the waterfront, parallel to Wharf Street between Laurel Point and Songhees Point in Victoria West. Passersby will find so many destinations and attractions – and the beauty and magnificence of the surrounding nature makes a walk along the waterfront an unforgettable experience. The harbour is also home to the local seaplane airport which provides a unique opportunity to take air tours to explore the Greater Victoria area.  It also provides access to an international ferry terminal with connections to the USA.  You’ll love the little taxi boats which offer visitors a quick introduction of the harbour, nearby coastline and local waterfront businesses.

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The Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre is a beautiful brick-faced theatre building satiated in on an urban lot in downtown Victoria with its original Rococo/Renaissance Revival style décor. Art-lovers can simply bask in the intimacy, ambiance and acoustics and enjoy operas or concerts. Occasionally, the Royal Theatre hosts fundraiser concerts. The building has a pleasant throwback to the old world luxury, with the small but traditional stage and surrounds with a seating capacity of 1400. Depending on your preference, there is seating available very close to the stage for an up close and personal experience or further back distance from the stage to get a fuller view of the performance or up in the boxes for privacy at a higher price point. It`s a simply perfect place for a “cultural” date.

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Vancouver Island Brewery

Vancouver Island Brewery is located on 2330 Government Street, Victoria, BC, with over 30 years in the brewing industry featuring a wide variety of beers and welcomes its visitors for a tour with a beer tasting. Vancouver Island Brewery was the first craft brewery on Vancouver Island. Starting in Central Saanich in with 6 employees handcrafting a small selection of draught for customers on Vancouver Island, the Vancouver Island Brewery has grown to over 40 employees today. Over the years the Brewery has won numerous international awards, and stands today are one of BC’s largest independent microbreweries. If you ever wondered how Beer is made, a tour of the Vancouver Island Brewery is available and have been known to be one of the best with friendly tour guides that provide very useful information.

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Victoria Conference Centre

Victoria Conference Centre is the second largest conference center in BC. This is an exceptional place for your business meetings, exhibitions and various events, not only for the local business community, but also delegates and top-notch event planners and organizers; a vivacious professional community surrounded by the most beautiful nature! Entering the conference center, you will plunge into a blend of traditional West Coast culture, modern sophistication and fine art environment, created as a meeting space. Here, you will find everything you need when you are away from your office, and the welcoming staff is always ready to assist with your event-related needs. Often Victoria Conference Centre is also used for non-business occasions Gala Dinners, Weddings and Graduations.

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Victoria Gymnastics

Victoria Gymnastics is a family oriented business with a mission to provide students with a foundation in gymnastics, located northern from the epicenter of downtown Victoria, delivers quality gymnastic instructions, with maximum activity level, in a well-structured, fun and safe environment. Their objective is to provide students with a foundation of gymnastics that will prove benefit them for the rest of their lives. Victoria Gymnastics is also about fun! You can have an action-packed birthday party for your child. The plan for the day includes 1 hour gymnastics with the children, subsequently 45mins in the party room for a fun filled birthday celebration for your child. Focused on learning body control, balance, and some stamina, it’s a bit like a giant school gym, but with lots of equipment, and nice instructors!

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BC Museum

Royal British Columbia Museum is one of Canada`s most ethnic treasures since 1886, where human and natural histories of British Columbia have been preserved through centuries. The Royal BC Museum’s collections comprises of millions of objects, including natural history specimens, artifacts, and archival records. Human History represents collections of marvelous Archaeology; First Nations history with the award-winning “Our Living Languages” exhibition which has 34 Indigenous languages; Ethnology collection has ceremonial and utilitarian objects, tools and regalia, creations for traditional use and for the tourist market; Modern History contains collection of objects including objects relating to British Columbia’s ethnic history, history of manufacturing and business. The marvelous Natural History collections widely represents various flora and fauna. The BC Archives is where collected and preserved photographs, documents, historical records are exhibited, and these archives provide access to valuable files for researchers.

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Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is a crown jewel, beautifully landscaped and detailed with bridges and ponds, fountains and gardens. It is home to numerous species of birds and wildlife. This park is located just in the epicenter of Victoria but at the same time hidden from the business of the city and secluded within the beauty of its nature just across from the waterfront, bounded by Trans-Canada Hwy, Dallas Street, Cook Street, Park Boulevard, Heywood Avenue and Southgate Street. This park provides recreation opportunities for all ages and tastes: sports fields and tennis court, miniature golfing and cricket pitch, lawn bowling, playgrounds and water park. What a fun place for kids and adults to spend a nice summer day! Children’s’ farm is the most popular feature of the park that brings joy of a farm experience to kids and adults. Walking trails of the park are 100% wheelchair accessible and link with neighborhood streets that lead down into the busy setting of commercial activity.

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Central Library

Central branch of Greater Victoria Public Library is open to the public Victoria, BC and the surrounding areas. The central branch of the library conveniently occupies the whole block surrounded by Broughton Street, Blanchard Street, Courtney Street and Douglas Street, where people have an access to all possible services such as, books, printing, Internet and Wi-Fi, etc. Additionally, to that, user can borrow CDs and DVDs with movies and games for free! Even more, with Library to Go site, you can download e-books and audios directly to your phone for free. The Central Library is well located so that if you get tired of studying or working you can take a walk along the downtown street to the Inner Harbour, go Shopping or just take a coffee break, as there are so many shops are around.

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Chinatown

Chinatown in Victoria is the oldest major gateway to the past and present of Chinese culture in Canada! Just a few blocks from Inner Harbour and minutes away from other downtown sites of interests lies the spectacular Chinatown with little sweet shops, cafes and restaurants, famous alleys and hidden courtyards! The main entrance of Chinatown greets with the lovely Gate of Harmonious Interest at the corner of Fisqard and Government Street. The alleys in Chinatown populated with little businesses of worthy Chinese food and Asian goods, and over a century old Chinese Public School till today offers Chinese languages, culture and art classes for children and adults.

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Miniature World

The Miniature World provides a unique opportunity to experience the world from a tiny perspective. The Wonderful World of Smallness is one of the most popular visitor attractions. Experience a fairytale world by sudden transformation into a Gulliver-like giant, in fact return to childhood dreams and historical moments just like that all in one place! The fab Miniature World offers the opportunity to view over 85 exciting miniature dioramas and displays, as well as a unique opportunity for a Virtual Field Trip. By simply downloading and running the Isle of Minutia software on your computer you get a whole 3D presentation of what the Miniature world looks like, starting right from the main entrance on Humboldt Street!

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Parliament

The Parliament Building is truly a landmark in Victoria, British Columbia.  Which are the famous buildings where Legislative Assembly or Legislature meets, located just across Belleville Street from the Inner Harbour. British Columbia Parliament Building was built in the 19th century, with a breathtaking beauty of neo-baroque architecture styles, surrounded with statues of historic persons and officially opened in 1898. The building is open to the public all year around and welcomes everyone to take a free guided tour around the facility. One of the main attractions of the building is more than 100 stained-glass windows and some of them 110 years old! Fascinating beauty! Visitors are welcome to have a breakfast or lunch at the Parliamentary Dining Room; use Legislative Library and stop by the Parliamentary Gift Shop on the way out. The Grounds of the Parliament Building is often used for various public events such a festival, bands and choir performances, photo sessions and more.

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The Bay Centre

The Bay Centre is downtown`s premier shopping destination since 1989! The Shopping Centre bounded by DouglasGovernment, Fort, and View streets. Over 90 shops at the centre, where you will find unique services, well-known brands, diverse dining options and local shops are located on almost 30K square meters of retail space. Not too big and not too small, just the right size not to get lost and be able to find what you need: books, children’s stores, Hudson’s bay, electronic, mobile providers, accessories, footwear, health services, houseware, ladies’ and men’s fashion store and many more! On the fourth floor food court, you can enjoy a nice meal and try different cousins: Asian, European, American and more; or keep yourself healthy by exercising at the fitness center. The café, located on the fifth floor of The Bay Centre opens the best view of the Victoria Inner Harbour in the city.

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Victoria Bug Zoo

Victoria Bug Zoo provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the astonishing world of insects, arachnids, and other many-legged creatures! A must-see mini zoo offers an exceptional chance to see live tropical bugs from around the world. The Bug Zoo welcomes visitor and is located right in downtown of Victoria, BC next to the Fairmont Empress Hotel. It’s an unforgettable experience handling different varieties of species! Just imagine you are holding a tickling millipede or hairy tarantula that stretches its length of your forearm! Knowledgeable tour guides will introduce you to the world of bugs and ensure your safety while there. On your way out the gift shop offers unique gifts for the whole family: local art, educational books, insect collecting gear, t-shirts, edible bugs, and much more.

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Hotels & Accomodation

Ocean Pointe Resort

Located on Victoria’s Inner Harbour on southern Vancouver Island, Ocean Pointe Resort is truly a full-service venue. With amenities designed to pamper couples on a romantic get-away, fun activities for children, a waterfront restaurant and professional catering for weddings, meetings and other special events, all your vacation or business needs will be attended to. With a vibrant downtown nightlife, unique shops, museums, outdoor adventures, 4 nearby golf courses, and so much more, Ocean Pointe Resort is the place you will want to keep coming back to when visiting this picturesque provincial capital.

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Empress Hotel

The renowned Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of the oldest historical and architectural significances of Victoria, built in early 20th-century, the chateau-style luxurious hotel welcomes visitors all year around. The Hotel carries not only economic value, but being one of the oldest structure downtown of Victoria, the Fairmont Empress Hotel has become an iconic symbol of the city, located just across the street from Inner Harbour on 721 Government Street. The Fairmont Empress Hotel is located in the epicenter of all the activities and just a few steps away from other destinations and attractions. The Hotel is well known for its classic Victorian Afternoon Tea, which every visitor and tourist wants to experience once in Victoria, as The Empress hosted kings, queens, movie starsu and many famous people in the past. This Hotel has received Travel + Leisure Best Hotels of the World award and recognized on Conde Nast Gold List; the hotel also became Victoria’s first Five Green Key hotel.

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Hotel Grand Pacific

The Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria on southern Vancouver Island is more than just a nice place to stay or attend a wedding or conference, it is the definition of luxury and the true meaning of what it is to be pampered. They offer four dining options, local sightseeing tours, a spa, pet friendly rooms and amenities and a concierge service that meets all your needs. The Hotel Grand Pacific is one of only a few hotels located along the Inner Harbour and just minutes from unique shops, restaurants, and a lively night life. Whether you are planning a romantic get-away or a family vacation to British Columbia’s picturesque provincial capital the Hotel Grand Pacific will be an experience that will be long remembered.

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