Gorgeous Government House of British Columbia known as the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor, located close to downtown in the heart of the Rockland neighborhood in Victoria, BC, on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. On like many other Government Houses, the Government House of BC is relatively modest and has a style resembling a private residence.
Attractions around the Government House of British Columbia:
Government House is located just within a couple of kilometers from downtown of Victoria, which is about 30 minutes’ walk. Nevertheless, it’s located within just a few minutes’ walk to other popular destinations, such as:
- Craigdarroch Castle – to plunge into Victorian-era by admiring historic, Scottish Baronial mansion of late 1800s;
- Art Gallery of Greater Victoria – to learn and enjoy about local art, usually presented by Emily Carr collections and various exhibitions of Asian collections.
About the Government House of British Columbia:
The Government House of BC is a Crown 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 in the Government House, some of which include:
- Bestowing of provincial awards
- Inductions into the Order of British Columbia,
- Luncheons, dinners and receptions, and
- Speaking engagements.
At present Government House of BC has four floors which includes the basement and has beautiful views from the inside out, some of the land marks that can be seen from inside. The Mansion includes following rooms:
- Dining Room
- Drawing Room
- Maclure Room
- Rattenbury Room
Can you imagine that sitting on your laptop, just from where you are, you can take a virtual tour of the Government House and see all the rooms!
Government House outspread on 14.6 hectares (36 acres), area is also open to the public 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!
The garden is divided into several different regions base of the classification if the plant, the different gardens including:
- Native Plant Garden
- Cut Flower Garden – hostas, hellebores, primulas and other shade-loving plants.
- Dorothy Lam Orchard – includes apples, plum and quince trees and each year the fruit is used by the Government House Kitchen wherever possible.
- Duck Pond – is surrounded by bamboo and features a laburnum tree.
- English Country Garden – colorful display of flowering bulbs.
- Herb Garden
- Iris Garden
- Lewisia Wall – stone wall adjacent to the Cary Castle Mews is the ideal habitat for rare and sensitive lewisia species.
- Pearkes Peak – several Garry Oaks, ornamental shrubs, native plants, and bulbs.
- Rock and Alpine Garden
- Rockland Border I – tropical species, such as ginger and Birds of paradise, as well as ornamental grasses and flowering bulbs, creating color and texture throughout the year.
- Terrace Gardens – feature an array of drought and wind tolerant plants.
- Rose Gardens
- Winter Garden
- Woodlands – Garry oak ecosystem
Grounds are so waste and include so many gardens, that you can easily wander around the whole day or even get lost, if not paying attention to directions and maps. But you can easily navigate, using the interactive map of the gardens.
The Government House is full of other places to see! The Cary Castle Mews is a place on its own with:
- carriage house,
- root cellar,
- wash house
- poultry house.
There you enjoy lunch, tea, pastries and other refreshments at the Tea House. Visit the Interpretive Centre to get information about the history of the Estate of the Lieutenant Governor, and stop by the Costume Museum, where presented a variety of historical pieces.
History the Government House of British Columbia
Built in 1859, the first official residence was the Cary Castle which was engulfed by fire in 1899. Later on, in 1903 the second Government House was opened, designed by architects Francis Rattenbury and Samuel Maclure, and then again the building we consumed by fire in 1957 and in December of the same year construction of a third Government House commenced, which was to match the previous building. The third Government House of BC as it is today was opened in 1959.
Government House Tours
You have a chance to take a tour of the Government House – home of all British Columbians only one Saturday a month, starting promptly at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Admission is free, and volunteer tour guides outline the role and responsibilities of the Lieutenant Governor and share the fascinating history of this National Historic Site.
Travelling to the Government House
If you would like to drive to Government House, there is free parking is available onsite.
If you prefer to use the bus, please check the BC Transit schedule here.