Things to Do in Victoria - page 2
Arriving in Victoria by ship is a fantastic introduction to the British Columbian capital city. The cruise ship terminal is at Ogden Point, not far from downtown and Inner Harbour attractions. With growing passenger traffic in recent years, the Victoria Cruise Port is now the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in all of Canada.
Dotted around the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland, are the laid-back Gulf Islands. Come to browse farmers markets, visit artist studios, and experience nature—from woodland trails to pebbled beaches—all of which draw Vancouverites fleeing the city.
Sidney, British Columbia, is often called Sidney-by-the-Sea, and it’s an appropriate name. The town is flanked by Haro Strait, which flows directly into the greater Salish Sea. Most of the town’s attractions are either on the water itself or related to it.
Bird watching, whale watching, kayaking and scuba diving are all popular throughout the entire region. The town is also the gateway community to the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. This small park reserve protects a representative sample of the Strait of Georgia Lowlands, considered one of the most ecologically at risk natural regions in southern Canada.
The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education complex focusing on the Salish Sea ecosystem, is located near the Sidney Pier, while both the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Sidney Channel Important Bird Area are located nearby. Sidney is also the only Canadian port of call for the Washington State ferry system. Ferries run to and from Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.
Victoria BC is known as a wildlife viewing paradise, but no tour is complete without a trip to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is Canada’s first Marine Protected Area and is home to an abundance of marine life including California sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals. Orcas and humpback whales have also been observed from Race Rocks.
The Race Rocks Ecological Reserve was established in 1980 thanks to the work and commitment of teachers and students from Lester B. Pearson College. The college monitors and conducts research in cooperation with other organizations. Thanks to an agreement with BC Parks, it also operates the former Race Rocks light station facilities as an education center.
Three cameras webcast 24 hours a day from Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. One from the top of the lighthouse tower, another from the north side of the island and a third fixed underwater camera is mounted off the docks below the water.
Canadian modernists, Asian art, and works by Emily Carr anchor the impressive collections at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, where holdings go from fiber art to sculpture and oil paintings. The art gallery is housed in the historic Spencer Mansion, whose manicured gardens are a tranquil setting for a Japanese Shinto shrine.