Victoria, British Columbia, nestled on Vancouver Island, is a city that blends the charm of a bygone era with the vitality of a modern metropolis.
Beyond its iconic landmarks like the Inner Harbour and the Royal BC Museum, Victoria boasts a treasure trove of fascinating facts and lesser-known tidbits.
Here are 29 fun facts about Victoria that are sure to pique your interest:
- Victoria was established in 1843, a full 43 years before the birth of Vancouver.
- The waters encircling Victoria are home to five species of whales.
- The Empress Hotel serves more than 500,000 cups of tea annually.
- The city boasts four “sister cities”: Napier, New Zealand; Morioka, Japan; Suzhou, China; and Khabarovsk, Russia.
- Victoria’s Chinatown is not only the oldest in Canada but also the second oldest in all of North America, with San Francisco claiming the first spot.
- Cruise ships bring approximately 800,000 visitors to the city each year.
- The city itself was founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
- Victoria serves as the Western Terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway.
- The hottest day ever recorded in Victoria was on June 28th, 2021, with temperatures reaching 39.8°C at Victoria’s Gonzales Point, while the coldest day was on December 29th, 1968, when temperatures plummeted to -15.6°C.
- Butchart Gardens attracts over 1,000,000 visitors annually.
- Victoria is also home to Ross Bay Cemetery, one of the oldest Victorian cemeteries in Canada.
- With over 100 parks and open spaces, Victoria offers ample opportunities for exploration.
- The iconic “Empress Hotel” first welcomed guests in 1908 and graces the picturesque Inner-Harbour.
- The Parliament Building is adorned with more than 3,000 lights, illuminating it every night.
- Victoria earned recognition from National Geographic as one of the premier cold-water diving destinations worldwide, lauded for its water clarity and marine diversity.
- In 1858, Victoria experienced a population surge, with numbers skyrocketing from just a few hundred to nearly 30,000 in a matter of weeks, courtesy of the Gold Rush.
- For those who appreciate history, Craigdarroch Castle, one of the city’s most immaculately preserved historic edifices, boasts a staggering 87 steps leading from the main floor to its tower.
- The famous Canadian artist Emily Carr was born in Victoria, and her legacy is celebrated at the Royal BC Museum.
- The Lekwungen people, part of the Coast Salish First Nations, have lived in the Victoria area for thousands of years. Their rich culture is celebrated throughout the city.
- Victoria consistently ranks as one of Canada’s most bike-friendly cities, with dedicated bike lanes and scenic cycling routes.
- Victoria has a thriving coffee culture, with numerous local roasters and cozy cafes serving artisanal brews. See this list for an example.
- Larger than New York’s Central Park relative to city size, Beacon Hill Park offers a serene oasis in the heart of Victoria, complete with peacocks and a petting zoo.
- Speaking of Beacon Hill Park, it also home to the second largest totem pole in the world standing at a height of 127 feet—you can also admire indigenous art and culture through the city’s collection of totem poles.
- Vancouver Island, including Victoria, is among the world’s top destinations for whale watching, with orcas, humpback whales, and gray whales regularly spotted.
- Victoria has been a backdrop for numerous film and TV productions, with its scenic beauty often doubling as other locations.
- Bastion Square is said to be one of the most haunted places in Canada, making it a hotspot for ghost tours.
- In the summer, you can find over 1,600 hanging flower baskets adorning Victoria’s streets.
- Victoria has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries serving up a diverse array of brews.
- Victoria is home to a burgeoning tech sector, earning it the nickname “Tectoria.”
Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, these 29 fun facts about Victoria are a testament to the city’s unique charm and endless possibilities for exploration.
Now, venture forth and share your newfound knowledge!