Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Victoria Island, a bird's eye view of paradise

This is the picture postcard capital of British Columbia that still retains its Victorian charm with the Fairmont Empress and its long standing tradition of afternoon tea. Take a floatplane or ride across on the BC Ferries and watch as an incredible old world charm unravels before your eyes.
Internationally renowned for warm hospitality, gorgeous scenery, and exceptional activities and attractions, the Vancouver Island region is acclaimed by travellers from around the world. So much so, in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler magazine's reader survey, Vancouver Island was named the #1 island in Canada!

Nestled along Canada's West Coast, the Vancouver Island region is a paradise of tranquil islands, pristine coastlines, and emerald forests, where the ever-present Pacific Ocean shapes the scenery and softens the climate. Lush old-growth rainforests where the trees form a cool canopy over hiking trails, sparkling wave-swept beaches that stretch for miles, majestic mountains with glittering glaciers and snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear rivers teeming with fish, sun-dappled lakes surrounded by parkland, alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, rolling vistas of farmland and vineyards — it's one awe-inspiring view after another. And whether you are strolling on a beach or cycling a country lane, watching an artist at work or enjoying a seafood feast on a sunny patio, you feel the magic of being on an island surrounded by the magnificence of the Pacific Ocean.

Geographically, the Vancouver Island region is situated less than 20 minutes by air from Vancouver and Seattle. The region encompasses Vancouver Island itself, a huge island measuring 32,261 square kilometres (19,356 square miles) and the location of Victoria, British Columbia's capital city; hundreds of islands and islets, among which are the Gulf Islands and the Discovery Islands; and a sizable portion of the mainland's fjord-like coastline.

Thanks to the warming currents of the Pacific Ocean and the protection of the Coast Mountains, the Vancouver Island region has the mildest climate in Canada, making any time of year an ideal time to visit.

The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria boasts of many historic buildings and some of the most fascinating museums in Western Canada. The city benefits from one of Canada's mildest climates, which allows its residents to pursue outdoor pleasures all year round.

Victoria enjoys some of the country's most exhilarating scenery: there's an ocean or mountain vista around every corner, while the city's flower gardens are famous the world over. Whether your taste runs to golfing, hiking, biking and fishing or you're more the shopping, dining and theatre type, there are no end of delights for you and your family in Victoria – the city was included in the Top 10 Family Vacations in Canada in the TripAdvisor 2011 Travelers' Choice awards.

Established in 1843 by James Douglas as a fort for the Hudson's Bay Company, Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens, and tearooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan centre with a lively entertainment scene and a wonderful array of attractions.

Highlights of the city include the Inner Harbour, The Butchart Gardens, the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Galloping Goose Trail and the most exciting; whale watching!

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