Last updated: 02:18 PM ET, Tue October 08 2019
Stunning Sunset over Victoria Inner Harbour, British Columbia, Canada. (photo via AlbertPego / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Victoria

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Beautiful view of historic parliament building in the citycenter of Victoria with colorful flowers on a sunny day, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (photo via bluejayphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Beautiful view of historic parliament building in the citycenter of Victoria with colorful flowers on a sunny day, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (photo via bluejayphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is a nearly ideal Canadian city in the Pacific Northwest. With kind regards to Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, Victoria places ahead of the rest by getting the best benefits of the region’s climate and beautiful rugged coastline, without all the rain. Victorians see more sun every year than all of their neighbors across the Juan De Fuca strait. Aptly nicknamed the “City of Gardens,” Victoria is famous for gorgeous parks and foliage including many plants rarely found elsewhere in Canada.

Beacon Hill Park, located on 85 acres adjacent to the coast, is emblematic of the Victorian setting, with fields and trails backed up to and weaving through gardens of exotic plants and local wildlife. Butchart Gardens, on the nearby Brentwood Bay, is a world-class floral show garden registered as a National Historic Site of Canada. Beautiful to behold in a misty haze, gleaming after a heavy snowfall, or in full summer bloom, Butchart particularly -- but really, any garden in Victoria -- highlights the best qualities of the Pacific Northwest environment.

Beautiful view of Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (photo via bluejayphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Beautiful view of Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (photo via bluejayphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Cyclists might find a new favorite vacation spot in Victoria as bicycle advocacy and outdoors groups have, over the past few decades, helped to create hundreds of miles of bike trails in and around Victoria. One product of that work, the Galloping Goose Trail, is a 34-mile scenic getaway ride from Victoria to the now abandoned (to say the least; the place is hardly more than a pleasant forest clearing) Leechtown. Even within the city center, enough cycling infrastructure exists for biking to be a reasonable, even advantageous, way to get around. With its gardens and bike paths Victoria reflects the pace of its people -- relaxed. The city can be forgiven a lot because of its stress-relieving tempo. Not that it has much to apologize for.

If Victoria hosts one must-see event every year, Symphony Splash at the Inner Harbor is probably it. On the first Sunday in August every year the Victoria Symphony performs at the harbor in front of nearly 40,000 spectators, making Symphony Splash one of North America’s largest symphony events. Splash is a spectacle of music, cannons and fireworks and makes for a great excuse to get away and relax in one of Canada’s most pleasant places.

Front view of Hatley Castle in Victoria, BC (photo via onurkurtic / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Front view of Hatley Castle in Victoria, BC (photo via onurkurtic / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Victoria is easily accessible by plane through Victoria International Airport, though usually by way of connection in Toronto, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay area or Vancouver. From closer in, the city is only a ferry ride away from Seattle or Port Angeles, Wash., and driving in the area is no nightmare. VIArail in Canada is the only way into and out of Victoria by train.

The climate in Victoria is temperate. The Pacific Northwest location should have travelers prepared for rain, but sunny days are not uncommon. Average temperatures during the summer months are in the mid 70s° F. and stay above freezing during the winters with extremes being rare.