Category   BC Maps: Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC
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Visit the Sooke River Page Visit the Esquimalt Town Page Visit the View Royal Town Page Visit the Brentwood Bay Town Page Camping Facilities at McDonald Park - no reservations Camping Facilities at Bamberton Provincial Park - reservation service Visit the Mill Bay/Brentwood Bay Ferry Route Page Visit the Sidney/Anacortes Ferry Route Page Visit the Sidney Spit Ferry Page Visit the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal Page Visit the Albert Head Lagoon Park Page Visit the Transportation by Rail Page Visit the Pake Page for Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Visit the Victoria International Airport Website Visit the Sidney Spit Marine Park Visit the D'Arcy Island Marine Park Page Visit the Goldstream Provincial Park Page - camping reservation service Visit the Sooke Mountain Park Page Visit the East Sooke Park Page Visit the Roche Cove Park Page Visit the Discover Island Marine Park Page Visit the Thetis Lake Park Page Visit the Elk/Beaver Lake Park Page Visit the Mount Work Park Page Visit the Gowlland Tod Park Page Visit the John Dean Park Page Visit the Koksilah River Park Page Visit the Town Page for Shawnigan Lake Visit the Page on the Malahat Visit the Mill Bay Town Page Visit the Page on North Saanich Visit the Sidney Town Page Visit the Central Saanich Page Visit the Oak Bay Page Visit the Page on Saanich Visit the Victoria Town Page Visit the Sooke Town Page Visit the Metchosin Town Page Visit the Langford Town Page Visit the Colwood town Page Visit the Victoria to Port Angeles Ferry Information PageVisit the Victoria to Seattle Ferry Information PageVisit the Highlands Town Page

This Greater Victoria Map contains many links to our pages on Towns, Parks, Lakes, Ferry Terminals and Ferry Routes. Click on a live area of the map to link to the desired page.

Almost half of Vancouver Island's population of 700,000 lives within the Capital region district (CRD) around Victoria at the southern end of Vancouver Island. Victoria has a temperate climate with mild, damp winters and relatively dry and mild summers. It is sometimes classified as a cool-summer Mediterranean climate due to its usually dry summers. There is a rich diversity of landscapes within the region, ranging from the Douglas fir forests along the coast to the drier, exposed conditions of the higher, rockier elevations that support arbutus (madrona) and Garry oak forests. Flowers bloom year-round in Victoria, which makes exploring the outdoors here enjoyable in any season. Ferns and lichens colour the forest floor throughout the winter; come spring, an explosion of trilliums and calypso orchids heightens the effect before giving way to bushes lush with huckleberry, salmonberry, trailing blackberry, salal, and Oregon grape. Such profusion is a reward for migrating birds that make the Victoria region a semi-annual stop-over point. Bald eagles, ospreys, turkey vultures, herons, shorebirds, belted kingfishers, dippers, winter wrens, and many species of migratory ducks, geese, and swans flock to the delightfully benign environment.

Victorians display their love for the natural world by cultivating flower gardens at every turn. As you'd imagine in a region where a large urban population interacts with such a delightful natural tableau, a vast network of walking, hiking and biking routes leads through the many parks with which the city is blessed. In fact, the very first property to be donated to the provincial park system - John Dean Provincial Park - is located in the middle of Greater Victoria's Saanich Peninsula. Throughout the 1990s, a string of new parks have been set aside in the CRD, including the almost 3,000-acre Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and the 60-km Galloping Goose commuter walk and cycle trail.

Although the mountainscape on the southern end of Vancouver Island is not as rugged as the North Shore mountains that rise above Vancouver, this actually mitigates in favour of hiking, as the physical demands for reaching viewpoints is not as great. On the other hand, the views are as panoramic and breathtaking as anywhere in the province. It's easy to imagine how sweet life was for Native Canadians who once had this all to themselves. Beacon Hill Park in downtown Victoria was the site of a village that had been inhabited for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the colonial settlers in the 1840s. A tangled web of events since then has displaced the original dwellers, but their history is evident in the petroglyphs that adorn the shoreline and in the middens of seashells mounded up beside the beaches on Strait of Juan de Fuca. Totem poles new and old stand as proud reminders of this heritage.

To gain a fresh appreciation for the talents and skills of First Nations people, combine a visit to the outdoors around Victoria with a stop at the Royal British Columbia Museum, a world-class repository of native artifacts. With the enriched perspective that such a visit will bring, you'll look at the landscape with new interest and appreciation. The figures on the totems will no longer be static representations from a mythological age. Instead, combined with the presence of killer whales, seals, eagles, ravens, salmon, and other species that are as vibrant in the landscape today as they were in the past, you'll enter a timeless real and, in the process, discover a new place in nature for yourself.

Getting There
Victoria lies on the southern tip of Vancouver island and is linked with the rest of the 450 km long island by the Island Highway (Highway 1), whose southern terminus begins at Douglas Street in downtown Victoria. Visitors from the Lower Mainland travel to Victoria via BC Ferries' Tsawwassen terminal in Delta. Visitors from the United States can journey to Victoria via ferry from either Anacortes in northwestern Washington, from Seattle, or from Port Angeles on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic and Saanich Peninsulas are separated by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a 27 km stretch of (almost) open ocean.

By air, visitors arrive at either Victoria Harbour, by float plane, or at Victoria International Airport on the Saanich Peninsula, about 27 km north of Victoria.

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