Elegant, historic and with a touch of British charm, the Canadian city of Victoria is absolutely worth a visit. Take the 1.5 hour ferry ride from bustling Vancouver to Vancouver Island and you will find yourself relaxing immediately. There is a slower pace on the island and in Victoria you can saunter down the flower-basket-lined cobblestone streets and really soak up the atmosphere. The British Colombia capital is rich with history and art and is home to several superb Victoria BC museums, galleries and monuments. It also has a vibrant music, theatre and spoken word poetry scene as well as several great restaurants and many cute cafes and quirky independent boutiques. It’s an easy day trip from Vancouver or Seattle, but if you want to stay longer there is enough to keep you busy for quite some time.
Five Fantastic Victoria BC Museums, Galleries, and Monuments
The British Columbia Legislature Buildings
This impressive building dominates the Inner Harbour and is lit up with thousands of sparking lights at night. During the summer peak tourist season, you can take an interesting and informative tour about the building’s history. Local actors bring to life historical characters from Victoria’s past.
The Royal British Columbia Museum
Located right in the beautiful Inner harbour, this museum lets you walk through recreated historical streets and is a great place to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the First Nations People of British Columbia. There is also the IMAX theatre, perfect entertainment for a rainy day.
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Located in a gorgeous Victorian mansion on a quiet tree-lined residential street just a few minutes from downtown, this gallery has a world class collection of Asian, Canadian and historical art pieces. Visit every third Sunday of the month for “Family Sunday” featuring fun kid-friendly performances and interactive art-making activities.
Scottish coal baron Robert Dunsmuir was once the richest and most important man in Western Canada and he had an exquisite mansion built for him between 1887 and 1890 echoing the style of a Scottish Castle. The 39 rooms in the 20,000 square foot mansion have been restored to their 1890s furnishings and the castle tower provides stunning views over Victoria and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Victoria Bug Zoo and the Butterfly Gardens
When it comes to educational and hands-on nature Victoria BC museums that are great for kids, I had to include both of these great attractions. At the Butterfly Gardens museum you can explore an indoor warm tropical paradise of amazing exotic butterflies and at the Bug Zoo you can learn about exotic insects and even get a chance to hold a tarantula or scorpion.