Victoria Shore Excursions
Royal British Columbia Museum
Opened as long ago as 1886, the Royal British Columbia Museum offers an interesting look at the rich history of the province. At the First Peoples exhibit see impressive native American ceremonial masks. At the Modern History exhibit, climb the gangway to inspect an accurate full-sized replica of Geroge Vancouver’s ship. Then at the Natural History gallery learn about the flora and fauna of BC’s diverse natural habitat. Stop at Willie's Bakery and Café for a well-deserved break. The Royal BC Museum is a short walk going east inland from Inner Harbor.
Helmcken House was built in 1852, and still sits on its original plot. The house was the home of Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Doctor went on to become a leading politician, helping with British Columbia’s entry into the Confederation. The house is furnished and decorated in period style, and succeeds in taking you back to those turbulent early days of the province’s history. Helmcken House is just a 2 minute walk from the Royal BC Museum.
For a touch of class, enjoy a quintessential English afternoon tea at the celebrated Empress Hotel. Sip a cup of the excellent tea (a secret blend), accompanied by freshly baked scones with cream and strawberry jam. Enjoy the pretty view from the Empress Tea Room across the Inner Harbor.
Victoria’s Chinatown is Canada’s oldest Chinatown, and hails back to the late 1800s when many Chinese migrants arrived to work in British Columbia’s busy resource industries. Enter this historic area through the Gates of Harmonious Interest, constructed in 1981 to celebrate the happy integration of the Chinese community within the city. Squeeze through Fan Tan Alley, reputed to be Canada’s narrowest street. Taste some authentic Chinese cuisine by lunching at one of the many characterful restaurants. Victoria’s Chinatown is located half-a-mile north of Inner Harbor.
Even though the fabulous Butchart Gardens are open all year, a spring or early-summer visit is best. This is when huge numbers of colorful flowers are in bloom, creating a spectacular display of nature’s beauty. If you work up a large appetite walking around the gardens, stop for sustenance at a choice of restaurants (smart or casual) or at a friendly coffee shop. The gardens are located 13 miles north of Victoria. A ship’s excursion is nearly always available, but failing that you can take a cab or a No 75 city bus from downtown.
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