Since having my second child I’ve put my hobbies on hold (thus this website still seem like a work in progress haha) and I’ve been MIA for the past 2 months or so. My wife and I grew up in Victoria and most of our families still call Victoria home… On our most recent trip back home I was able to sneak out for an evening photo session with just me and my trusty D7000 (luckily the weather god was on my side too!).
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia while Vancouver is the biggest and most well known city (I worked in the tourism industry throughout high school and it seemed like a significant portion of tourists assume Vancouver as the capital of BC). Victoria is not connected to the mainland of British Columbia so in order to get there one must travel 1) by sea (BC Ferries: Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay) or 2) by air (Helijet or other float planes departing from downtown Vancouver). Most commoners like myself choose option 1 and it takes around 3 hours to get from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria (check ferry schedule here). I highly recommend taking your own vehicle as public transit in Victoria is… sub-optimal.
Most tourist attractions in Victoria are within walking distances from each other and they are clustered around “Inner Harbor” with the exception of a beautifully curated garden called “the Butchart Gardens” (where I spent an entire summer selling flower seeds from its gift shop so you probably won’t find me there anytime soon, or ever… but it is worth a visit IMHO). Victoria is absolutely stunning visually anytime of the year but I would visit during spring/summer because that’s when its tourist charm is at its peak… don’t worry even at peak tourist season Victoria is still a small city and parking/traffic is still negligible when compared to any major cities. At the end of the day if you have a couple days on your itinerary Victoria really is a must-visit (2 days 1 night should be sufficient as it is a small city after all)… but be forewarned, when the speed limit says 40 km/hr Victorians really drive below 40 km/hr.
Quick random thoughts: Consider visiting the Parliament Building, the Empress Hotel for its famous afternoon tea if that is your thing, and the Royal Museum nearby. Also consider visiting the inner harbor during evenings (summer time only) for some truly talented street performers. Take a casual stroll through Government Street and downtown nearby (for a quick cheap bite consider “Red Fish Blue Fish” for some tasty fish and chips/chowder by the water). Visit Butchart Gardens either on the way to Victoria or on the way back to the ferries (2 hrs should be sufficient unless you are a garden/flower aficionado). Skip Undersea Gardens unless you really love the opportunity to maybe spot an ordinary octopus…