This is the first real post on our Victoria BC blog so, before we get into news and events, let’s set the scene.
Victoria has its share of little known facts, some being sheer oddities. If you are planning to visit Victoria for a vacation break you may find these interesting.
1. Everyone knows that USA is south of the 49th parallel and Canada north of that line of latitude. But not Victoria!
2. Victoria is on Vancouver Island not on Victoria Island. You’d be surprised at how many people get rather confused. Some think they can drive here (I hope they have lots of air in their tyres.)
3. We’d better add for that last point that you can reach Victoria easily by air to Victoria International Airport, by numerous ferry services from both USA and Canada, or even by float plane services into the Inner Harbour. If you want to swim you may have to dodge killer whales.
4. The city is named after Queen Victoria and was established as a Hudson’s Bay fort in 1843. These days the area consists of 13 different municipalities all with their own bureaucracies – 13 mayors, 91 councillors and bylaws galore (do you really want to live here?). This affects visitors in two ways: taxes differ and your GPS may want you to replace “Victoria” by “Saanich” or “Oak Bay” etc.
5. 345,000 people call Greater Victoria BC home, in one of the most beautiful areas you could live. It is thus a popular retirement haven.
6. In 1855 the B.C. gold rush increased Victoria’s population from 300 to 5,000 within a few days.
7. 100 years ago travel here was by dirt tracks or by three, yes three, separate railway routes between Victoria and Sidney. This is remarkable – think of a community 16 miles / 25 km from you and then imagine that 100 years ago (when the population was much smaller) there were three railway routes to it.
8. Victoria has more restaurants per capita in North America than any other city, apart from San Francisco.
9. Average maximum temperatures in the summer are 25C / 75F and in winter 0C / 32F. Victoria is the second sunniest place in BC and its rainfall is the lowest on the BC coastline. This last winter most parts of Victoria had no snow at all though we usually expect a small amount. The plant zone of 7 results in an immensely wide range of plants thriving, as seen in the many public gardens and parks.
10. Each February residents count their flower blooms, pointedly reminding snow-bound Canada about our climate. The record is 21 billion blooms in 2010.
So come and explore. Your Victoria BC B&B innkeepers will be glad to tell you more.