Let’s be honest, the coastal weather of Victoria is not always bright and cheerful so it’s good to have some indoor havens to enjoy during a visit here. Two excellent places in Victoria’s Inner Harbour are the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Robert Bateman Centre. The latter is the impressive building with classical columns overlooking the Inner Harbour.
The Centre is in the Victoria Steamship Terminal building designed by Francis Rattenbury, the architect of the neighbouring Empress Hotel and Legislative Assembly of BC, and built in 1924. Canadian Pacific Steamships operated from it until 1974.
On its second floor are the galleries and interactive centre featuring the realistic wildlife art of Robert Bateman. Here you not only marvel at the detail within his paintings but also catch a sense of awe of magnificent creatures within their natural world. The importance of ecological conservation to Bateman is clear as he communicates the fragility of the environment. He has been called “the world’s greatest wildlife artist”.
Ten galleries present over 160 original art pieces from the smallest drawing to the largest painting of this prolific artist. You can download a guide app (devices may be borrowed) with commentary by Robert Bateman. If you are unable to visit the Centre, its website shows 72 pieces of artwork with excellent tools allowing detailed views.
The Robert Bateman Centre is open daily at 470 Belleville Street.