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The Greater Victoria region of British Columbia, Canada encompasses the southern tip of Vancouver Island and includes all of the Saanich Peninsula and to the west as far as Sooke. The whole area is very accessible being only 50 km (30 miles) east/west by 30 km (20 miles) north/south. It is comprised of some 11 small cities and municipalities, all within quick and easy travel distance of the City of Victoria.
Many travelers are drawn to this area of southern Vancouver Island, and with good reason. For starters, it is surrounded by ocean, and is stunningly beautiful. It seems to have just about everything, from quiet wilderness and empty beaches to old-growth forests, from historically important structures to modern architectural delights, and from quaint little towns to an international city. An itinerary that includes a stay at several different bed and breakfasts in the area is a good way to sample some of what our corner of Canada has to offer.
Colwood- Just 15 minutes west of Victoria, Colwood was originally one of 4 farms started by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1850 to supply provisions for Fort Victoria. Today, it is a prosperous, thriving community and home to the Fisgard Lighthouse, Royal Roads University and Hatley Park and Castle.
Esquimalt- 10 minutes west of Victoria, Esquimalt is a great spot to learn about the varied history of the island. The Salish people were here 400 years before anyone else; and Esquimalt has been home to Canada's Pacific Naval Fleet since 1837. Today, Esquimalt offers many amenities, including 29 hectares (72 acres) of beautiful parks, scenic waterfront walkways, recreational facilities, a superb golf course, shopping and restaurants.
Metchosin- Metchosin is a native word meaning 'Stinking Fish'. But don’t be put off by the name. Metchosin is just twenty minutes to the southwest of Victoria. It is a rural municipality and home to many artists, carvers, potters and other artisans. It is a nature lover's paradise with miles of pristine hiking trails, beautiful pebble beaches and marsh-like areas for bird watching. Cyclists may choose to ride there via the Galloping Goose trail, which passes through a wide variety of terrain and interesting small communities.
Oak Bay- 10 minutes east of downtown Victoria, Oak Bay looks eastward to the volcanoes of the Cascade Range. Browse the many interesting shops and galleries. As you wander the beaches, keep an eye out for the mysterious, legendary Cadborosaurus, said to be a denizen of Cadboro Bay.
Saanichton- 15 - 20 minutes north of Victoria, close to the International Airport and the BC Ferries and Washington State Ferry terminals in Sidney, Saanichton is the home of the world famous Butchart Gardens. An area of rich farmlands, this is a good spot to learn about the interesting history of farming and the growth of a host of new wineries and cideries on Vancouver Island.
Sooke- On the southwestern tip of Vancouver Island, just 35 - 40 minutes from downtown Victoria, you'll find the sheltered harbour of Sooke. Warm, sunny and dry in the summer, it is not surprising that both the arts and outdoor activities thrive here.
Victoria- The City of Victoria has many interesting neighbourhoods, an exquisite pocket-harbour area, world-class museums, and more restaurants per capita than almost any other city in North America. It is, in short, a traveler's paradise. Explore Lower Johnson Street and Chinatown. Walk the Westsong Way and take in the views of the Olympic Mountains, across the Salish Sea, in Washington State.
With so much to do and see here, you'll probably want to return again and again. Return to a favourite Victoria bed and breakfast, or try a new one each time for a unique B&B experience.