Vancouver Island lies in Canada’s southwest corner and it is a ferry ride from Vancouver. This archipelago attracts visitors with its modern farm, colonial history, and miles of untouched wilderness. Catch a seaplane or ferry from Vancouver and arrive right in Victoria Harbour heart, the picturesque gateway through which this island’s fortunes have long flowed. Because of it’s scenic beauty, Vancouver Island has been home to many romantic movie shoots over the years. Victoria was once a rough fur trading outpost and found its wealth as the outfitting center for the gold rush of British Columbia. It became the provincial capital in 1871. The Parliament Buildings was designed by a young immigrant and have since 1898 served the people of the province.
Take a stroll to the iconic symbol of the city – Fairmont Empress Hotel. Ever since it opened in 1908, it has been a magnet for society’s elite, from Katharine Hepburn and Queen Elizabeth to Harrison Ford and Rudyard Kipling. Nearby, in Craigdarroch Castle tenacity, grit, and industrial-era spirit is celebrated. It was built by Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish coal baron. Stepping ashore penniless in 1851, he had become the wealthiest man in British Columbia by the late 1800s.
The rich history of Vancouver Island is preserved in the many galleries and museums across the capital. Admire the immense collection of priceless artefacts in the First People’s Gallery and experience 19th-century life in the “Old Town”. A short walk from the Royal BC Museum, discover an area that is more quirky-Canadian and a little less genteel-British. Fisherman’s Wharf is a floating neighborhood of restaurants, shops, and houses. Order some of Canada’s freshest seafood and try resisting the pleading looks of hungry locals, hoping to share your lunch.
Although the first point of call for most visitors is Victoria, the adventure really begins when you rent a car and travel beyond the capital. To start discovering the natural offerings of this abundant island, make your way to the scenic area of Sooke. Explore an inland oasis of waterfalls and hidden pools at Sooke Potholes Regional Park. Follow salty sea breezes further west, to the shoreline of Sandcut Beach, and soak up the rhythms of lapping waters blending with rushing waterfalls. Also, explore the eerie caves and shorelines which have been carved gradually by tempestuous Pacific Waves more than thousands of years.
If you are chasing adventure and want to experience one of the greatest coastal walks in the world, lace up your boots for the 29-mile trek. Cowichan Bay is a cozy seaside town thrives on the bountiful waters of the Saanich Inlet. The city of Parksville is a short drive north of Cowichan. This picturesque place is an inviting and warm rest stop, and as the name suggests, the ideal base from which to explore many pine-veiled reserves and parks. From the first people to the fortune seekers and fur trappers of old, Vancouver Island is a place that rewards those who have walked its wild shores.
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