Visit Canada's Garden of Eden - AKA Victoria, BC

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Yesterday Canada celebrated Victoria Day, a national holiday since the 1800s that ostensibly celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday, but is better known now as the first long weekend of the summer. So what better place to feature in our blog today than Victoria, BC? Our guide Mark in Victoria joins us to share what he loves about this lush and inviting city sitting pretty on Canada’s west coast.

Whether you call Victoria, British Columbia the City of Gardens or the Garden of Eden, nobody who knows this city intimately would disagree with the fact that it is Canada’s best-kept secret. Located below the 49th parallel, facing both the snowcapped Olympic Mountains and the volcanic, glacial Cascade Mountains, Victoria hosts incredibly clean air, lots of sunshine and a lush12-month growing season.

Victoria’s history naturally begins with the rich and vibrant culture of the First Nations Coast Salish peoples - the Lekwungen in particular. Spanish, British, Russian and American influences impacted the region during the 19th Century and in 1842-3, Fort Victoria was established as part of the fur trade. The Gold Rush of the late 1840s dramatically and permanently increased the establishment of Victoria as a major player in the Pacific Northwest.

While the Butchart Gardens is amongst the more famous of our destinations, the Government House Gardens and the Abkhazi Gardens are spectacular in their own right. The very colourful life of Francis Rattenbury included being the architect of British Columbia’s Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Walking distance from the art galleries and excellent restaurants of downtown Victoria is the lush Beacon Hill Park – replete with a rookery of Blue Herons.

On any given day, if desired, you can see killer Orca whales, deer, rabbits, harbour seals, turkey vultures, bald eagles, sea lions, etc. One of the more brilliant aspects of life in Victoria is that all coastal shores are public property – that gives visitors the right to adventure and explore. Moving only slightly away from downtown, there are hundreds of hidden bays and coves where you can lose yourself to the therapeutic tunes of the waves. Turkey Head Walkway, Cattle Point, Willows Beach, Holland Point and Cadboro Bay are only a fraction of what this Eden has to offer.

I became a ToursByLocals Guide because I was inspired to share my love of Victoria’s Beauty with others.

Heading to Victoria this summer? Join Mark on a walk through forests, along coastline and past some of the most colourful blooms you’ll ever see.
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