Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria
(Tom Ryan photo)


Arts, Culture & History

Parliament Buildings, Victoria (Rohan Zanzibar/Tourism Victoria photo)

Parliament Buildings, Victoria (Rohan Zanzibar/Tourism Victoria photo)

Victoria is a cultural mecca in British Columbia. Its rich artistic history, vibrant arts community and exquisite natural beauty prove irresistible draws for artists and art lovers alike.

History buffs also appreciate the city's many outstanding museums, historic sites and heritage buildings. Victoria’s Asian influence continues to thrive in North America’s second oldest Chinatown. European tradition is marked by decorative English gardens and a collection of afternoon tea houses.

North America’s Second Oldest Chinatown

During Gold Rush days, half the population of Victoria was Chinese. Walk through Fan Tan Alley, Canada’s narrowest street at just 0.9m/3ft wide: locked gates once led to dwellings filled with gambling halls and opium dens. Today it is home to trendy shops and restaurants. Admire the 11.5m/38-ft Gate of Harmonious Interest marking the entrance to Chinatown. Stroll along Fisgard Street where sidewalks are packed with local and exotic produce, Asian wares and galleries display unique pieces.

Chinese New Year is a 15-day celebration in February centred around Victoria’s Chinatown. Walk through Chinese lanterns, sample tea and try the traditional lion dance.