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Victoria City Guide

Updated: November 8th, 2022

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia the westernmost province of Canada. Victoria boasts many historic buildings and some of the most beautiful museums in Canada. Established in 1843 as a fort for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Victoria’s British ancestry is evident in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens, and tearooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan center with a vast array of attractions and a lively entertainment scene.

About Victoria

The city of Victoria has a population of nearly 94,000 while the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria has a population of 394,000 (as of 2022). The city was named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and is affectionately known as the “Garden City”. Victoria is a very attractive city and a popular tourist destination supported by a thriving technology sector that has grown into the largest revenue-generating private sector in the city, and British Columbia as a whole.

The relatively snow-free climate and slow pace of life in Victoria help make it a popular destination for retirees who enjoy the temperature and life in general. Victoria also boasts a rich First Nations and British history heritage, you will see many First Nations’ arts-infused in and around the city, as well as traditional British practices such as afternoon tea. At the heart of downtown Victoria, you will find the inner harbour, which is beside the Parliament Buildings and next to the famous Fairmount Hotel.

Where is Victoria on the Map

The city of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is about 60 miles (100 km) south-southwest of Vancouver, the largest city in the province. It is situated on the southern point of Vancouver Island between the Juan de Fuca and Haro straits. The major city on the island is Victoria.

Climate/Weather in Victoria

Victoria has a diverse climate. A milder alpine climate is created by the state's mountainous Great Dividing Range in the center and east. The winters in Victoria are extremely cold, rainy, and usually overcast, while the summers there are cool, dry, and partially cloudy. The average annual temperature fluctuates between 37°F and 66°F, seldom falling below 28°F or rising over 72°F.

Work and Jobs in Victoria

Teachers

With median salary expectations starting at between $50,000 to $55,000 a year, this position requires a person who has a passion for wanting to help other people better themselves, including working with children and enjoy seeing them learn and grow.

Although there is a very high level of competition between teachers in the city and the province of British Columbia as a whole, teachers will always be in demand. Both elementary, and high school level teachers will be needed, however, high school teachers will see the most demand.

Registered Nurse

As is the case throughout Canada Victoria has a huge demand for nurses. With a starting median salary of $60,000 registered nurses are required to be people with compassion, caring, and able to handle stress.

Marketing Manager

Median salary expectations start from $85,000 a year. A marketing manager focuses on strategies to push their products and services, these are creative people who understand market trends and good communicators. As the economy grows with the creation of new firms and companies in the city it is a high-in-demand job with a fierce competition.

Marketing Research Analyst

Market research analyst jobs in British Columbia start with a median salary of around $50,000 a year. It is considered one of the best future jobs because currently, markets are going through a continuous flux and changes. New competitors are entering the market all the time so companies need to be alert of what their competition is up to and also have a better knowledge of who is purchasing their products.

The best candidates for this job are people with an analytical mind and critical thinking skills and able to understand changing trends and preferences.

Construction Manager

Construction manager’s median salary starts at around $85,000 a year. It is mainly in demand now because there is such a boom in construction in British Columbia, and while construction jobs didn’t require much education in the past, this will no longer be the case as construction companies have become more sophisticated and take on more complex projects.

Cost of Living in Victoria

According to Numbeo and Livingcost.org respectively, you would need around $7,592 in Vancouver to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $6,900 in Victoria (assuming you rent in both cities), making Victoria a much cheaper option. The average cost of rent in Victoria is $1,906, and the median after-tax salary is $3,597, which is enough to cover living expenses for the month. Victoria, Canada is ranked 256th (TOP 3%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 19th best city to live in Canada, as well as the 5th most liveable city in British Columbia.

Expect your basic utilities expenses (water, electricity, heating, cooling etc.) to cost you $130 on average based on a one-bedroom place, which will cost you around $1,900 for rent. Have children? Pre-primary school can cost you $1,200 a month on average. Want to buy a car? A new one will cost upward of $30,000 but second-hand cars can be as low as $8,000.

Neighborhoods in Victoria

Victoria BC has long since outgrown its reputation as being occupied by the newly wed and retirees. Today it is a vibrant city surrounded by appealing communities and home to a population diverse in ethnicity and demographics. Even though retirement living is popular in Victoria, chief among the reasons why people choose to live and settle in Victoria is that compared to the rest of Canada it is really pleasant for most of the year, with freedom to get out and enjoy different outdoor activities and especially safe neighborhoods.

The city center alone comprises of 50 gated neighborhoods, over 1000 affordable housing, and numerous luxury apartments, condos, and townhomes.

Cadboro Bay

Cadboro Bay is an English styled seas-side village community and bay, is located in the Municipality of Saanich and north of the Municipality of Oak Bay. Cadboro Bay is a neighborhood nestled between the University of Victoria, to the west and the Uplands to the South, Ten Mile Point lies to the east and Queenwood, with its multi-million dollar secluded homes, to the north.

Cadboro Bay gets its name from the first Hudson’s Bay Company sailing vessel brought to the BC coast, the Cadboro, which was the first vessel to reach the bay.

Sidney

“Sidney by the sea” is it is affectionately known, is located about 20 kilometers north of Victoria. It enjoys a temperature climate, natural amenities, and friendly community character.

Sidney has extensive waterfront walkways, parks, restaurants, and marinas. Sidney’s popular Thursday evening street market runs through the summer and attracts visitors from around the region. This attractive town has a daily ferry service to Anacortes, Washington, U.S.A, the Victoria International Airport is just 2 km away and a few kilometers from the BC Ferry Terminal to Vancouver.

Gordon Head

A comfortable, middle-class neighborhood, Gordon Head has only recently undergone a slow conversion process of family occupancy homes and shared rental homes to meet the demands of the growing student population. There has also recently been some very upscale housing developments at Gordon Point, the tip of Gordon Head, close to the north waterfront.

Oak Bay Village

Filled with beautiful character homes and sandy beaches, Oak Bay Village is one of Victoria’s oldest and well-known neighborhoods. Oak Bay Village is an old-fashioned and lined with a number of unique shops selling handicrafts, art, books, chocolate, imported Italian food products, and wine, just to name a few. Shopping is fun and unhurried, sidewalks, coffee houses, pubs are all filled with the friendly chatter of acquaintances. Out on the east side, the Oak Bay Marina is home to a fine dining restaurant, café deli, and harbor seals. There are several seals that live in the waters around the Marina, which are visible to guests much to their delight.

Cedar Hill

Cedar Hill consists of a good mix of old and newer residential subdivisions, a new commercial area being built on the east side. The neighborhood of Cedar Hill is dominated by the massive 18 hole Cedar Hill Municipal Golf Course, which is surrounded by a 3.5-kilometer walking trail. Other parks and recreation facilities include Brae Foot Park and the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre. There are two elementary schools and a junior high school in the area.

Victoria is a city of neighborhoods each with a distinct charm and character that are well-connected hubs of activity designed for active living. It is these very neighborhoods that make Victoria such a unique and wonderful place to live.

Transportation

The city’s transport system is one of the most reliable in Canada, fast, safe and convenient. The public transport system consists of the public bus, a cross-harbor ferry, and the popular Sky Train, the city’s Automated Rapid Transit system.

The city’s Blue Bus system is especially popular with working people and it includes a bus express service system from Vancouver to BC Ferry’s horseshoe terminal. The bus fares are relatively cheap with an adult one-way ticket costing $2.75 and $4 for two, a preloaded compass pass can also be bought in advance with a duration of 30 days within a specific bus route.

Things to do in Victoria

There is always something to do in Victoria, British Columbia. An urban oasis surrounded by ocean waters and mountainous wilderness, the city offers the best of both worlds.

Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the restaurants, beautiful shops, museums and city parks complemented by world-class golf courses, hiking trails, and fishing expeditions. What’s so amazing about having such a variety of options in such close proximity is the very rare opportunity to have a number different experiences in a single day – golf in the morning, skiing in the afternoon, a walk through the Butchart Gardens followed by an evening at the symphony. The possibilities can seem endless!

Royal British Columbia Museum

British Columbia’s provincial Museum is situated midway between the Parliament Buildings and the world famous Fairmont Empress Hotel. It is by far the best museum of natural history and culture in Canada. Walk through a rainforest, view animals on West Coast beaches and in tidal wetlands, sit among the aboriginal memorial mountains, and learn about the First Nations people’s struggles after European settlement. Other interactive features include an exact replica of the HMS discovery – the ship that brought Captain Vancouver to these shores, and a street of shops in old town.

Outside the museum, is the Thunderbird Park, home to a traditionally carved memorial and house poles. Nearby, the small mid-19th-century Helmcken House is the oldest residence in British Columbia still standing at its original site, the house once belonged to J.S Helmcken, a practicing local doctor, and politician. He is most known for campaigning vigorously for the then British colony of Victoria, and British Columbia to join the newly establishment confederation of Canada.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Built in 1908 for the Canadian pacific, like the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, the Fairmont Empress Hotel on the Inner Harbour is one of Victoria’s best-loved landmarks. The Architect Francis M. Rattenbury was responsible for the designing the Empress, entering the vast lobby of this iconic hotel is like walking back in time to before the First World War. Afternoon tea served with great style is an experience for any visitor. An extension on the north side of the Empress Hotel houses a collection of several dozen scenes in miniature at Miniature World. The models of historical events, castles, and dollhouses captivate the young and old alike.

Craigdarroch Castle

Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle is a fairy-tale mansion, and widely considered a gem of Victorian architecture. Scottish immigrant and entrepreneur Robert Dunsmuir commissioned the home for his wife in the 1880s. Dunsmuir made his fortune in coal mining but died before the mansion was completed.

The mansion is located in a particularly affluent area of Victoria. The elegant Rockland centers on Rockland Avenue, which is lined with grand heritage homes including Government House – the official residence of Her Majesty’s representative in British Columbia. The house itself is closed to the public but the immaculate gardens are a delight for everyone.

Maritime Museum of British Columbia

The former Court House in Bastion Square is now the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, displaying a host of items from the age of sail. A centerpiece of the museum is the “Tilikum”, a large Indian canoe in which, at the beginning of the century, some fearless souls voyaged to England. Also appropriately commemorated at the Court House is the somewhat legendary Richard Mathews Begbie, whose administration of justice at the end of the 19th century led to him being christened “the Hanging Judge.”

Surrounding the Bastion Square is the principal thoroughfares of Victoria’s Old Town – Wharf Street, Government Street, and Douglass Street, running north-south, and Johnson Street, Yates Street, and Fort Street crossing them. A lovely area to stroll, Old Town boasts some historic buildings and old-fashioned shops such as Rodger’s Chocolate and the tobacconist E.A Morris.

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site

The gun batteries at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, about 13 kilometers west of Victoria, used to guard the sheltered waters of Esquimalt Harbour, once a British Naval Base. The guns were in service from 1895 to 1956. Today, the well-preserved fortress can be visited. Nearby the Fisgard Lighthouse was the first on the west coast of Canada and is now a definitive landmark.

Butchart Gardens

One of British Columbia’s premier tourist attractions is the magical Butchart Gardens at Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula. Here in 1904, the wife of a prominent businessman in Canada Jennie Butchart started to lay out a fragrant garden in abandoned limestone workings. Flourishing, not least because of the mild climate, the gardens have since been developed into a 20-hectare horticulture tour de force that is unrivaled in Canada.

The Italian garden, rose garden, Japanese garden, and sunken gardens are among the loveliest. Open spaces among pools, fountains, and the many exotic plants are used for artistic and musical performances.

Hartley Park National Historic Site

The Hartley Park National Historic Site consists of a castle built in 1908 by former British Columbia Premier and coal baron, James Dunsmuir, and an Edwardian estate, with Japanese, Italian, and Rose gardens. Visitors can choose to walk through the gardens or take a guided tour of the castle – now a base for the Royal Roads University.

Education in Victoria

The city of Victoria in British Columbia has an exceptional education system that is ably run by the provincial government of British Columbia. The city of Victoria lies completely within the Greater Victoria School District, which has one public high school within the city’s boundaries. Victoria High School was founded in 1876 making it the oldest high school in Northern America.

One of the valuable benefits of living in Victoria is the access to a high-quality education system, many of the elementary schools in Victory now offer the popular French immersion programs in addition to programs in English. From kindergarten through all the stages of a person’s life, in almost every field of learning, you are sure to find an education that suits your needs in Victoria.

Post-secondary trade and technical schools in Victoria British Columbia run the full range from hair design, and aesthetics, to business colleges to healthcare training both traditional and alternative. An individual can be able to train for a career in horticulture, the performing arts, driving big rigs or counseling.

Public schools

Those who are living in Victoria, British Columbia will attest to the fact that the provincial government maintains a high quality and progressive education system. The school system in Greater Victoria contains three districts:

  • The Greater Victoria School District – Provides quality education to approximately 20,000 in 26 Elementary Schools, 10 Middle Schools, and 7 Secondary Schools.
  • The Sooke School District – Serving approximately 8500 students, is located on Southern Sooke in Victoria British Columbia.
  • The Saanich School District – Contains 8 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 secondary schools, and is proudly represented by more than 8,000 students. In addition to that, the district also maintains a children’s development center, 2 individual learning centers, and an international student program.

Higher education

Higher education in Victoria British Columbia enjoys the status as one of the cities in Canada with a high international student population. The certificates, degrees and all qualifications obtained from colleges and universities in Victoria are internationally recognized and very sought after by employers.

The provincial government aims to attract more international students, reasoning that international students enhance the education experience for all students and that the student’s cross-culture skills enhance future business and cultural development.

The University of Victoria

The University of Victoria is a comprehensive facility offering over 100 programs to 18,000 students in day, evening, and distance-education classes. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate, or seeking continuing studies, distance learning or co-operative education, you’ll be able to find a plethora of options to further your education at Uvic.

Royal Roads University

In 1995 the government of British Columbia created the Royal Roads University as a public university with a focus on applied and professional degrees. The Royal Roads University maintains strong ties with the Canadian Forces and has now graduated over 20,000 students in the fields of leadership, business, environment, communication and social justice who are working in 60 countries around the world.

The education choices for people living in Victoria British Columbia are almost endless, and the city continues to add to the already comprehensive options available. The Provincial government recently announced that it will provide funding for the construction of a new marine training center at Camosun College. Whether you are seeking a good education for children, to establish or further your career goals, or to continue your lifelong learning journey, you will almost certainly be able to find a school and program to suit you in Victoria.

Unique Immigration Visas to Victoria

The province of British Columbia is known for many great things with its remarkable nature, diverse and vibrant city and friendly people being among them. What most people don’t know is that British Columbia is one of the most liveable provinces in Canada. Residents have said to find life much easier and have access to a wide range of job opportunities.

With Canada having over 100 immigration programs, it’s important to know how to immigrate to British Columbia in 2021 with a program that best suits you. There is no better time than now, as Canada is set to invite over 1.2 million immigrants as permanent residents within the next three years.

Continue reading to discover just which program will allow you to live that high standard of life Canada is so well-known for.

Express Entry

Express Entry is an online immigration system that manages three federal immigration programs for skilled immigrant workers to become Canadian permanent residents. The three programs under the Express Entry are:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
  3. Canadian Experience Class

If you would like to be in British Columbia sooner than later, then the Express Entry is a great pathway to go through because of the fast processing time of as little as six months.

Express Entry is open to almost everyone, resulting in it being one of Canada’s largest points of entry. Express Entry is issuing 105,500 invitations to apply (ITA) in 2021.

How does the Express Entry system work?

After you’ve determined that you meet the Express Entry requirements, you’ll need to create an online profile. The profile needs to be completed and submitted within 90 days of starting. You’ll need the following for your online profile:

  • Your passport or travel document;
  • Education credential assessment report;
  • Language test results;
  • Certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province or territory (if you have one);
  • Proof of work experience (if you have one);
  • Provincial Nomination (if you have one)

Once the above is completed, you’ll get placed into a draw pool with other eligible applicants and be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score which determines your ranking. Your CRS score will determine if you receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA). This means you will have the opportunity to apply to become a Canadian permanent resident. Each draw pool has its own unique CRS score to qualify.

However, if you don’t succeed in a particular draw you’ll be able to stay in the pool for one year increasing your chance to qualify for another upcoming draw.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

The Comprehensive Ranking System is a point-based system used to assess Express Entry applicants and give them a score. The higher your score, the higher your rank in the draw pool which ultimately means a higher chance of receiving an ITA. The maximum score you can achieve is 1,200 points.

Another great Canadian immigration program is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), let’s see how to immigrate to British Columbia in 2021 via the PNP.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an agreement that has been put in place for local provinces to nominate eligible economic immigrants who want to work and stay in a particular province. In this case for those who want to live and work in British Columbia.

Your first step is the application being approved by the province, which takes a short time of four to nine weeks. Your second step would consist of medical, police and security checks. This can usually take six to eight months or longer depending on the applicant.

Once you are nominated by the British Columbian province, you will need to get a work visa before moving to Canada. The province will assist you with this process.

How do I apply for a PNP?

Direct Application Process

This form of application is sent directly to the province of British Columbia. You will need to submit a paper application via mail or courier. You could wait for your application results anywhere between 15 to 19 months.

Express Entry Application Process

If you decide to apply via Express Entry, you’ll have two options.

  1. Expression of Interest - this is where you can express interest in the province of British Columbia through your Express Entry profile. The province will nominate you if you have the right skills and experience.
  2. Apply through a Provincial Nominee Express Entry Stream

This option does have its benefits of being faster as it takes as little as six to eight months. You will also have a higher chance of receiving an ITA.

PNPs and Express Entry

When you apply through the Express Entry, by receiving a provincial nomination you will earn up to 600 CRS points. Keep in mind that the maximum score you can receive is 1,200 points and most PNP streams have a lower CRS cut-off score than regular express Entry draws. This would mean that by having a nomination, you would almost certainly receive an ITA.

Pros and Cons

Victoria, British Columbia is a lovely city with

The Pros:

  • A lot of natural beauty, 
  • Communities that are good for families, 
  • Excellent weather. 

Cons include:

  • The expensive expense of living, 
  • The sheer volume of tourists, 
  • The island's remoteness, which makes transit more difficult. 

If you're thinking of relocating to Victoria, consider these benefits and drawbacks before making your choice.

FAQs

Does Victoria have festivals?

Victoria is home to numerous festivals including the Victoria Flower and Garden Show, the Tall Ships Festival, the Victoria Marathon, the Great Canadian Beer Festival, and the Independent Film and Video Festival – and that’s just a few of them.

Victoria is a city that likes to celebrate and we have dozens of annual festivals to prove it. Enjoy the smooth sounds of the TD Victoria International Jazz Festival in June, find great family fun at the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival in July, or sip spirited creations at the Art of the Cocktail festival in October. Victoria is full of life all year long.

What are the best restaurants in Victoria?

Victoria has the second-highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, second only to San Francisco.

With a wealth of international cuisines, renowned chefs, fresh seafood, and striking landscapes, it can be a difficult task choosing where to dine in Victoria, Canada. Victoria is home to magnificent restaurants, adored for their stunning settings, delicious menus, and mesmerizing decor, perfect for romantic dates, family dinners, and celebratory meals.

Is Victoria BC Good for immigrants?

Newcomers have may opportunities to move to Victoria For those from all parts of the world who desire to immigrate to Victoria, Canada, this creates the perfect opportunity. Immigrants who can prove they have the skills necessary to successfully integrate into the Canadian labor market are eligible for the skilled worker visa.

One of the simplest provinces in Canada to obtain permanent residency is his. It provides work opportunities to those who fulfill employment standards as well as employer requirements from diverse industries.

Your Future in Canada Awaits

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They have the experience and expertise to guide you through the visa application process, from the selection of the immigration category to preparing and filing your application, preparing you for an interview and following up with the visa office.

The fact that our offices are situated in Vancouver Canada means our clients' applications are evaluated and processed as per the latest updated rules and regulations from the Canadian government.

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