As the second oldest city in Western Canada, Victoria has a long and varied history. A land native to the Coast Salish Peoples, Victoria experienced its first European contact in 1843. Founded as a fort and trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Victoria quickly grew into a major city on the west coast. Many major historical events have shaped the city of Victoria, from the Gold Rush of the 1800’s to the Confederation of Canada. Today along with the historical charm of Victoria, the city is focused on education, government, retirement and tourism.
Here is a list of historical locations in Victoria that make for an enjoyable outing, and offer the chance to learn more about Victoria’s fascinating history.
Designated as a National Historic Site, this Victorian-era mansion is a beautiful escape into Victoria’s past. Built by Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle is fully restored and gives visitors a peek into the luxurious and often scandalous lives of the Dunsmuir family and their exquisite home.
Signs of Lekwungen Walkway
This interpretive walkway was made to celebrate the history and significance of the Lekwungen People, who have hunted and gathered in the Victoria area for thousands of years. There are seven numbered areas throughout Victoria that signify special places of importance for the Lekwungen People. You can visit these sites and find each area marked with a carving of spindle whorls, created by a Songhees artist. For more information, visit Victoria.ca.
St. Ann’s Academy
Also a designated National Historic Site, St. Ann’s Academy is an integral landmark for the city of Victoria. Built in 1858, this historic building was once Victoria’s first Roman Catholic Cathedral, and has since been used as a convent, school and now offices and Historical Interpretive Center. St. Ann’s also possesses a stunningly restored Chapel and acres of beautiful gardens, which are popular for summer weddings.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest one in Canada. Complete with fascinating cultural attractions, such as The Gate of Harmonious Interest, no trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit to Chinatown. Victoria’s Chinatown is also home to the narrowest alley in Canada, Fan Tan Alley.
Ross Bay Cemetery
This cemetery is one of the oldest and largest Victorian cemeteries in Canada. Many famous figures are buried here, including artist Emily Carr, coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and British Columbia’s first governor, Sir James Douglas.
There are also many Heritage Walking Tours that explore the varied history of Victoria, such as the tour of “Haunted Victoria.” More information on Heritage Walking Tours here.
Historical Charm of Victoria
For more information check out the following links:
Victoria is home to hundred’s of charming and historical homes that are for sale. Find the one that fits your lifestyle.