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Victoria has long been a symbol of a lingering British influence within the provinces of Canada. Once a quaint city which was more known for its aspirations to emulate British colonial principalities by filling its centre with antiquated tea rooms, public houses and tourist attractions, this beautiful city has now experienced a modern resurgence with a boom of a youthful population looking to change the city's image.
The result is an exciting modern city which still retains an air of grandeur, a rare and invigorating blend that is sure to enrapture cruisers from all over the world. Nicknamed the Garden City, this intriguing metropolis is situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Although it contains a wealth of sights and attractions, Greater Victoria is easily explored on foot and bike, giving cruisers an extraordinary flexibility when it comes to exploring everything this exhilarating city has to offer.
Featuring 20 hectares of beautifully manicured foliage, this wonderful collection of gardens stands 21 km north of Victoria, and is one of the finest tourist attractions in British Columbia. In the summer, fireworks displays illuminate the gardens in a rainbow spectrum throughout July and August nights, but this isn't the only beautiful array of colours you'll be seeing. All year round, the massive collection of flora and fauna that populate this island of serenity in a bustling city are set out in a kaleidoscope of shades- from lush roses, to towering ferns. There are also separate, international grounds to enjoy, such as the utterly serene Japanese Garden. No matter the time of year, it's a beautiful place to explore.
Whale Watching from Downtown Harbour
For the intrepid, there are 8 well-established, professional and experienced whale watching companies that operate from the Downtown/Inner harbour. From the Tourism Information Centre at the heart of Victoria, cruisers can book a breath-taking voyage that will take them offshore to resident pods of Orca, Humpback, and Grey whales. In the summer, transient migrations of these magnificent creatures become a regular occurrence, granting cruisers the photo-opportunity of a lifetime.
Royal British Columbia Museum
The province's finest museum is an awe-inspiring experience, not least because of the classical and imposing façade of the Museum building itself. A range of floors showcase a huge amount of exhibits, and a cornucopia of interesting galleries and detailed information. Cruisers can easily lose a day venturing down the decades old varnished wood hallways wandering from one exhibit to the next. Sights such as the 2nd floor natural history showcase, which contains a life size woolly mammoth replica and amazing dioramas of elks and bears, are particular highlights. An IMAX theatre, indigenous culture exhibit, and a perfectly recreated colonial street round out the wonderful experience to be had at this Victoria landmark no end.
For a scintillating showcase of Victoria's wine-making prowess, take a trip to the Artisan Wine Shop, which includes a tasting bar and a comprehensive range of tipple from British Columbia's finest producers. For a cult experience, visit the Government Street Market, which offers a delightful mix of street performers and hand crafted items.
For a sumptuous treat and fantastic lunch specials, the Tibetan Kitchen is a brilliant place to dine. This comfortable, wood-lined Asian eatery features noodle and curry main, but also delicacies such as ginger-marinated Shepta Beef, slow cooked to perfection. Mint is another hotspot for culinary delights. This late-night hang out is perfect for enjoying samples of international delicacies such as Nepalese and Tibetan foods, and is host to a lavish bar to boot.
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