Victoria, British Columbia

From Academic Kids

This article refers to the city of Victoria. Information on Greater Victoria can be found in the Greater Victoria article.

Template:Canadian City Victoria is a Canadian city, and the provincial capital of British Columbia.

Victoria also refers to Greater Victoria including this municipality and those immediately surrounding it. It is also the seat of the Capital Regional District.


Location and population

Located near the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island, and overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Greater Victoria has a population of approximately 335,000. It is the largest city on Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver, which lies two hours northeast by ferry on the British Columbia mainland). The city's chief industries are tourism and government. The township of Esquimalt, which forms part of greater Victoria, is the base for the Pacific Fleet of the Canadian Forces.

Victoria is the southernmost city in western Canada, as it is located below the 49th parallel.


Racial make-up

  • White: 87.2%
  • Chinese: 3.7%
  • Aboriginal: 3.0%
  • South Asian: 1.4%
  • Black: 1.2%

Many of the Chinese descend from immigrants who came during the 1800's. Th Those over 65 constitute a larger proportion than those under 14, resulting in a meagre growth of 0.5% yearly.


Prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the late 1700s, the Victoria area was home to several communities of Coast Salish peoples, including the Songish (Songhees). The Spanish, British and Americans took up the exploration of the northwest coast of North America in earnest in the 1770s. Spanish sailors visited Esquimalt harbour (within the modern Capital Regional District) in 1790 and again in 1792. Founded by James Douglas in 1843 as Fort Camosun (after the "camosack" a type of wild lily native to southern Vancouver Island), a Hudson's Bay Company post, the settlement was later called Fort Victoria. The Songhees established a village across the harbour from the fort. The Songhees' village was later moved north of Esquimalt. When Vancouver Island became a crown colony, a town was laid out on the site and made the capital of the colony. With the discovery of gold on the British Columbia mainland in 1858, Victoria became the port, supply base, and outfitting centre for miners on their way to the Cariboo gold fields. In 1866 when the island was politically united with the mainland, Victoria remained the capital of the colony and became the provincial capital in 1871.

Victoria was incorporated as a city in 1862. In 1865 Esquimalt was made the North Pacific home of the Royal Navy, and remains Canada's west coast naval base.

Victoria's Inner Harbour with the Provincial Legislature in the background.
Victoria's Inner Harbour with the Provincial Legislature in the background.

In 1886, with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus on Burrard Inlet, Victoria's position as the commercial centre of British Columbia was irrevocably lost to the City of Vancouver. The city subsequently began cultivating an image of genteel civility within its natural setting, an image aided by the impressions of visitors such as Rudyard Kipling, the opening of the popular Butchart Gardens in 1904 and the construction of the Empress Hotel by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1908. Robert Dunsmuir, a leading industrialist whose interests included coal mines and a railway on Vancouver Island, constructed Craigdarroch Castle in the Rockland area, near the official residence of the province's lieutenant-governor. His son James Dunsmuir became premier and subsequently lieutenant-governor of the province and built his own grand residence at Hatley Park (used for several decades as a military college, now Royal Roads University) in the present City of Colwood.

A real estate and development boom ended just before the World War I, leaving Victoria with a large stock of Edwardian public, commercial and residential structures that have greatly contributed to the City's character. A number of municipalities surrounding Victoria were incorporated during this period, including the Township of Esquimalt, the District of Oak Bay and several municipalities on the Saanich peninsula. After World War II Victoria has seen relatively steady growth, becoming home to two major universities. Since the 1980s the western suburbs have been incorporated as new municipalities, such as the City of Colwood and the District of Langford. The thirteen municipal governments within the Capital Regional District afford the residents a great deal of local autonomy, although there are periodic calls for amalgamation.


Victoria's Inner Harbour with The Empress hotel in the background.
Victoria's Inner Harbour with The Empress hotel in the background.

Victoria's climate is temperate, with daily temperatures rarely rising above 30 C (86 F) or falling below 0 C (32 F). In January, the average daily high and low temperatures are 7.0 C (44.6 F) and 3 C (37.4 F), respectively. In July, Victoria enjoys the moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean, averaging a daily high of 19.8 C (67.6 F) and low of 11.3 C (52.3 F). The record daily high temperature was 35.3 C (95.5 F) on July 23, 2004, and the record daily low temperature was -15.6 C (3.9 F) on January 28, 1950.

Victoria experiences a moderately wet winter, but suffers from drought-like conditions during the summer. The average January precipitation is 94.3 mm (3.71 inches), compared to just 14.0 mm (0.5 inches) in July. In January, Victoria receives an average of 15.2 cm (6.1 inches) of snow, a figure skewed by the record-breaking Great Blizzard of 1996, when the city was buried under 120 cm (4 feet) of snow, receiving 64.5 cm (25.8 inches) in just one day. Generally speaking, however, snow is an uncommon occurence even in the coldest months, and is usually limited to one or two brief dustings per year.

Victoria's equable climate has also added to its reputation as the "City of Gardens". With its mild temperatures and plentiful sunshine (2193.3 hours per year), Victoria boasts gardens that are home to many plant species rarely found elsewhere in Canada. Several species of palms, eucalyptus, and certain varieties of bananas can be seen growing throughout the area's gardens.

Due to its Mediterranean-like climate, Southern Vancouver Island is also home to many rare native plants found nowhere else in Canada, including Quercus garryana (Garry oak), Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy manzanita), and Canada's only broadleaf evergreen tree, Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone). Many of these endangered species exist here at the northern end of their range, and are found as far south as Central and Southern California, and even parts of Mexico.

  • Climate statistics from the Gonzales Heights weather station:[1] (

Other facts

According to Statistics Canada, Victoria's crime rate in 1999 was the 2nd highest in the country (11,865 crimes per 100,000 population). By 2002, Victoria was ranked 5th for overall crime (10,146 crimes per 100,000 population). These figures, however, represent the skewing effect of considering crimes committed in "downtown" Victoria in relation only to the "downtown" population. The Greater Victoria area comprises 13 separate municipalities (total pop. 335,000). The City of Victoria (pop. 78,000) acts as "downtown" for all of the outlying municipalities, hence the counter-intuitive, inflated crime figures.

Missing image
One of the stone lions that guards the gate of Chinatown in Victoria

It is the seat of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. The oldest (and most intact) Chinatown in Canada is also within Victoria. In the heart of downtown is the acclaimed Royal British Columbia Museum, with large exhibits on local First Peoples, Natural History and Modern History. North of the city on the Saanich Peninsula are the Butchart Gardens, one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island. There are also two National Historic Sites, Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill, a coastal artillery fort built in the late 1890s.

Beacon Hill Park is the city's main urban greenspace. It comprises more than 62 hectares along Victoria's southern shore, and includes numerous playing fields, manicured gardens, exotic species of plants and animals such as wild peacocks, and a petting zoo. The park also includes a few areas of natural Garry oak meadow habitat, an increasingly scarce ecosystem that once dominated the region. Each summer, Beacon Hill Park plays host to several outdoor concerts, and the popular Luminara Community Lantern Festival.

Victoria is served by Victoria International Airport and several ferry terminals to Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and Washington state.

People born in Victoria include:

NBA star Steve Nash, although born in South Africa, grew up in Victoria.

Victoria serves as the western terminus (Mile Zero) for Canada's Trans Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world.



Grades 10-12
Students: 1600
Location: 3067 Jacklin Rd, Langford, BC, V9B 3Y7
Grades 9-12
Students: 1100
Location: Wesley Rd, Victoria, BC
Grades: 9-12
Students: 1000
Location: 847 Colville Rd, Esquimalt, BC
Grades: K-12
Grades: K-12
Students: 200
Location: 98 Cadillac Avenue, Victoria, B.C., V8Z 1T4
Grades: 8-12
Location: 4139 Torquay Dr, Victoria, B.C.
Grades: 9-12
Students: 1130
Location: 3970 Gordon Head Rd, Victoria, B.C.
Grades: 8-12
Students: 1350
Location: 2151 Cranmore Road, Victoria, B.C., V8R 1Z2
Grades K-12
Students: 900
Location: 654 Agnes Street, Victoria, B.C., V8Z 2E6
  • Reynolds (
Grades: 9-12
Students: 900
Location: 3963 Borden Street, Victoria B.C., V8P 3H9
Grades: 9-12
Students: 1200
Location: 957 Burnside Rd W, Victoria B.C., V8Z 6E9
Grades K-12
Students: 400
Location: 1080 Lucas Avenue, Victoria, B.C., V8X 3P7
Grades: K-12
Students: 850
Location: 3400 Richmond Road, Victoria, BC, V8P 4P5 (Senior Campus)
Grades: 9-12
Location: 1260 Grant St, Victoria B.C., V8T 1C2
Grades: 8-12
Location: 880 McKenzie Ave.


Sports teams

Media outlets


AM Radio

FM Radio


  • Channel 6: CHEK (CH)
  • Channel 53: CIVI (The New VI)

See also


External links

Template:Canada capitals

da:Victoria (Canada)

de:Victoria (Kanada) fr:Victoria (Colombie-Britannique) he:ויקטוריה (קולומביה הבריטית) ja:ヴィクトリア (カナダ) pt:Victoria (Colmbia Britnica) simple:Victoria, British Columbia


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