Victoria, British Columbia Real Estate & Community Overview



Condos in Esquamalt, along Battery Road

Victoria is located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, and is the capital of British Columbia. It is western Canada's oldest city and is home to the provincial legislature. Its island location gives it both a temperate climate and natural beauty The City of Victoria has a population of approximately 78,000, but over 330,000 (2006) live in the Victoria metropolitan area, which includes several municipalities.

Victoria is actually a mixed urban-suburban-rural metropolis made up of a number of municipalities. Pretty & historic Oak Bay lies to the east of Victoria. Further north are the municipalities of Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich and the Town of Sidney (which is both a pretty seaside town and convenient to the Tsawwassen Ferry to the Lower Mainland). To the west of Victoria are Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Metchosin and the pretty fishing village of Sooke.

Governments at all levels provide a major employment base in the City with 18 of the largest employers coming from the public sector. Many provincial government offices are located in the city, and the Canadian military maintains its Pacific fleet at Esquimalt. This provides for a very stable economic base in a province usually affected by fluctuating resource prices.

View of Victoria's Inner harbour

The climate makes the city a sports lover's paradise, with many activities available year-round including golfing and most water sports (Canada's Olympic rowing team trains here). It has excellent sports facilities as a result of hosting the Commonwealth Games a few years ago.

View of shoreline homes along Oak Bay's Cresent Rd The various communities around Victoria are tied together by the Galloping Goose Trail, a recreational trail built on a former rail line, which forms part of the Trans-Canada Trail. The University of Victoria, located in Oak Bay, attracts a lot of young adults to this active city. Not far away are the unequaled splendours of Vancouver Island's rugged west coast. Macleans magazine recently rated Victoria as the number one city in Canada in which to locate a family business.

Victoria History

In 1778 James Cook, the famous British captain, first landed at Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound on the western side of Vancouver Island. In 1793 Alexander Mackenzie, working for the fur-trading Northwest Company, took an overland route to reach the Pacific from the eastern side of the Rockies. By 1821, when the North West and Hudson's Bay companies merged, there were significant forts and trading posts in the area, with farms growing fresh produce to supply travelers, traders and the Royal Navy.

In 1842 HBC Factor James Douglas arrived in Victoria on his ship, the Beaver, arrives and surveys the are in Victoria harbour, and built what became Fort Victoria. Victoria is on the lee (downwind) side of Vancouver Island, and had wide deep harbors and a sheltered location making it an ideal Pacific base for the British Navy. In 1846, the Treaty of Washington establishes the international boundary at the 49th Parallel, and down the middle of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Royal Navy settles into Esquimalt Bay.

Condo Building off Sydney's Beacon Avenue

In 1849 the settlement officially became a British Colony, and in 1856, Vancouver island's first legislature meets. In 1858, gold was discovered in the lower Fraser River, bringing more than 25,000 prospectors (including many who gave up after the California Gold Rush of '49) , followed by gold finds in the Caribou, and on the Columbia River's Big Bend, near Revelstoke. Victoria was the jumping-off point for prospectors and grew significantly..

By 1866, the BC and the Victoria Island colonies were united, and in 1871, four years after Canada was given its independence by Britain, BC joined Canadian confederation. On the condition that Canada build a trans-continental railroad. The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885 at Craigellachie, extending as far west as Port Moody, and extended 20 kilometres into Vancouver the following year. Even before the mainland line is connected, the 120 kilometre long Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway is completed in 1884.

Moving to Victoria

Victoria is really an aggregations of a number of small urban/rural communities clustered around Victoria Harbour. For those seeking a temperate climate and even the downtown not feeling like "downtown" because its size and historical charm, This is a great place for you.


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