In Victoria, there may be more restaurants per capita here than anywhere else in Canada …There are more Tilley Hats being worn on the streets per capita than anywhere else in the world…And as a walk along the inner harbour in the early morning will verify, there are likely more dogs on leashes in Victoria than any other place in North America.

Victoria has become a favoured destination for people of all ages and lifestyles.

For decades Victoria was a just a sleepy old town, peopled firstly, by retirees whose demands were simple and whose lifestyles opposed change and secondly, by government employees who served the mainland with some disdain for its lack of appreciation of the simple things Victoria had to offer.

But as disposable income shifted more and more to travel and tourism, the natural attractions of Victoria could not be denied. Even as it has grown, it has retained its quiet demeanor. The impact of the sea and the inner harbour create an unusually calm harmony within the seemingly endless development of condominiums taking place along the waterfront.

With its British history so steeped into the fabric of Victoria life it is worth thinking differently about accommodation in this city. There certainly are fine hotels to choose from, but the bed and breakfast options are many and impressive.

Stately homes once the headquarters for high ranking politicians, judges, and magistrates dot the entire region. The Gatsby Mansion is an imposing example of traditional wealth, now available by room nights for lesser mortals like ourselves.

The rooms are quaint, the staff are exceptional, and the breakfasts are not only well made and well presented, but a large menu allows you to select from a wide range of full breakfast options. In the evening it offers a full dinner menu and is one of the most patronized tourist dining establishments in the city. And not much wonder considering its strategic location on Belleville Street which runs along the inner harbour.

As pleasant as the Victoria stay is, a day trip to the interior or the islands is a must.

The BC Ferries are frequent enough and relatively inexpensive to make an island trip very economical. Two of the most popular are Galliano Island and Salt Spring Island.

Try to time your trip to a day that the outdoor markets are in full swing, usually on Saturdays. You will notice a discernable difference in the ‘merchants’. From young hippie-like ladies, to older left-over hippies from a past generation, to savvy business types, the walk past the unusual booth offerings will keep you alert, interested, and sometimes even amused.

It’s all Canada…But if you haven’t gone beyond Vancouver you are missing a unique but vital link in the Canadian identity.