Victoria, "the City of Gardens", situated on the south-eastern tip of Vancouver Island, sparkles in one of Canada's mildest climates. The picture-perfect Inner Harbour is surrounded by many of Victoria's beautiful character buildings: the stately Empress Hotel, provincial Legislative Buildings, museums and galleries. Visitors come to view vast sculpted gardens and London-style double-decker buses, to shop for Irish linens and Harris tweeds, to sip afternoon tea, and to soak up what they believe is the last vestige of British imperialism in the Western Hemisphere. Thousands of flowers are displayed each year in the Sunken, Rose, Japanese and Italian theme gardens of the renowned Butchart Gardens. Breathtaking by day,the Gardens become a delightful fairyland on summer nights when illuminated by countless lights.
A forty minute drive south will take you from the English quaintness of Victoria to the tranquility and natural splendour of the Sooke region., " Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea. " This region is renowned for its natural splendor. Run, walk, bike or ride horseback on the Galloping Goose Trail.(during the gold rush days it was a rail line from Victoria to Leechtown.) Head to Anderson Cove and hike up Babbington Hill or Mount Maguire. Excellent fresh water, lake, or salt water fishing in Sooke and the surrounding area is a must for discerning fishers. You can enjoy freshwater, fly-fishing and drift fishing for salmon, cutthroat trout, steelhead, rainbow and brown trout.
Duncan, in the Cowichan Valley, north of Victoria, is the traditional home of the Coast Salish Indians. In summer you can watch the creation of the famous Cowichan sweaters as they are hand- knit in one piece. In this ‘City of Totems’ a unique urban forest with over 41 distinctive hand- carved cedar poles are on public display in parks and downtown streets. Beside City Hall is an unusual totem carved by a Maori craftsman - in return, a local carving was presented to Duncan's sister city of Kaikohe, New Zealand.