There are many free activities available to those who tour (or live in) Victoria, British Columbia. While it’s often the destination for movie filming and a winter getaway – there are a lot of great things to do if you’re visiting the area. Here are a few to add to your list.
Dallas Road (and its Adjoining Beach), Downtown Victoria
Only minutes from the downtown core, Dallas Road winds its way around the city beside the waterfront. Its paved path is a perfect place for joggers and dog-walkers, and just down the steps from the path is a rocky beach, perfect for a lunch break for those who have been working (or shopping) downtown. Not only does Dallas Road boast a beautiful view of the ocean and spectacular oceanfront properties, beach-goers can also spot the range of Olympic Mountains across the water.
The BC Legislature in Downtown Victoria
As Victoria is the provincial capital of British Columbia, it is home to the provincial government. Overlooking the Inner Harbour of downtown, the Legislature building is majestic and the outer rock faces often form the backdrops for many wedding photo sessions. Tours are free and available to the public, and if the House is sitting, you can listen in on the debates from the gallery above.
Mt. Douglas, Victoria
Commonly referred to as ‘Mt. Doug’ by the locals, it provides not only amazing views of the city, the peninsula, the Gulf Islands, and the Olympic Mountains (you can also glimpse Mount Baker on a clear day), Mount Doug provides an easy thirty-minute hike in the Gordon Head area of Victoria. There are so many paths up the mountain that it’s difficult to find the same once twice. As the hike is so short, you need only to keep the view of the top ahead of you, and there is very little way to get lost.
For those not interested (or not able) to complete the thirty-minute hike, there is a road that winds its way almost to the top, with an amazing view of downtown Victoria from the parking lot. A short walk on a paved path takes visitors to a lookout, which includes directions and distances to the visible landmarks in the vicinity.
University of Victoria
Not necessarily a typical tourist attraction, the University of Victoria’s grounds are worth seeing. The University itself is set up around a circular road (aptly named Ring Road), with buildings on both sides of the road. The centre of campus is reserved for a large grassy area, where on a sunny day, many students can be seen studying. The recently built buildings and renovated library give the campus a new ‘shine’.
Finnerty Gardens boasts many endangered plant species, and there seems to always be something blooming in the gardens. The plants are a draw for many of the deer in the area, so there are new gates surrounding the gardens. People, however, will have no problem opening the gate to walk through the gardens or sit on one of the benches with a good book.
For a more rustic adventure, Mystic Vale is a beautiful walk on a different part of campus.
The Inner Harbour of Downtown Victoria
The Inner Harbour is the hub of most of the activity downtown — from the harbour, you can see the Legislature, the Empress Hotel, the Wax Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Undersea Gardens and the Tourist Info Centre. In the summer, the Inner Harbour is peppered with buskers, many of whom put on a very good show or have high-quality works to display. The Tall Ships Festival that comes to Victoria in June also happens in the Inner Harbour.