Victoria is a Canadian city, and it is the capital of the province of British Columbia. It is also the seat of the Capital Regional District. Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is a global tourist destination. Its other main industries are government, the technology sector and the Canadian Navy.
The oldest (and most intact) Chinatown in Canada is located within Victoria. In the heart of downtown are the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the gothic Christ Church Cathedral, and the acclaimed Royal British Columbia Museum, with large exhibits on local Aboriginal peoples, Natural History and Modern History. In addition, the heart of downtown also has the Royal London Wax Museum, Victoria Bug Zoo, and the Pacific Undersea Gardens, which showcases the Giant Pacific Octopus, the Wolf Eel and other marine life of British Columbia. North of the city on the Saanich Peninsula are the Butchart Gardens, one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island, as well as the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria Butterfly Gardens and Centre of the Universe planetarium . There are also numerous National Historic Sites, such as the Fisgard Lighthouse, Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse, Hatley Castle and Hatley Park and Fort Rodd Hill, which is a coastal artillery fort built in the late 1890s, located west of the city in Colwood. Also located west of the city you will find Western Speedway, a 4/10th-mile oval and the largest in Western Canada.
Beacon Hill Park is the city's main urban green space. Its area of 75 hectares lie 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 sport of cricket, the rules of which have mystified tourists and locals alike, has been played in Beacon Hill Park since the mid-nineteenth century. 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 can be reached by air and by ferry. The Victoria International Airport has non-stop flights to and from Toronto, Honolulu (winter), Salt Lake City, Seattle and many cities throughout Western Canada. Multiple scheduled helicopter and seaplane flights are available daily between Victoria harbour and Vancouver International Airport or Vancouver harbour (35 minute flights). The BC Ferries Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, located 29 kilometers north of Victoria, is a bustling terminal with bi-hourly sailings to Tsawwassen (a ferry terminal south of Vancouver) and to many of the Gulf Islands. The Washington State Ferry terminal in Sidney, British Columbia provides ferry service to Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, and ultimately Anacortes, Washington.
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