Victoria, British Columbia Travel information on TransCanadaHighway.com
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
74,000, but over 300,000 live in the Victoria metropolitan area, which includes
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 ream trains here). It has excellent sports facilities as a result of hosting the Commonwealth Games a few years go. The city is home to University of Victoria, in the community of Oak Bay, which 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.
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.
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.
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.
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