Greater Victoria, British Columbia

Greater Victoria, British Columbia

Greater Victoria (also known as the Greater Victoria Region) is located in British Columbia, Canada, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is a cultural rather than political entity, usually defined as the thirteen easternmost municipalities on Vancouver Island of the Capital Regional District (CRD).

Many places, buildings, and institutions associated with Victoria (the University of Victoria, Victoria International Airport, or the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, for example), actually exist outside the City of Victoria. The confusion is enhanced by the fact that Victoria is the locality indicated in the mailing addresses of places in several CRD municipalities and localities outside Victoria. This is probably reflective of many people's changing views of the whole region being Victoria, not just the central city, and indeed there have been recurrent debates on amalgamating at least some of the municipalities.


;"Core" municipalities
*The City of Victoria and the District Municipalities of Saanich, Esquimalt, and Oak Bay, which are immediately adjacent to it

;Western Communities
*The cities of Colwood and Langford, the town of View Royal, and the District Municipalities of Highlands, Metchosin, and Sooke, which lie generally west of Esquimalt Harbour and Portage Inlet

;Saanich Peninsula
*The District Municipalities of Central Saanich, North Saanich, and the town of Sidney, which lie to the north of Victoria.

This breakdown is roughly mirrored by the three school districts in Greater Victoria.
* Greater Victoria School District #61 - (the core municipalities)
* Sooke School District #62 - (the Western Communities)
* Saanich School District #63 - (the Saanich Peninsula)

Greater Victoria is the southernmost urban area in Western Canada; it is located below the 49th parallel.


This list is similar to, but not identical with, that used by the Victoria real estate sales industry. These neighborhoods have no legal definition, hence other lists of neighborhoods in the Victoria area may differ. Other sources may give different boundaries as well.
** Chinatown
** Cook Street Village
** Downtown
** East Burnside-Gorge
** Fairfield
** Fernwood
** Harris Green
** Hillside-Quadra
** Humboldt Valley
** James Bay
** Jubilee
** North Park
** Rock Bay
** Rockland
** Victoria West
* Saanich
** Arbutus
** Beaver Lake
** Broadmead-Sunnymead
** Cadboro Bay
** Cedar Hill
** Cordova Bay
** Elk Lake
** Glanford
** Gordon Head
** The Gorge
** Interurban
** Lake Hill
** Marigold
** Mayfair
** Mt. Douglas
** Mt. Tolmie
** Prospect Lake
** Queenswood
** Royal Oak
** Strawberry Vale
** Ten Mile Point
** Tillicum
** West Burnside
** West Saanich
* Oak Bay
** Gonzales
** Uplands
** Willows Beach
** Windsor Park
** South Oak Bay

* Esquimalt
** Craigflower
** Gorge Vale
** Rockheights
** Songhees
** Work Point

* View Royal
** Shoreline

* Colwood
** Belmont Park
** Colwood Corners
** Hatley Park
** Mill Hill
** Royal Roads
** Triangle Mountain
* Langford
** Bear Mountain
** Florence Lake
** Glen Lake
** Goldstream
** Luxton
** Millstream
** Ravenwood
** Thetis Heights
* Highlands
** Durrance Lake
** Thetis Lake
** Willis Point

* Metchosin
** Happy Valley
** Matheson Lake
** Rocky Point
** William Head

* Central Saanich
** Brentwood Bay
** Island View
** Saanichton
* North Saanich
** Cloake Hill
** Dean Park
** Deep Cove
** Lands End
** Patricia Bay ("Pat Bay")
** Swartz Bay
** Ardmore

* Sidney

* Sooke
** Broom Hill
** East Sooke
** Otter Point
** Kemp Lake
** Saseenos
** Whiffen Spit


The Greater Victoria region has a combined population of 330,088, according to the 2006 Canadian census [] . The region comprises two of the fifteen most populous municipalities in British Columbia (Saanich, at number seven, and Victoria at number thirteen). The Canadian Census ranks Greater Victoria as the 15th largest metropolitan area in Canada, by population. The population of the municipalities and unincorporated districts are as follows:

# Saanich 108,265
# Victoria 78,057
# Langford 22,489
# Oak Bay 17,908
# Esquimalt 16,840
# Central Saanich 15,745
# Colwood 14,687
# Sidney 11,315
# North Saanich 10,823
# Sooke 9,704
# View Royal 8,768
# Metchosin 4,795
# First Nations Reserves (part) 4,562
# Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (part) of the CRD 3,801
# Highlands 1,674


In comparison to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver and environs), the region does not enjoy a great deal of ethnic diversity. Most of the population remains of European descent. A substantial community of those of Chinese descent has existed in Greater Victoria since the latter nineteenth century, the first significant influx coming with the building of the transcontinental railway in the 1880s. There is also a substantial First Nations (indigenous) population whose ancestors have lived in the area for thousands of years. Numerous First Nations reserves, forming distinct communities, exist in the region — primarily on the Saanich Peninsula, in Esquimalt, and in the Western Communities — although the majority of the First Nations population live off-reserve.

The largest ethnic groups in Greater Victoria, according to the 2001 census, are:

#English - 131,670

#Scottish - 79,275
#Irish - 56,655
#German - 34,345
#French - 29,440
#Dutch - 13,805
#Ukrainian - 12,770
#Chinese - 11,720
#Aboriginal - 10,230


Many Victoria Region municipalities have their own fairs: Western Communities' Luxton Rodeo, Oak Bay's Tea Party, Esquimalt's Buccaneer Days, Sidney's Sidney Days, Sooke's Sooke Days, and Central Saanich's Saanich Fair. The Saanich Fair is the oldest and largest of all the Greater Victoria local fair venues; it is considered a de facto regional fair because of its greater size, content, and famous reputation. The Saanich Fair has the largest number of attendees of all the Victoria area fairs.

There is a wide variety of entertainment and recreational facilities and activities. The mild coastal climate ensures less extreme weather changes. Outdoor and indoor recreational areas are abundant throughout the region. The [ Luminara Lantern Festival] is a regionally popular cultural/artistic outdoor activity that draws thousands of visitors to Beacon Hill Park. The Victoria Tall Ships Festival showcase sailing vessels and the sailing life. []

These regional positive qualities, along with new transportation links, international high profile events (2007 NATO meeting, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 1994 Commonwealth Games), could have helped produce a socio-economic effect in terms of: attractiveness as a place of residency, low unemployment, high real estate development potential for profit, increasing immigration of new people(s), and expanding opportunities for business or economic development. High profile international attention performs its duty as a marketing, public relations, and sales catalyst for further activity. Boaters from around the world gather annually in the waters off of Vancouver Island for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

An example of this economic opportunity also lies in Victoria's geography. The April 19, 2008 "Victoria Times Colonist" newspaper printed a section, sponsored by the Downtown Victoria Business Association/DVBA, focusing on the area's downtown selection of goods and service providers. As it was in the early days with merchants supplying and outfitting gold rush prospectors, today's modern merchants supply outdoor recreation seekers before they head to other parts of Vancouver Island for surfing, kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming, cycling or whatever activities they seek.

150th Anniversary of British Columbia (2008)

In 2008, British Columbia celebrated the 150th anniversary of its designation as a crown colony (strictly speaking, it marks the anniversary of the mainland portion of the province gaining such status, Colony of British Columbia). At the same time, Victoria celebrated its 165th anniversary of its founding on the formerly separate Colony of Vancouver Island. On July 4, 2008, the main birthday party took place on the grounds of the legislature in Downtown Victoria, with approximately 40,000 people in attendance, along with Premier Gordon Campbell, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other dignitaries. Afterwards, Sarah McLachlan, Burton Cummings, Colin James, and Feist performed for the crowd at a free concert.

Notable places

Educational institutions

*Pacific Rim College (Victoria)
*Camosun College (Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria)
*Lester B. Pearson College (Metchosin)
*Royal Roads University (Colwood)
*University of Victoria (Saanich and Oak Bay)
*University Canada West (Victoria)


*Royal Jubilee Hospital (Victoria and Saanich)
*Saanich Peninsula Hospital (Central Saanich/Saanich Peninsula)
*Victoria General Hospital (View Royal)

Military installations

(Department of National Defence)

*Bay Street Armory (Victoria)
*CFB Esquimalt Dockyard (Esquimalt)
*CFB Esquimalt Naden (Esquimalt)
*Victoria International Airport Air Force Squadron detachment, (North Saanich)

Parks and natural features

*Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park (Saanich)
*East Sooke Regional Park (Juan de Fuca EA)
*Goldstream Provincial Park (Langford)
*Beacon Hill Park (Victoria)
*Francis/King Regional Park (Saanich)
*Galloping Goose Regional Trail (from Victoria west through Sooke)
*John Dean Provincial Park (North Saanich and Central Saanich)
*Gowlland Tod Provincial Park (Highlands, and Juan de Fuca EA)
*Mount Douglas Park (Saanich)
*Mount Work Regional Park (Saanich, Highlands, and Juan de Fuca EA)
*Sooke Potholes Regional Park, Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and Sooke River Provincial Park (Sooke)
*Swan Lake/Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary (Saanich)
*Thetis Lake Regional Park (View Royal, Langford, and Highlands)
*Uplands Park (Oak Bay)
*Saxe Point Park/Fleming Beach, former military defence gun bunkers/observation (Esquimalt)
*Hartland landfill, (mountain biking, tours & hiking) (Saanich)

cientific facilities

*Dominion Astrophysical Observatory/National Research Council of Canada (Saanich)
* [ Gonzales Observatory for Atmospheric Biogeochemistry Research] (Oak Bay)
* [ Institute of Ocean Sciences] /Fisheries and Oceans Canada (North Saanich)
*Geological Survey of Canada, GSC Pacific/Natural Resources Canada (Sidney)

ites of interest



*Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria)
*Craigflower Manor and Craigflower Schoolhouse (Saanich)
*Empress Hotel (Victoria)
*Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse / Parks Canada (Colwood)
*Hatley Park (Colwood)
*Ross Bay Cemetery (Victoria)
*Harling Point Chinese Cemetery (Oak Bay)
*Veteran's Cemetery (Esquimalt)
*Chinatown (Victoria)
*Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria)
*Fleming Beach, historical defence bunkers (Esquimalt)
*Emily Carr House (Victoria)
*Victoria High School (Victoria)
*Camosun College (Saanich)
*Beacon Hill Park (Victoria)
*Government House (Victoria)
*Legislature of British Columbia (Victoria)
*Helmcken House (Victoria)
*Victoria Police Department Station Museum (150 years of policing artifacts) (Victoria)


*Government House (Victoria)
*Parliament Buildings (Victoria)
*Victoria City Hall (Victoria)


*Chinatown (Victoria)
*Royal British Columbia Museum & IMAX National Geographic Theatre (Victoria)
*Thunderbird Park (Victoria)
*Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Victoria)
*CFB Esquimalt Military Museum (Esquimalt)
*Maltwood Art Gallery UVic University Centre (Saanich)


*Butchart Gardens (Central Saanich)

ports facilities

Golf (18 holes)
*Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club (Langford)
*Cedar Hill Golf Course (Saanich)
*Gorge Vale Golf Club (Esquimalt)
*Olympic View Golf Club (Langford and Colwood)
*Royal Colwood Golf and Country Club (Colwood)
*Royal Oak Golf Club (Saanich)
*Uplands Golf Club (Oak Bay)
*Victoria Golf Club (Oak Bay)

*Crystal Pool (Victoria)
*George Pearkes Recreation Centre (Saanich)
*Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre (Colwood)
*Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre arena (Victoria)
*Royal Victoria Yacht Club (Oak Bay)
*Saanich Commonwealth Place (swimming pool & library-Greater Victoria Public Library) (Saanich)
*Sandowne Park (horse racing) (North Saanich)
*Victoria Curling Club (Victoria)
*Western Speedway (motor racing) (Langford)
*Bear Mountain Arena (Colwood)
*Royal Athletic Park (Victoria)
*Centennial Stadium (track & field) (Saanich, Uvic)

Transportation and ports

*Black Ball Ferries (to Port Angeles, Washington) (Victoria)
*Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway terminus (Victoria)
*Port of Victoria (Victoria)
*Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (BC Ferries) (North Saanich)
*Victoria International Airport (North Saanich)
*Washington State Ferries (Sidney)
*Downtown Victoria, Helijet helicopter service to Downtown Vancouver, (Victoria)
*United Airlines, 2008, start of direct flights to San Francisco Bay Area, (North Saanich)
*West Jet, 2008, start of direct flights to Las Vegas, (North Saanich)

Media outlets


*Victoria Times-Colonist, regional newspaper
*Monday Magazine, entertainment weekly publication
*The Nexus, Camosun College student newspaper
*The Martlet, University of Victoria student newspaper
*News Group/Black Press community newspapers
*LookOut, newspaper of CFB Esquimalt Navy Base
*Victoria Marketplace, monthly business profiles
*Douglas Magazine, Victoria based business magazine

AM Radio

*CKMO 900 kHz
*CFAX 1070 kHz

FM Radio

*CBUX, Espace musique - 88.9
*CBCV, CBC Radio One - 90.5 MHz
*CJZN 91.3 MHz - "The Zone @ 91-3"
*CBU, CBC Radio Two - 92.1 MHz
*CIOC 98.5 MHz - "The Ocean"
*CKKQ 100.3 MHz - "100.3 The Q!"
*CFUV 101.9 MHz - CFUV, University of Victoria
*CHTT 103.1 MHz - "JACK FM"
*CHBE 107.3 MHz - "Kool FM"


*Channel 6: CHEK (CH)
*Channel 11: SHAW (Shaw TV)
*Channel 53, Cable 12: CIVI (A-Channel)

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