Is there anyone out there who has ever thought, “You know… I’d love to move to Canada, but it’s just too cold?”
If you have, we have a solution-- and a city-- for you.
Say hello to Victoria.
Victoria, British Columbia, is located on Vancouver Island at the far-west of Canada. The summers here average in the 20s temperature-wise and the winters… well, they’re surprisingly pleasant. Average temperatures fall to 2-5 degrees in the winter months, which means there’s plenty of time and opportunity to explore the winter season both indoors and outdoors.
We’ve put together a list of some of our ways to enjoy wintertime in Victoria, and we hope you’ll enjoy these activities just as much as we do!
Take a look at our must-do list:
Spend Christmas (and winter) at the Butchart Gardens
Just a short trek outside the city, the Butchart Gardens are a delightful retreat any time of year.
Christmastime brings festive light displays and more. During normal holiday times, the Gardens are filled with carolers, ice skating and events. While those options may not be available during COVID, the visit is still well-worth it.
And, the Gardens are truly worth a visit during the rest of the winter (and the rest of the year!) as well. If you’re longing for the return of spring, the prelude indoor display showcases the earliest return of gorgeous spring blossoms.
Another thing you should know if you’re moving to Victoria: the Gardens are just a subtle reminder of the green beauty throughout our area. One of Victoria’s nicknames is The City of Gardens, so bring your spade and seeds - you might find yourself developing a green thumb as a resident!
Check Out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition
This traveling Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition makes a stop annually in Victoria, and brings with it majestic photography captured around the world.
The exhibit can be viewed at the Royal BC Museum, and attendees can observe the photography and read the stories that accompany the display of each picture.
Explore the Rest of the Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum has an influence that stretches far beyond the city and throughout the province. If you’re lucky enough to move to Victoria, you’ll have these cultural gems at your fingertips daily.
Some of the most interesting artifacts in the museum call to mind our long-past history, including a gallery featuring history and artifacts of the First Peoples.
The Museum also offers learning experiences for young scholars and scientists, snack and drink options (including at times a food truck/car collection outside), and an IMAX theatre.
Indulge in a Tasty Treat at Rogers’ Chocolate
You don’t have to enjoy Rogers’ Chocolates only in winter. It just seems like the holidays are a season that calls out for special confectionary delights, whether you want to have them for yourself or share them with coworkers and neighbors.
Victoria Creams are the most quintessentially Canadian chocolate out there, created in the late 1800s by our country’s first chocolatiers, Charles and Leah Rogers. These creamy delights feature creamy milk and/or dark chocolate coatings around a center of indulgently delightful cream.
And, if you’re looking for a warm way to enjoy a little chocolate goodness, you can also purchase fondue wafers you can melt, share and enjoy with friends or family in a cozy setting.
Treat Yourself with a Spa Day
Chocolate isn’t the only way to treat yourself in Victoria. After a long day of work, putting up holiday decorations, or supervising your moving crew, you deserve the opportunity to unwind at one of the city’s famous spas or resorts.
Some of the most renowned spas in the Victoria area include:
- Spa Magnolia, well-known for its organic treatments
- Willow Stream Spa, located at the luxurious Fairmont Empress, ranked as one of the top spas in the Americas
- Boathouse Spa, where you can enjoy a wintertime dip in one of three heated pools overlooking the sea.
Get Your Holiday Shopping Done at Bay Centre
Bay Centre is the shopping hub of downtown Victoria, one where you can find almost anything you need, and plenty of things you want as well.
Shop at stores ranging from chocolatiers to beauty purveyors; grab a bite to eat at one of the Centre’s many restaurants; and enjoy the festive holiday decorations, all without stepping out into the wintry weather (unless you really want to!).
Explore the Outdoors at Victoria’s Beautiful Public Parks
Our mild winters in Victoria make it easy to spend time exploring the outdoors. Some of our favorite outdoor areas include:
- Goldstream Provincial Park, where you can hike, make the acquaintance of 600-year-old Douglas firs and gaze in awe at our own version of Niagara Falls.
- Cadboro-Gyro Park, where you can explore the sandy beaches and let kids play on a unique playscape made up of sea creature play sculptures, including one modeled after our own Cadborosaurus, a legendary sea serpent reputed to roam the Cadboro Bay.
Along with everything else we’ve mentioned, you can also gain easy access to ski slopes a few hours outside Victoria, as well as plan winter fishing trips. Victoria/Vancouver Island’s milder climate makes it possible to partake of early steelhead runs on some of the local rivers.
There’s so much to love about Victoria in the winter - you’ll love it just as much as the rest of the seasons in our pleasant, green, friendly community.
If you’re considering moving to Victoria, we’re ready to help and to give you a warm and sunny welcome to the community, whether you move here in January or June.
Photo by Kosuke Noma.