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North America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > South Vancouver Island

South Vancouver Island

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South Vancouver Island is in Vancouver Island.

Cities[edit]

Map of South Vancouver Island
Map of South Vancouver Island region

Greater Victoria and the West Coast Road[edit]

  • 1 Victoria — The capital city of British Columbia that markets itself as a piece of England.
  • 2 Langford — The hub of "Westshore", a group of municipalities to the west of Victoria.
  • 3 Port Renfrew — A 2-hour scenic drive from Victoria on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Port Renfrew is a small west coast community that was built by logging and fishing. It sits along 150 miles of rugged uninhabited coastline.
  • 4 Sidney — A relaxing city 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, 5 minutes from the Victoria International Airport, Quiet, on the Waterfront with quaint little shops. A tourist vacation and Retirement location with waterfront walkways and bicycle paths.
  • 5 Sooke

Cowichan Valley[edit]

  • 6 Duncan — Agricultural town between Victoria and Nanaimo, home of the world's largest hockey stick. Cowichan Bay, a pretty little seaside village, is nearby.
  • 7 Chemainus — 10 minutes north of Duncan; known for its tourist-attracting murals, plenty of tourist shops and a world-class playhouse.
  • 8 Ladysmith — 20 minutes south of Nanaimo, tourist town, many shops down main street. Heritage town with restored buildings and beautiful Transfer Beach. Known for its annual Festival of Lights during the third week in November. Also voted one of the top ten towns in Canada as published by Harrowsmith Magazine.
  • 9 Lake Cowichan Lake Cowichan on Wikipedia – Community with outdoor activities on Cowichan Lake and the Cowichan River.

Other destinations[edit]

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

Most travellers will first arrive in Greater Victoria (Victoria/Sidney), either by ferry or by plane. There is also the Trans-Canada Highway that connects Victoria to the rest of the island.

By boat[edit]

BC Ferries operates three ferry routes — two to the Southern Gulf Islands and one to Metro Vancouver.

  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) - 1.5 hr sailing with 8-10 departures daily (varies by season)
  • Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) to Crofton - 25 min sailing with 10-13 departures daily
  • Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) - 35 min sailing with eight departures daily

There are also three ferries to Washington state:

By car[edit]

The main highways into South Vancouver Island are Highways 1 and 17.

  • The Trans-Canada Highway 1 BC-1 (TCH).svg runs from Victoria up the east side of the island to Nanaimo and connects with West Vancouver by ferry. The drive to Nanaimo is about 1.5 hours.
  • BC Highway 17 BC-17.svg connects the region to Metro Vancouver by ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen.

By air[edit]

Victoria International Airport YYJ IATA is the largest airport in the region with daily flights to Vancouver and some cities on the US west coast (Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco). Floatplanes and helicopters also fly into Victoria's Inner Harbour.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Victoria Harbour

Museums and culture[edit]

Ross Fountain at Butchart Gardens
  • The Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria has permanent exhibits on modern, natural and First Nations history, a number of ongoing temporary exhibits, and the largest IMAX screen in British Columbia.
  • Emily Carr, one of Canada's most famous artists, spent some of her childhood in Victoria. Her childhood home is now a museum and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria hosts a number of her paintings.
  • See restored vintage airplanes at the BC Aviation Museum and learn about local ocean life at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center, both in Sidney.
  • The domed neo-Baroque and Romanesque Revival architecture of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings is a distinctive feature of Victoria's waterfront. The buildings have free public tours.
  • Learn about logging and its history on Vancouver Island at the BC Forest Discovery Center in Duncan.
  • Perhaps more manor house than traditional European castles, Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria and Hatley Castle near Langford, have interesting architecture and are open for public viewing.

Gardens, parks and beaches[edit]

  • Butchart Gardens, in Brentwood Bay just north of Victoria, is a popular attraction with 55 acres of gardens and 900 different varieties of plants.
  • Beacon Hill Park is an urban park near downtown Victoria with views, walking paths and a petting zoo for the kids.
  • There are a range of beaches to view and relax at, ranging from neighbourhood beaches like Cadboro Bay Beach in Victoria to the rugged stony beaches of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.

Do[edit]

A section of the Galloping Goose Trail
  • A number of operaters do whale watching tours from Victoria harbour.
  • Do a multi-day hike like the Juan de Fuca Trail in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park or the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
  • Take in the views on one of the shorter hikes at many of the parks in the regions. Some notable ones include Mount Douglas Park near Victoria and Goldstream Provincial Park near Langford.
  • Much of Greater Victoria is connected by multi-use trails that are good for walking or biking. The Galloping Goose Trail connects downtown Victoria to Langford and Sooke, while the Lochside Trail connects Saanich (north of Victoria) to Sidney.
  • Halibut and salmon fishing is popular out of Port Renfrew.
  • There is good birdwatching at Sidney Spit and the Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary in Sidney, and Holland Creek near Ladysmith.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Central Vancouver Island – With beaches and big trees, hikes and kayaking, whale watching and salmon fishing, caves and surfing, the central part of Vancouver Island is a haven for outdoor recreation. Nanaimo, the largest city, is a 1.5 hour drive from Victoria on Trans-Canada Highway 1.
  • Southern Gulf Islands – The laid-back and slower paced group of islands between Victoria and Nanaimo in the Strait of Georgia.
  • Vancouver – Vibrant, multicultural and the largest city in British Columbia, Vancouver has parks, museums, trails of all types and some beautiful scenery. It's a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Swartz Bay or catch a short flight from Victoria.
  • Olympic Peninsula (Washington state) – Known for its rugged beauty with rain forests against a spine of dramatic mountains and miles of isolated beaches. It's a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Victoria across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
This region travel guide to South Vancouver Island is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.