A traveler’s mind is always looking for new places to explore. I’m a passionate traveler and living my life currently in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I’m living here for two years, and I have explored almost all the beautiful tourist attractions around Metro Vancouver. So far, I love this city very much, and I know nearly everything about it. So, my mind was looking for something new to explore. This time of COVID-19 pandemic is hard for travelers around the world. Moving from here and there becomes too limited. If we get a chance to move, it’s now a piece of gold dust for us. So, I had my chance to visit a new place about a few days ago, and I didn’t waste any time. I completed an amazing day trip to Victoria, a beautiful city and the capital of British Columbia located in the Greater Vancouver Island. I was planning to visit Victoria since I moved to Vancouver, but I was so busy with my schedule. Finally, I got my chance and had a fantastic day.
Before explaining my entire day trip, let’s talk about the city of Victoria in brief. As we all know, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, but this is a tiny city compared to Metro Vancouver’s size. The actual city’s size is very small, but the Greater Victoria zone is the largest municipality here on Vancouver Island. Greater Victoria includes the small regions of Sidney, Langford, Highlands, Colwood, and other small regions apart from the city of Victoria. In the British era, this city used to be a big garden and a recreational place for the rulers and merchants. In 1868, Victoria became the capital of the British Columbia Province. Now, this city is famous for its beaches on the south coast, Beacon Hill Park, Fishermen Wharf, BC Museum, Art Gallery, and the Legislative Building. It has two big shopping malls, which are The Bay Centre and the Mayfair Mall. The University of Victoria is the most significant institute located here on Vancouver Island. A far away from Downtown Victoria, a provincial park named Goldstream Provincial Park has some old trestles and beautiful falls.
That’s all about the brief description of Victoria. Let’s talk about my journey now. It was a beautiful sunny day. I started my journey at 8 am in the morning. Right now, I have no car. So, I am heavily reliant on public transits. In the morning, I was in a rush. I took a skytrain and two busses to reach Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. The double-decker bus ride from Bridgeport Station to Ferry Terminal was nice for me. My seat was on the top deck in the very front row. So, I will suggest you take your seat at that position inside the bus. You may have an amazing journey from there. I was worried about my arrival at the ferry terminal because I had to reach there at least half an hour before the ferry departure. That’s why I was hurrying up. I managed to get there about 35 minutes ago, which was a big relief for me. Then I checked in for the ferry as a walking passenger. One thing that I need to tell you all. If you are relying on public transits, then check the schedules before starting your journey. Keep enough time in your hand. Google can help you with that. After entering the ferry, I began to walk around inside it. Well, nothing was surprisingly special for me. Everything inside was as usual because this was not my first-time ferry ride. I stepped into different types of passenger ferries in many countries before. The ferry was like a regular passenger ferry, but its inside arrangement was pleasant enough for a couple of hour’s journey. The name of that ferry was “Queen of Westminster.” I really don’t know about the story behind its name. The ferry departed from the terminal at 10 am, and my actual journey was started from there.
The Queen of Westminster started to move through the bay. The beginning of my journey was as usual. There was nothing special, just like a regular maritime journey. I didn’t move from the lobby inside the ferry. I was listening to my favorite playlist and drinking coffee. After an hour, I looked through the window to my next. I saw some beautiful views. I immediately went to the open deck. The ship was actually moving through the canal between two islands. One side was the Greater Vancouver Island, and the other side was the North Pender Island. I also saw Galiano Island and Mayne Island as well. I was eventually busy with taking photographs and selfies, but I managed to discover the names of those islands through my research. I captured some beautiful views through my camera lens. I have never seen those views before in my life. I wished that the journey never ends, but the ferry reached Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal exactly in time. It was a 90 minutes journey. The ferry terminal is located in the Sidney region of Greater Victoria. I took a double-decker bus to reach Downtown Victoria. This was quite a boring journey, by the way. I planned to explore the three foremost attractions of Victoria. My plan was to visit the Finlayson Point of Beacon Hill Park, the Ogden Point of James Bay, and the Legislative building at last. I was fully prepared to take a long walk after arriving at the downtown bus top to reach Finlayson Point. But I became fully surprised after leaving the bus.
The bus ride took an hour from my day, but I was surprised when I stepped outside. I planned to visit the Legislative building last, but it was right in front of me when I stepped outside. I changed my plan straight away and started to explore its surroundings. The building looks just like a huge palace. The building was built in 1897. Since then, this is using as a provincial parliamentary building. Actually, this is the headquarter of the BC provincial government. There is a big open compound in front of the building. Tourists from all across the globe come here to take a look. This is the signature landmark of Victoria. You can even explore inside of the building. It’s free of cost, and some volunteers will escort you to the inside exploration. But you need to be there on time because no one can go inside after 12 pm. It was past 12 pm when I arrived there, and I didn’t go inside. So, I started to capture photographs and selfies. Then I became surprised again when I went very close to the building. I saw so many dolls, stuffed toys, puppets, teddy bears, and children’s shoes at the Parliament Buildings’ front facade. It was pretty shocking. I was thinking what the hell was happening there. I immediately looked into my phone’s screen and had short research on Google. I found out that the BC Legislature symbolized their apology to the Indigenous people after a mass grave of 215 indigenous children found in Kamloops, BC. I heard that news about a long while before coming here. It was really very sad. But I think the authority is doing the right thing now. That’s all about my exploration of the Legislative assembly building. I started to walk to reach the Finlayson Point of Beacon Hill Park.
I walked around 25 minutes to get there. It was a lovely place located in Beacon Hill Park. Let’s talk about Beacon Hill Park at first. It is an iconic recreational place in the town, just like Stanley Park in Vancouver. This park is not so big as Stanley Park, but not so small so far. It has a total area of 200 acres. This park was established in 1882 by an initiative of Sir James Douglas, former governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. Inside the park, there is an iconic pond that defines the identity of this Beacon Hill Park. We usually see the picture of that pond in the postcards and posters. But I didn’t see that pond. I straight away went to the Finlayson Point from the Legislative assembly building. There are many viewpoints you will have inside the park. We can talk about Spiral Beach Point, Clover Point, Steve Foyno Point, Mile Zero Point, etc. Each and every one of them offer beautiful views. But the Finlayson Point is the most popular among them. I saw some magnificent views. It was like I was watching the endless ocean from the top of the hill. I remembered my trip to Bali, Indonesia. I was exhausted when I arrived there, but the southern breeze removed all of my tiredness. I became all relaxed within a second. I also discovered some rocky beaches far away from the footstep. There were some benches for relaxing located at the edges of the hill. After relaxing for a while, I started to take some photographs. Then I left the place with a happy mind and went out for my next destination in Victoria, the Ogden Point of James Bay.
I was walking towards Ogden Point with a refreshed mind. The weather was very sunny, but the ocean breeze was blowing rapidly from the south. I was actually walking on the pathway located just beside the ocean. On the way to my walk towards Ogden Point, I discovered some other viewpoints as well. I discovered Harrison Yacht Pond and took some photos. I saw Victoria Beach from the top of the cliff. I also stopped at Dallas Road Staircase, which is a beautiful viewpoint. After walking around for another 25 minutes, I reached Ogden Point. This is a fantastic place. Ogden Point is a deepwater port facility located in the southwestern corner of the city. There is a long pier pierced through James bay. For me, the pier was way too long, and it is probably the longest pier in BC, in my opinion. Walking through the pier was quite enjoyable for me. The weather suddenly became windy. It was a long way to cross, and I eventually started to feel cold. So, I had to take out my jacket from my backpack. Then I reached the endpoint. From there, you will be able to see the endless ocean. If you see some floating lands or islands, you are watching the parts of The United States. On the west, I saw some neighborhoods located just beside the coastline. The houses in there looked beautiful. At the very endpoint, I saw a tower. It must be used for maritime traffic control. On the way, I saw many cargo ships as well. On the way to go back, I saw those same views. After reaching the starting point of the pier, I became really very tired. I was about to take an Uber, but I became surprised once again. Uber is still not available in this region. This is a capital city, but there is no Uber. I didn’t see so many taxis around this downtown area as well. Really, it is a very tiny city. I saw many people were cycling around, and some people were roaming around the city through horse carts.
My next destination was the fishermen’s wharf. I had no option to take a ride, and there was no bus stop around. So, I started to walk towards the fishermen’s wharf. It took me almost another 22 minutes. I thought there would be a fish market like Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf, but I saw no seafood market there. The docks at there were very crowded. There are many restaurants located over there, and most of them offer various types of seafood. I sat in a Mexican Seafood Restaurant and had a seafood-rice burrito wrap. I wanted to explore this area very profoundly, but I had to catch my returning ferry to Vancouver. So, I went back. Besides that, there was nothing special. I saw some fishing boats, some tugboats, and few leisure vessels around the jetty.
Again, I walked for 15 minutes to reach the bus stop, where I started my Victoria walking trip. In total, I walked from here and there for around 100 minutes and explored three amazing places. I took the same bus on my returning journey and arrived at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal a bit early this time. After waiting in the terminal lobby for around half an hour, my return journey began. I really forget the name of the returning ferry, but the ferry wasn’t good like the first one. There was no open deck. This time, I took a coffee and started to read some articles on my tablet. I arrived in Vancouver in time, and that’s how my journey ended.
What else you can explore in an entire day
I was in Victoria for approximately six hours. But if you want to stay longer than that, you can explore the BC Museum, Art Gallery, the central area of Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle, and the small town of Sidney, which is a lovely town. You can explore Tulista Park in Sidney. There are few small markets which you will find in the central town. I actually visited Victoria once again after a few days later. I explored the main area of Beacon Hill Park and Craigdarroch Castle on that day. I saw the entire town of Sidney from the bus. But those explorations are not part of this day trip, which I’m explaining. Still, I’m sharing my captured photos of explorations.
- Check transit schedule times online through Google or any other helpful app if you are about to take transit. Take a day pass for BC transit for $5. So, you will be able to move around as much as you can for the entire day.
- Try to make an advance online booking for ferry rides. You may not get any tickets at the terminal kiosk, and it could affect your schedule.
- You will take bus no. 70 of BC Transit. It touches many significant points in the Greater Victoria region like the airport, Mayfair shopping mall, BC museum, etc.
- There is no Uber, and taxis are limited. So, keep those in your mind when you are about to make your trip plan. You can take a ride on a tourist bus, but it may become costly for you.
- If you want to make a stopover in Sidney town, then take bus no. 72 from the Legislative building area while returning to Swartz Bay Terminal.
So, travel more & be happy. Always remember that your mobility is your freedom.
Picture Source – Self Captured Pictures.