Although Victoria is in British Columbia, it feels more like England than Canada. The city was founded in the 1800s as a Hudson Bay Co. trading post and outpost of the British Empire, populated by settlers attracted to its mild climate. Historic Victoria boasts several grand buildings, lots of shops, and aesthetic touches reflecting its English heritage. Today, part of the city's charm comes from old-world traditions juxtaposed with new-world experiences.

Victoria is also a modern, prosperous provincial capital with a diversified economy. The education, tourism and technology sectors are strong, and specialty farming has burgeoned in the nearby Saanich Peninsula and up-island Cowichan Valley. The result is a city with an international reputation for good restaurants and a penchant for outdoor activities such as whale-watching, sea kayaking, sailing and cycling. For a city of its size and scale, Victoria has an energetic, eclectic buzz. And it's only a short ferry ride or flight away from Vancouver.

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