Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is easy to get to and the many transportation choices available make getting here an exciting part of the visit. Whether by sea or air, getting to Victoria and Vancouver Island becomes a sightseeing tour of the natural beauty of the West Coast.
Located 30 minutes from downtown Victoria and five minutes from Sidney, Victoria International Airport (YYJ) has daily flights from Vancouver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma Airport, as well as direct and non-stop flights from the rest of Canada and the United States. Regular Victoria floatplane and helicopter service to Victoria's downtown Inner Harbour is available from Vancouver and Seattle.
Canadian currency is in dollars and cents. Our one dollar and two dollar denominations are coins, commonly referred to as loonies and toonies, respectively. Other denominations are bills.
Gratuities are seldom included in Canadian restaurants. It is customary to tip approximately 15 per cent on the total bill before tax, 20 per cent for exceptional service. Approximately because tipping is personal and if 10 per cent is your personal choice then tip 10 per cent, but 15 per cent is customary and (rightly or wrongly) expected. Many restaurants may charge an automatic 15 per cent or more gratuity for larger groups.
Tipping is customary in hotels. you may tip hotel staff that bring baggage to a guest room or, if a valet service is used to park a car. It is also appreciated when a tip is left for your hotel room attendant. One idea is to write 'Thank You' on a notepad and leave the tip there. Also, if the hotel concierge does something extra, such as securing theatre tickets for you it is the usual practice to leave a tip for that service.
Tipping is also customary for other service providers such as hairdressers, manicurists, aestheticians and taxi drivers. In these cases the percentage of tip is really up to the individual, but 10 per cent minimum is common.
Getting around Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands is as easy as getting here. Victoria truly is a walkable city and the picturesque Inner Harbour and downtown core are best explored on foot, but to discover the rest of the Island and the Gulf Islands, numerous options are available. By sea, air or land, getting around is a breeze.
Victoria has something to suit everyone's transportation needs. From a two seater pedi-cab to a 50+ seat bus and everything in between, Victoria has an array of options to get you from A to B.
If You Are Travelling By Air
If you are travelling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda, you must present a valid passport.
If You Are Travelling By Land Or Sea
If you are travelling by land or sea (including cruises and ferries) between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda, and you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen age 19 and older, you must present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all land and sea travel into the United States (effective June 1, 2009).
Enhanced Driver's Licences (EDLs) have been formally identified as acceptable documentation requirements for land and sea crossings. If you are a U.S. citizen and a Washington State resident, you are eligible to purchase an Enhanced Driver Licence (EDL), which will meet the requirements for proof of citizenship to re-enter the U.S. from Canada and Mexico by land or sea. Further information for Washington residents is available at the Department of Licensing website.
If you are a Canadian citizen and a British Columbia resident, further information on Canada's first Enhanced Driver's Licence for British Columbia residents is available on the ICBC website.
Located in a sub-Mediterranean zone, Victoria, British Columbia enjoys the mildest climate in Canada and the driest summers. Victoria boasts an average of 2,193 hours of sunshine yearly, and an eight month frost free season. Average annual rainfall is 84 cm or 33.1 inches (compared to over 50 inches in New York). The average monthly rainfall in winter is 13.5 cm (5.3 inches) and in the summer is less than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
Spring is mild and can arrive as early as February. While most of Canada is still buried under a blanket of snow, cherry blossoms flood city streets and the City of Gardens boasts two million blooms.
Summer is comfortably warm and dry. Victoria has a very low humidity ratio and almost constant offshore breezes keep summer days from becoming too hot and summer evenings cool. This makes Victoria the perfect location for spending all day at outdoors. Between beautiful beaches, great restaurants with sunny patios and numerous festivals and events there won't be a shortage of things to do.
Victoria often enjoys a warm, sunny September with fall arriving late in the month. Deciduous trees change colour and lawns and golf courses are green and lush throughout the winter. You can explore nature's spectacles on a relaxing fall walk and get in the Halloween spirit in the haunted capital of British Columbia.
Victoria receives rainfall during January, February and March, with occasional light snowfall. Although winters are mild and rarely include snow, warmer clothing is recommended between the months of November and March. As Victoria gets ready for Christmas, the city is filled with lights and a hot drink will keep you warm and feeling cozy.