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For years, Victoria marketed itself quite successfully as a little bit of England on the North American continent. While the Empire Englishness still remains, the place that once only seemed to attract "the newly wed and the nearly dead" has ramped up its appeal. The city has become cool. Restaurants have a collective focus on sublimely fresh, local, seafood, ethnic, and fusion cuisines, most of which have innovative spins that make food intriguingly delicious. Among the top draws to Victoria are all its eco-activities -- whale-watching, kayaking, wind surfing, cycling, hiking, and mountain-biking have added a "natural" cache to its traditional London-style double-decker bus tours. The result? Victoria is the only city in the world where you can zoom out on a boat in the morning to see a pod of killer whales and make it back in time for an expansive afternoon tea. Still, life in Victoria remains much quieter and more laid-back than life in glam-seeking Vancouver. And that's part of Victoria's charm.

Pulling Rank

Vancouver is consistently ranked one of the "most livable cities" in the world, and Victoria earns some kudos, too. This ranking business always seems a bit silly but it does provide a snapshot insight in terms of expectations. Here are some recent rankings for Vancouver and Victoria, based on a variety of factors, surveys, and statistics used by various magazines and organizations:

Vancouver

  • "Best City in the Americas" (Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2004)
  • "World's most liveable city" (The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Rankings, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005)
  • "Most Walkable City in Canada" (Up! Magazine, 2010, 2009)
  • "Highest quality of life in the world" (Mercer Human Resource Consulting, 2010, 2009)
  • "Number One gay travel destination in Canada" and "Number Two international gay travel destination" (Community Marketing, Inc., 2008)
  • "6th most overpriced real estate market in the world," second in North America after really overpriced Los Angeles (Forbes)
  • "10th cleanest city in the world" (Forbes)

Victoria

  • "Number One Destination to Visit in Canada (TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice, 2010)
  • "Best City for Young Professionals to Live and Work (Canada's "Next Cities," 2009)
  • "Best Place to Live (MoneySense, 2009)
  • "Top 10 Romantic Destinations (Gayot.com, 2009)
  • "Top North American Island (Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards, 2008)

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.