Victoria was born at the edge of the Inner Harbour in the 1840s and spread outward from there. The areas of most interest to visitors lie along the eastern edge of the Inner Harbour. North of the Johnson Street Bridge is the Upper Harbour, which is largely industrial but taking on new life as old buildings are redeveloped. A little farther east, the Ross Bay and Oak Bay residential areas around Dallas Road and Beach Drive reach the beaches along the open waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Victoria’s central landmark is the Fairmont Empress Hotel on Government Street, right across from the Inner Harbour. If you turn your back to the hotel, downtown is on your right, while the BC Parliament Buildings (also known as the Provincial Legislature Buildings) and the Royal BC Museum are on your immediate left. Next to them is the dock for the Seattle and Port Angeles ferries, and beyond that the residential community of James Bay, the first neighborhood in the city to be developed.
Main Arteries & Streets
Three main north-south arteries intersect just about every destination you may want to reach in Victoria. Government Street goes through Victoria’s main downtown shopping-and-dining district. Douglas Street, running parallel to Government Street, is the main business thoroughfare, as well as the road to Nanaimo and the rest of the island. It’s also Trans-Canada Hwy. 1. The “Mile 0” marker sits at the corner of Douglas Street and Dallas Road. Also running parallel to Government and Douglas streets is Blanshard Street (Hwy. 17), the route to the Saanich Peninsula—including the Sidney-Vancouver ferry terminal—and Butchart Gardens.
Important east-west streets include Johnson Street at the northern end of downtown, Belleville Street at the Inner Harbour’s southern edge, and Dallas Road, which follows the water’s edge past residential areas and beaches before it winds northward up to Oak Bay.
Finding an Address
Victoria addresses are written like those in Vancouver: The suite or room number precedes the building number. For instance, 100-1250 Government St. refers to suite 100 at 1250 Government St.
Victoria's streets are numbered from the city's southwest corner and increase in increments of 100 per block as you go north and east. (1000 Douglas St., for example, is 2 blocks north of 800 Douglas St.) Addresses for all the east-west streets (Fort, Yates, Johnson, and so on) downtown start at 500 at Wharf Street; thus, all buildings between Wharf and Government streets fall between 500 and 599, while all buildings between Government and Douglas streets fall between 600 and 699, and so on.
Street maps are available free at the Tourism Victoria Visitor Centre. The best map of the surrounding area is the “BC Provincial Parks” map of Vancouver Island, also available at the Info Centre.
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.