The capital of British Columbia, and a popular tourist destination, Victoria BC is traditionally known for its afternoon teas, Butchart Gardens and the Empress Hotel. Yet, there is a lot more to this city that meets the eye. Victoria’s rich history, amazing weather and West Coast lifestyle, make for a picturesque destination with many hidden gems to discover! Here are 10 fun and unusual facts about Victoria that will have you see this city under a new light!
1. Fort Victoria as a Fur Trading Post
Victoria was founded in 1843 as a Hudson’s Bay fur trading post. The HBC building was located where the Empress Hotel stands today. Up until 1858, Fort Victoria as it was known back then, was home to only 58 residents. This drastically changed with the discovery of gold in the Fraser River later that year.
2. Home to Canada’s Oldest Chinatown
Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown and second oldest in North America after San Francisco. The Fraser Valley gold rush in 1858 brought an influx of immigrants to Fort Victoria, many of whom were Chinese. They built a dense neighbourhood of businesses, schools, brothels, temples and homes into what it is known today as Chinatown. You can still find there Fan tan alley, the narrowest ally in all of Canada.
3. Mile 0 of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The World’s longest highway begins at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria’s James Bay neighbourhood. Almost 8,000 km long, the Trans-Canada highway connects the country from West-to-East all the way to St.-John’s Newfoundland. By driving all day, it would take about a week to complete the journey.
4. Victoria, the City of Gardens.
With over 70 parks, 2,183 hours of sunshine and surprisingly warm weather (especially for Canada), it come to no surprise that Victoria is also known as the “City of Gardens”. In 2019, the local residents conducted their annual flower count, resulting in 44,588,324,077 blooms within the Greater Victoria area.
5. Top Bike-Friendly City in Canada
Thanks to its extensive cycle paths and bike lanes, including the ever popular Galloping Goose Regional Trail that connects all surrounding municipalities, Victoria has been recognized as Canada’s most bike-friendly city. Around 10% of its residents commute to work on a bike, and countless tourists choose cycling as their main transportation mode while visiting the city.
6. A Foodie Haven
A foodie haven, Victoria has the 2nd highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, shortly behind San Francisco. The city’s multicultural population and accessibility to locally grown produce, makes for a unique and quality food selection that can satisfy any palate.
7. Not your Typical West Coast Rainfall
Thanks to the rain shadow of Washington’s Olympic Mountains, Victoria’s average annual rainfall is 50% less than that of Vancouver, Seattle or New York, with 608 mm of rain per year, compared to Vancouver’s 1,589 mm. Almost two thirds of its precipitation fall between November and February, setting aside many months of sunshine during spring and summer.
8. Craft Beer Capital of British Columbia
Home to famous labels such as Vancouver Island Brewers or Phillips, Victoria also features over a dozen micro-breweries, including Canada’s first brewpub, Spinnakers. Swans, Moon Under Water or Hoyne are a few of the many locals beers that are proudly served in restaurants and pubs across the city.
9. World-Class Diving
National Geographic has recognized Vancouver Island and Victoria’s surrounding waters as one of the best cold-water diving destinations in the World. Rated by Jacques Cousteau Society as second only to the Red Sea for marine life diversity, there are many local diving companies that will have you discover the magic of life beneath the waves.
10. Castles, X-Men and Romance
Victoria is home to two castles, both built at the turn of the 20th century by the Dunsmuir family. Beautifully restored, Craigdarroch Castle is located near Victoria’s downtown core, and was built in a Romanesque style, inspired by 12th century French and Italian designs. Kept in its original state, the castle gives you a glimpse of life as it was during the Victorian times. Hatley Castle, completed in 1908 was built in Tudor architectural style, found in many Scottish castles. Located on a vast estate in the outskirts of Victoria, the site is now home to Royal Roads University and has become a popular movie location that include blockbuster such as X-men and Deapool.
Book a stay at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel or Pendray Inn and Tea House and (re)discover the many hidden gems Victoria has to offer. For more information, send us an email or call 1-800-663-7557.
One of the oldest cities on the West Coast, Victoria has a rich and fascinating history unlike any other. Through impressive architecture and scenic gardens, our beautiful coastal capital tells the stories of its Indigenous, British and Asian settlers. And these stories are lovingly preserved in Victoria’s many museums, which are frequented by thousands of visitors every year. Discover your favourite piece of the Victoria puzzle by checking out these local museums.
On July 1st, we are celebrating our Canadian pride and inviting everyone to our Community Free Pancake Breakfast at the Huntingdon Manor. Kick off your Canada Day festivities in our very own gardens and take part in a morning of Canadian-themed entertainment, period costumes and kids’ activities. Discover why Victoria is the perfect place to spend Canada Day weekend, while you enjoy breakfast beside the Inner Harbour.
On April 22nd 2018, the world will come together to celebrate Earth Day, an annual event that supports and promotes environmental awareness. The first ever Earth Day in 1970 is widely regarded as the origin of the modern environmental movement, and now over 195 countries and 1 billion people participate in Earth Day initiatives every year. Here at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel, we love being green and are committed to protecting the earth around us. All week, we are celebrating Earth Day with eco-conscious activities and invite you to join us!
From the manicured gardens of Government House to the lively pubs dotted around the city, Victoria stays true to its strong British roots. A tradition that is alive and well in Victoria—and also quintessentially British—is the ceremony of afternoon tea. The Pendray Inn & Tea House is one of several tearooms across the city that serves up an authentic afternoon tea experience, just like our well-mannered friends across the pond. But have you ever wondered how this fun and festive custom came to be?
One of the worst-kept secrets about Victoria is its amazing food scene. Victoria has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Canada and is second overall in North America, only behind San Francisco. With delicious bites hiding around every corner, our beloved City of Gardens is a destination for intrepid foodies.
Love is in the air this month (or is that the smell of hash browns?), so why not treat you and your loved one to a well-deserved brunch date? After all, Food Network calls Victoria the “brunch capital of Canada” and rightly so. Take your boo to one of these cozy, romantic brunch spots.
Happy New Year, everyone! With January in full swing, it’s officially time to set new goals and unleash your best self to the year ahead. Now is truly the best time to create new experiences or re-ignite past endeavours. This year, we are even more committed to the cause of sustainability. Our mission as a hotel has always been to make people feel comfortable and invited, but in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible.
The holiday season has arrived in full force at the hotel and it is no mystery why. Victoria is one of Canada’s premier destinations for holiday-goers in the winter. Visitors stream into the city to escape harsher climates and experience the year-round beauty our charming little city offers.
A traditional Christmas in Victoria, BC
The celebration of Christmas comes from many backgrounds and centuries of tradition, but no era in history has influenced Christmas as much as the Victorian times. At the Pendray Inn and Tea House located in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, we offer an authentic Victorian Christmas experience with an elegant old-world setting, vintage decoration and traditional Winter Afternoon Tea.
A Helping Hand for Those in Need in Victoria, BC
During this Holiday season, the Huntingdon Manor Hotel is once again working closely with Victoria Women’s Transition House Society who for the past forty years, has been providing shelter and comfort to those needing of a safe place while rebuilding their lives.
With this in mind, we are organizing our 2nd annual Christmas Stockings Donation to the Transition House, looking to bring some hope and joy where it is needed most. We’re inviting anyone who‘s interested in participating to donate a Christmas stocking with unwrapped gifts that would be appropriate for children, teenagers or women. The exterior of the stocking should indicate your name or business, as well as the gender and age range of the recipient.
Some gifts suggestions include baby clothing, colouring books, games, school supplies, or winter clothing for children. For women, nice toiletries, beauty products or gift cards from Fairway Market or Walmart are always welcomed.
The stockings are to be delivered at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel’s front desk during the first two weeks of December. All stockings will be displayed throughout the month at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel.
If you would like more information, please contact our Front Desk at 1-800-663-7557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you in advance for your kindness,
The Huntingdon Manor Hotel Staff
Welcome to the Huntingdon Manor Blog page!
This is where you’ll find our latest news, information about upcoming promotions at the hotel, announcements about fun local events and just about anything else that happens to be on our mind. Come check us out!
Matthew Gomez is a guest services specialist and writer. His passion for hospitality comes from his love of travel, having lived in Florida, the Dominican Republic and Okanagan before moving to Victoria. His favourite thing about Victoria is the exciting food scene.