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.
Maritime Museum of British Columbia
Land ho! An important port city, Victoria is home to Western Canada’s oldest maritime museum, with over 35,000 artifacts telling the story of British Columbia’s relationship with the sea. The Museum’s new location at the heart of downtown offers visitors an intimate view of maritime history including with its newest feature exhibit A Whale’s Tale, all about BC’s many interactions with nature’s gentle giants.
To make the most of your trip to Victoria, book the brand-new Huntingdon Manor Maritime Museum Package, which includes accommodation, breakfast, parking, and up to four admission tickets to the Maritime Museum. A deal for sailors and landlubbers alike!
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Become inspired and visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria—British Columbia’s largest public collection of art. Located in the historic Rockland neighbourhood, and nearby the famous Craigdarroch Castle, the Gallery houses over 20,000 pieces of historical and contemporary art and contains a renowned collection of Asian art and artifacts. Just as stunning as the artwork is the 1889 Spencer Mansion that serves as an exhibition space and mini-museum for the Spencer family’s former home.
Before you leave, reflect within the sweeping tranquility of the outdoor gardens, or purchase an artful memento at the Gallery Shop. Open year-round, the Art Gallery will reward any visitor seeking a healthy dose of culture and local history.
Summer hours are 10am-5pm, and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.
Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum is the ultimate authority on provincial history and one of Canada’s great cultural treasures. Founded in 1886, this Victoria landmark has permanent galleries and interactive exhibitions showcasing British Columbia’s natural and human histories. Within the museum’s collection of 7 million objects, you can stomp around with woolly mammoths from the Ice Age, climb aboard a full-scale replica of George Vancouver’s HMS Discovery ship or experience the brand-new feature exhibit, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs.
Part of an international museum partnership, the exhibit showcases 300 rare artifacts dating back 4,500 years. Interactive displays show the visitor what life was like for ancient Egyptians, from everyday citizens to the ruling pharaohs who lived like gods. The Royal BC Museum is the first North American museum to display this collection, and you have a chance to see it for yourself by booking our Royal BC Museum Room Package, which includes tickets to the exhibit.
Emily Carr House
Tucked away in quiet James Bay is the childhood home of Victoria’s most celebrated artist. Emily Carr House is a National and Provincial Historic site dedicated to the artwork, writings and life of the internationally renowned painter. Learn about her works as you stroll through the lovingly restored home, which was built in 1863. The Italianate style of the mansion is striking and tasteful and the gardens offer a place to contemplate the history of the estate.
Emily Carr House is open to the public between May and September, between 11:00am-4:00pm. And keep an eye out for special events taking place at the home: contemporary art exhibitions, literary readings and social justice forums as an homage to Carr’s progressive legacy. Discover the roots of the acclaimed painter in a one-of-a-kind location.
With so much local history to uncover, why not spend a day exploring Victoria’s amazing museums?
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