- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
This historic part of downtown lies behind the Inner Harbour, east of Douglas Street, and is easily accessible on foot.
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral (930 Burdett Ave., 250/383-2714) is the seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia. Built in 1896 in 13th-century Gothic style, it’s one of Canada’s largest churches. Self-guided tours are possible Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 7:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. In summer, the cathedral sponsors free choral recitals each Saturday at 4 p.m. The park next to the cathedral is a shady haven to rest weary feet, and the gravestones make fascinating reading.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
From Christ Church Cathedral, walk up Rockland Avenue through the historic Rockland district, passing stately mansions and colorful gardens on tree-lined streets. Turn left on Moss Street and you’ll come to the 1889 Spencer Mansion and its modern wing, which together make up the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (1040 Moss St., 250/384-4101, daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m., closed Mon. outside of summer, adult $12, senior $10, child $2). The gallery contains Canada’s finest collection of Japanese art, a range of contemporary art, Emily Carr pieces, and traveling exhibits, as well as a Japanese garden with a Shinto shrine. The Gallery Shop sells art books, reproductions, and handcrafted jewelry, pottery, and glass.
Continue up Rockland Avenue from the art gallery to reach Government House, the official residence of the lieutenant governor, the queen’s representative in British Columbia. The surrounding gardens, including an English-style garden, rose garden, and rhododendron garden, along with green velvet lawns and picture-perfect flower beds, are open to the public throughout the year. On the front side of the property, vegetation has been left in a more natural state, with gravel paths leading to benches that invite pausing to take in the city panorama.
A short walk up (east) from the art gallery along Rockland Avenue and left on Joan Crescent brings you to the baronial four-story mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent, 250/592-5323, daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m. in summer, daily 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. the rest of the year, adult $12, senior $11, child $4). The architectural masterpiece was built in 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a wealthy industrialist and politician who died just before the building was completed. For all the nitty-gritty, tour the mansion with volunteer guides who really know their Dunsmuir, then admire at your leisure all the polished wood, stained-glass windows, Victorian-era furnishings, and the great city views from upstairs.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition