Victoria, British Columbia, is one of those special destinations in North America that offers a modern flavor all its own while also reverberating with the past.
Visitors traveling to Victoria are probably first impressed by the destination’s refined Victorian flare that harkens back to jolly old England.
But while this 19th century elegance is certainly charming, Victoria is fully in step with a 21st century hospitality and dining scene that makes it a popular leisure tourism draw.
“We have everything from gardens to castles to cider farms,” said Miranda Ji, vice president of sales for Victoria Conference Centre & Business Events Victoria. “And of course we have hotels and a conference center, but we also have lots of outdoor meeting spaces. This is very much a tourism destination, so we’re well equipped with activities to keep delegates busy.”
Old Town Victoria, British Columbia, at Dusk
A major positive is Victoria’s layout—a wealth of attractions, dining options, hotels and meeting facilities are all within walking distance in the Inner Harbour—and a climate that allows it to be a viable winter meetings destination while Canadian destinations east of Vancouver sit in the deep freeze.
Like other British Columbia destinations, Victoria benefits from a wealth of food and beverage offerings stemming from the truly spectacular quality of its local seafood and the agricultural bounty of the province.
“There’s a lot of farm-to-table dining opportunities and seafood,” Ji said. “It really lends itself to having some quality local food and breweries and cideries, and also countless activities, from Butchart Gardens tours to whale watching, ziplining and food tours.”
And while Victoria’s positioning on the southern tip of Vancouver Island may seem like a bit of a barrier, for groups considering it for a meeting getting there is half the fun.
“Transportation is really part of the experience,” Ji said, adding that attendees arriving from Seattle via the Victoria Clipper may even luck into seeing a pod of orca whales on the journey.
She added that the city boasts the world’s largest seaplane terminal, which always makes for a dramatic entrance. “Part of the experience of getting to Victoria is actually part of what makes us unique as a destination.”
5 Fantastic Off-Sites in Victoria, B.C.
Located approximately a half-hour north of Victoria, this stunning 55-acre National Historic Site is a perennial Vancouver Island must-see and boasts more than 1 million plants. Butchart can accommodate 220 for a sit-down meal and 400 for a standing reception.
Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.
Dating to 1887 and built by Victorian-era coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, Craigdarroch boasts Romanesque architecture and impressive spires. This lavish example of the late 19th century privileged life features 39 rooms in more than 20,000 square feet of indoor space.
It can accommodate 200 indoors for a stylish standing reception or a multitude of attendees on its 70,000-square-foot lawn.
Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, B.C.
A tribute to Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman, this space features more than 100 items that span his career. Located within the historic Steamship Terminal building, it can host receptions for up to 100.
This provincial gem offers more than 7 million artifacts in 26,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space. Groups can rent its B.C.’s First Peoples gallery for dinners while enjoying a Lekwungen dance performance.
Housed in the historic Hudson Building downtown, this venue is one of the six original Hudson Bay Company retail stores. The market can host 350 standing and 216 for a sit-down dinner in its 3,000 square feet of space, which includes a dance floor and community kitchen.
Getting to Victoria, B.C.
Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in western British Columbia. There are multiple options to access the destination, including taking a BC Ferries vessel from Vancouver, a Kenmore Air floatplane from Seattle or a helicopter from either destination.
Victoria International Airport (YYJ) offers service from Air Canada, Delta, Alaska and West Jet, as well as from smaller, regional carriers.
Meetings Today LIVE! West
Meetings Today is holding its West event for meeting planners in Victoria, B.C., from September 29 to October 2, 2019. Fairmont Empress is the host hotel for the event.
Preview the Meetings Today LIVE! 2020 line-up.
Victoria, B.C., CVB Contact Information