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The Empress Hotel

Exploring Victoria’s Historic Inner Harbor: A Journey through Time (2024)

Victoria’s Inner Harbor stands as a testament to the city’s vibrant history and cultural heritage. As you step into this charming waterfront district, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by architectural marvels, historic landmarks, and a palpable sense of nostalgia.

The Inner Harbor was originally created by the First Nations people who lived in the area. It was later used by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a fur trading post. In the 1860s, Victoria became the capital of British Columbia, and the Inner Harbor became a major center of trade and commerce.

Today, the Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the many historic buildings, including the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, and the Fairmont Empress Hotel. They can also take a boat tour of the harbor, or simply relax on one of the many benches and enjoy the view. The Inner Harbor is a great place to learn about Victoria’s history and culture. It is also a great place to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the city.

Exploring Victoria’s Historic Inner Harbor: A Journey through Time

Here are some of the things you can do when exploring Victoria’s Historic Inner Harbor:

1. The Empress Hotel:

Your adventure begins with a visit to the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel. Admire the grandeur of this National Historic Site, known for its majestic Edwardian architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through the hotel’s elegant lobby, adorned with ornate chandeliers and rich woodwork. Treat yourself to a delightful high tea experience, indulging in delectable treats while enjoying panoramic harbor views.

The Empress Hotel, Victoria

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2. The British Columbia Legislature:

Next, explore the imposing British Columbia Legislature, a symbol of Victoria’s governance and history. Marvel at the neoclassical architecture and intricate detailing of this iconic building. Join a guided tour to delve into its fascinating past and gain insights into the province’s political landscape. Don’t forget to witness the daily spectacle of the Changing of the Guard ceremony during the summer months.

3. Royal BC Museum:

Immerse yourself in Victoria’s captivating history at the Royal BC Museum. This renowned museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring the past to life. Journey through time as you explore the First Peoples Gallery, learn about the province’s natural history, and discover fascinating stories of British Columbia’s early settlers.

4. Inner Harbor Ferries:

Take a break from the historical landmarks and hop aboard one of the colorful Inner Harbor Ferries. Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the harbor, offering panoramic views of the cityscape and surrounding mountains. These charming, eco-friendly vessels provide a unique perspective of Victoria’s waterfront and allow you to explore neighboring attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf and the Westsong Walkway.

5. Historic Steamship Terminal:

Step into the past at the Historic Steamship Terminal, a restored heritage building that once served as a bustling hub for maritime travel. Admire the Victorian-era architecture and explore the various shops and boutiques housed within. Learn about the harbor’s maritime history through captivating exhibits, photographs, and artifacts that showcase Victoria’s connection to the sea.

6. Relax On The Waterfront:

There are a number of benches and other seating areas along the waterfront. This is a great place to relax and enjoy the views.


Victoria’s Inner Harbor offers a captivating journey through time, where the echoes of history resound in every corner. From the majestic Empress Hotel to the grand British Columbia Legislature and the immersive Royal BC Museum, this historic district invites you to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the city. Cruise along the harbor on the Inner Harbor Ferries and step inside the restored Historic Steamship Terminal to complete your journey through Victoria’s fascinating past.

As you explore Victoria’s historic Inner Harbor, remember to pause, admire the architecture, and soak in the ambiance that connects the present with the city’s illustrious past. Let the stories unfold, the timeless beauty captivate you, and the spirit of Victoria’s history leave an indelible mark on your journey.

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