10 Top Reasons That Make Living In Victoria BC Amazing

Victoria, British Columbia's stunning capital city stands out as a first-class destination for expats who demand the best of everything. Let's take a look at what it's really like living in Victoria BC.

Knowing where the best place to live in Canada is a tricky question to answer. We all have different ideas about our ideal place to call home.

However, one Canadian city stands out, especially for expats – British Columbia and its stunning capital, Victoria. Let’s take a look at what makes living in Victoria so special.

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British Columbia (B.C.) is one of the most desirable places to settle and work in Canada – not only for its magnificent scenery and moderate climate but for its diverse culture, high standard of living, competitive wages, and more.

Victoria, as the capital of the region, is the main destination for those who want to relocate to British Columbia.

Located on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island (not Victoria Island), Victoria ranks incredibly well in terms of its economic, real estate, climate, attraction, and amenity ratings, and this makes it one of the best places to live, work or retire in Canada.

Here are some of the features that make living in Victoria so enjoyable:

 Employment opportunities

Those living in Victoria are offered diverse opportunities in business, an emerging technology sector, both provincial and federal government offices, and CFB Esquimalt, a naval base.

Victoria Harbour and the British Columbia Parliament Building, Victoria BC, Canada
Victoria Harbour and the British Columbia Parliament Building, Victoria BC, Canada

The area is increasingly developing as a marine, forestry and agricultural research centre. Employment in British Columbia is expected to grow by an average of 1.8 per cent each year through to 2019, creating a total of 450,000 new jobs.

British feel

The city is named after Queen Victoria and is known for its old-world charm, with narrow streets lined with 19th-century stone buildings.

Victoria has always had a history as a stronghold of British traditions. Victoria was awarded the Prince of Wales Prize for its dedication to preserving the City’s heritage buildings and districts for over 40 years.

Great weather

Victoria has one of the best climates in the entire country. 

It enjoys what’s known as a sub-Mediterranean climate. It regularly enjoys temperatures in the twenty-degree centigrade range in the summer, hardly ever dipping below freezing or suffering snow covering in the winter. 

In terms of official weather statistics, if you’re going to be living in Victoria, you can expect 2,183 hours of sunshine a year, at least half the rainfall of New York, at least eight frost-free months a year, low humidity, cooling offshore breezes in the summer and the perfect climate to enjoy a very outdoor centric lifestyle. 

Victoria has an annual rainfall that is only half that of the city of Vancouver due to its location in the rain shadow of the US Olympic Mountains. Winters here are so mild that snowfall is unusual and, in some winters, almost non-existent.

Stunning gardens

Living in Victoria BC, Canada - Beacon Hill Park
Springtime blossom in public Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, BC, Canada

Victoria’s temperate climate is a source of great pride for gardeners living in Victoria – the range of plants that they can grow there is unsurpassed by any location in Canada. 

Also known as “The Garden City”, Victoria boasts blooming flowers year-round. Approximately 1,500 hanging baskets adorn lampposts throughout the City of Victoria each summer. 

The famous Butchart Gardens, opened in 1904, are only about a twenty-five-minute drive from downtown Victoria.

Balanced age demographic

The city is as popular with retirees as it is with those who are starting their professional careers.

There is an excellent balance in the age demographic in this part of British Columbia. It’s been called the City Of The Newly Wed Or Nearly Dead. Almost 18% of the population is over 65 years of age. 

The median age in Victoria is 43.1 years – about four years older than in metro Vancouver.

Great education

The educational standards and facilities in Victoria are fantastic.

There are public and private schools and universities and colleges to choose from, and around 72% of the population of the city has at least some tertiary level education behind them – which is way above the national norm. 

Victoria is home to the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.

Sociable and fun city

Victoria is a leading artistic, cultural, and historic center.

Living in Victoria BC - Christmas
Victoria downtown decorated for Christmas

It’s home to many annual festivals. It has museums, golf clubs, yacht clubs, marinas, fitness centers, ice rinks, tennis courts, stadiums, arenas, a car race track, and a horse racing track – proving you’ll never be bored living in Victoria. 

Victoria has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, second only to San Francisco.

There are over 70 city parks, including Beacon Hill Park, which boasts vistas across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Beacon Hill Park is also home to the Mile “0” marker for the 8,000-kilometre Trans-Canada Trail. 

Victoria’s Inner Harbour – the heart of the city – is simply stunning. It’s flanked by historic buildings and sees all sorts of boat and floatplane activity on the water.

Best place for cycling

If you are a devoted cyclist or just enjoy cycling with your kids at the weekend, living in Victoria can provide you with incredible cycling opportunities.

Victoria is the Cycling Capital of Canada – and for a good reason. It boasts an extensive system of bicycle paths. In fact, you can cycle from the ferry in Schwartz Bay on a bike path all the way to downtown Victoria. Then you can continue on into Sooke too.

Plus, it’s easy to make your way by bike to the Gulf Islands or the Cowichan Valley area.

Easy to travel

You can get to Victoria via ferry (and a drive from the ferry terminal) from Vancouver and Nanaimo.

There are ferries from Washington State, too – including ones that do a Victoria – Port Angeles run and a Sidney to Anacortes ferry.

the Butchart Gardens
Enveloping you in lush greens and colorful blooms, The Butchart Gardens will become your favorite oasis in Victoria.

Float planes come from all over, including regular flights from downtown Vancouver. And, of course, there is an international airport that is particularly easy to fly in and out of.

Best place for diving

Those living in Victoria can enjoy fantastic snorkeling and diving.

National Geographic designated Victoria as one of the best cold-water diving destinations for its marine diversity and water clarity. In fact, the renowned Jacques Cousteau Society considers it the second-best region, only behind the Red Sea.

Living in Victoria BC – summary

As you can see, Victoria has it all. It’s easy to understand why people living in Victoria are so proud of their city and why it is such an attraction for both Canadians and expats, not merely as a tourist destination but as a great place to live and raise a family too.

If you are thinking about moving to Canada and are wondering where best to locate yourself, take a closer look at Victoria and see whether it’s the sort of location that you could happily call home. Alternatively, take a look at The Best Places to Live in Canada. Maybe you will find your ideal location there.

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Expatra Team

Our most popular evergreen guides are kept fresh and up-to-date by our in-house research team. If you have any questions about our guides or the country discussed feel free to contact us or leave a comment below and we'll get back to you.

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  1. This web page is clearly written by people who don’t live in Victoria. It is truly a closed-minded small town that isn’t interested in the outside world. A backward dump. The age skew (check any census) is very old. Getting there is a pain in ass (check any Air Canada timetable). The food is miserable. The people don’t want to accept new people or change. Don’t be fooled.

  2. If you are interested in living in Victoria or anywhere in British Columbia and want to own a home, make sure that you read up on the BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax, in particular the meaning of a satellite family under this tax rule. If you are retired and the majority of your income comes from outside Canada, you will be subject to a very high tax on your property; 2% of the assessed value every year.

  3. Victoria is no longer the wonderful city that it used to be (as described here.) Today the downtown core is filled with vagrants and the streets are no longer safe to walk along. Random attacks on individuals are becoming an almost daily occurrence here. The cost of housing is through the roof, the cost of living continues to soar. We have a “virtue signalling” Municipal Council and, as a result, taxes are skyrocketing and municipal services, including policing, are constant underfunded. Stay away if you can, there are far better places to live (I lived here for 50+ years but moved to the outer reaches of Greater Victoria to get away from the mayhem in the City.

    • @Steve, completely agree. Have lived in Victoria just seven years and have watched it deteriorate. Currently in search for somewhere to move with more freedom, better policies, taxes, cost of living, less of a housing crisis, safety, the list goes on and on.

  4. We (I Ravi and my Fiancee Ellie) are relocating to Victoria from Toronto. We always knew Victoria was a place for us after spending a year in Toronto. After reading this write-up we are excited to move to Victoria.