Located at the tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is British Columbia’s charming capital. Smaller and quieter than its neighbor, Vancouver, Victoria offers an appealing blend of Old World tradition and Pacific Rim possibility. The city’s British heritage is alive and well: Afternoon tea at the stately Empress hotel is a local institution. And The Butchart Gardens, a 55-acre horticultural showcase, provides a year-round oasis. The Royal British Columbia Museum, with exhibits on the area’s native peoples and cultures, is widely regarded as one of the best museums in North America. The waters surrounding the city are prime viewing grounds for resident and migratory whales, chief among them the orca.

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