Connect with Canadian History from Victoria to Vancouver on the Rockies Trail

Explore the unique cities of Victoria and Vancouver on Prestige’s Rockies Trail Tour. Travelling through the diverse landscapes of the Rockies, you’ll unearth frontier legends of cowboys, homesteaders and gold seekers, while staying in the cities has you uncovering all kinds of historical heritage. Read on and be inspired by what we can offer on our Canadian Rockies holidays.

Discover Victoria

Situated right at the tip of Vancouver Island at one end of the Canadian Rockies, holidays that include a stay in the pretty laid back city of Victoria are always very popular. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and decorated by floral displays in the many gardens, this city (free of sky-scrapers) also has the charming Inner Harbour, which remains as authentic as it was in the days of Queen Victoria. Here are my recommendations for what to see in Victoria.

Butchart Gardens

A feast for the senses, these fragrant gardens are in constant bloom thanks to the mild climate. Starting out as a small garden in a limestone quarry, tended by Jennie Butchart, the wife of the quarry owner, they are now the largest in Canada. I truly don’t think a visit to Victoria is complete until you have witnessed the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and the peaceful Sunken Garden in this lovely location.

Royal British Columbia Museum

For a day full of culture and a journey into the heritage of British Columbia, this museum is the place to head. I have spent many an hour wandering the historical exhibits here, which invite you to see, hear and smell the history. From aboriginal masks to rainforest plants, this place has so much to offer those interested in culture. We’re often asked what is the highlight here and we think it has to be the interactive replica of HMS Discovery, which brought Captain Vancouver to the country.

“Make sure you visit the oldest residence in British Columbia, close to the museum. It was once owned by J.S. Helmcken, who was a staunch campaigner for inclusion of the British Colonies of Victoria and British Colombia to join Canada.”

Maritime Museum of British Columbia

Displaying all manner of ship related exhibits, the centrepiece of this museum is the ‘Tilikum’, which is essentially a canoe that was the vessel in which a few brave people chose to travel to England. A truly amazing feat indeed!

Close by, the Old Town is definitely worth a stroll. Look out for the delightfully old fashioned shops, which include Roger’s Chocolate and E.A. Morris, the tobacconist.

Vancouver

The perfect combination of mountain backdrops and stunning beaches, Vancouver is an incredible city and one that I believe every discerning traveller should experience. The moderate climate and large areas of parkland make it a joy to explore on foot, and culture and history abound. Here are our top three places to visit.

Granville Island

This buzzing spot is a honeypot of activity. With its relaxed, cosmopolitan atmosphere and its vibrant market, there really is nowhere quite like it. Once industrial warehouses, the buildings are now all used by artists and retailers who have set up next to an eclectic mix of theatres, galleries and houseboats. The friendly ambience makes this a really interesting and convivial place to spend a few hours. The Public Market sells a huge array of fresh food and ‘ready to eat’ offerings, so be prepared for temptation to get the better of you if you arrive here hungry!

Gastown

Victorian buildings have been very well preserved and treasured in Gastown, the city’s oldest precinct. Cobblestones and iron lampposts evoke images of Victorian England and, indeed, the cultural and historical heritage seeps from every corner. John Deighton arrived here in 1867 and it was from him the town’s name comes. He had a reputation for telling long stories so quickly became known as Gassy Jack, which then led to the place becoming known as Gastown.

“My top tip is to head to the statue of Deighton in Maple Tree Square, if only to see the fascinating steam clock close by. It chimes every quarter hour and puffs out steam!”

China Town

As exotic as you would expect, China Town is wonderfully impressive. Colourful and intricately designed, the shops and restaurants are incredibly photogenic. A couple of the attractions not to be missed are:

  • Dir. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden
  • Sam Kee Building

If you’ve been inspired by this and are keen to explore the Canadian Rockies, holidays that offer the chance to discover Victoria and Vancouver as well might be ideal for you. Give our advisors at Prestige Holidays a call and turn your Canadian dream into a reality.