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Victoria

Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Established in 1843 by James Douglas as a Hudson's Bay Company Fort, the City of Victoria has a proud history of British custom.

Victoria has a temperate climate with mild, damp winters and relatively dry and mild summers. It is sometimes classified as a cool-summer Mediterranean climate due to its usually dry summers. There is a rich diversity of landscapes within the region, ranging from the Douglas fir forests along the coast to the drier, exposed conditions of the higher, rockier elevations that support arbutus and Garry oak forests.

Conde' Naste Traveler Magazine reader's poll rated Victoria one of the top ten cities to visit in the world. The picture-perfect Inner Harbour is surrounded by many of Victoria's beautiful character buildings and premier attractions: the stately Empress Hotel, the BC provincial Legislative Buildings, museums and galleries.

http://www.victoria.ca/
 

Township of Esquimalt

Esquimalt's original native inhabitants knew it as "the place of shoaling waters", derived from a native Indian expression Es-whoy-malth. 

Esquimalt is located 2.5 miles (4 km) west of downtown Victoria at the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
The municipality of Esquimalt, incorporated in 1912, has many heritage buildings and beaches with excellent views of Victoria Harbour and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

I believe Esquimalt is a real gem and great value for home buyers.  With it's 29 hectares (72 acres) of beautiful parks, scenic waterfront walkways, recreational facilities, golf course, shopping and restaurants it offers much for residents and visitors to enjoy.  It is only minutes to downtown and an easy walk or cycle for those who work downtown.  My recommended neighbourhoods in Esquimalt are Rockheights, Parklands and Saxe Point.  Rockheights has fabulous 60's and 70's homes - many with great bones, just waiting to be updated.  Some homes located on higher elevations have views and are situated on generous sized lots.  The Parklands area is situated close to Gorge Vale Golf Course and many homes in this neighbourhood even back onto the golf course.  Saxe Point park along the ocean is a wonderful place to walk, play or picnic.  Cross over the Johnson Street Bridge and follow Esquimalt Rd to check out this neighbourhood soon!

http://www.esquimalt.ca/

Municipality of Oak Bay

Oak Bay is named after the distinctively characteristic Garry Oak, the single oak species native to the Coastal Pacific Northwest.  Considered the most "British" neighbourhood in Greater Victoria, the attractive residential community retains a distinct genteel flavour, reflected by its village shops, restaurants and tearooms.

There are also cafes, pubs, take-out fish and chips, great restaurants, and the two villages of Oak Bay and Estevan which offer charming shopping districts and a wonderful array of specialty shops and art galleries.  

http://www.oakbayvillage.ca/
http://www.oakbaybc.org/ 

Oak Bay has beautiful public gardens to stroll through, and parks with plenty of viewpoints. The community takes pride in its many peaceful streets of elegant homes and gardens.  Check out the scented garden by the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel, the Rose Garden at Windsor Park and two of my favourite spots - Anderson Hill Park and the steep stairs off Beach Drive up to Walbran Hill Park.

Marine life in its natural habitat can often be seen from the shores of Oak Bay. Sailors, fishermen, and kayakers are not alone in the ocean. They are likely to be sharing the sea with one of three pods of killer whales, gray whales, or minke whales, and curious harbour seals.  Running along the waterfront, feeding the seals at Oak Bay Marina and admiring the beautiful yachts moored there are things I loved to do with my kids when they were young.

Saanich Peninsula &
 Municipality of Saanich

The name Saanich is derived from the Native word meaning 'elevated' or 'upraised', possibly describing what Mount Newton looked like when approached by sea from the east. The largest municipality in Greater Victoria, Saanich offers the charm of country life with the convenience of urban residential neighbourhoods and close proximity to Victoria. Saanich is one of the oldest agricultural settlements in British Columbia, rich in local history still evident in many of the old buildings and structures. The homes, schools, churches, commercial buildings, and farm buildings of heritage significance reflect the pioneer era and later periods of development.

Almost everywhere you turn in Saanich there's a place to enjoy the great outdoors, meadows of wildflowers and Garry Oak trees, mountain parks and scenic viewpoints, serene forests and riverside paths, or quiet coves and ocean beaches.  The Saanich Peninsula offers many activities from golfing, hiking & cycling, waterskiing or fishing in the fresh water lakes.

A cyclist's paradise, many country roads criss-cross the Peninsula past parks, farms, beaches and bays as well as the Peninsula Trail System which connects to the Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria. Stop by a roadside fruit and vegetable stand for fresh, locally grown produce or in at the village of Brentwood Bay which offers shops, restaurants and marina facilities.

B&B's, inns, resorts and motels can be found in the Saanich Peninsula as well as restaurants, bistros, and eateries to suit every taste. Air and boat charters and rentals are avalable as well as sailing, kayaking, fishing and diving adventures.

Several main attractions are located here too. The world-famous Butchart Gardens, and a prize-winning winery. The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society offer an excellent family attraction on a 29-acre site.

My recommended neighbourhoods in Saanich include Cadboro Bay, Cordova Bay, Mt. Doug and 10 Mile Point.  These areas are wonderful places to live because of their abundant options for hiking, biking, beach combing and golfing.

http://www.saanich.ca/
http://www.saanich.ca/webapp/parks/displaypark.jsp?mapNo=87
http://www.cordovabaygolf.com/

 
Western Communities or West Shore

The West Shore region lies to the west of Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island from Esquimalt Harbour to rocky Point along the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait which leads out to the Pacific Ocean.

The cities of Colwood and Langford, the town of View Royal, and the District Municipalities of Highlands, Metchosin, and Sooke, which lie generally west of Esquimalt Harbour and Portage Inlet

Outdoor activities are abundant throughout the West Shore. Hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and golf. Eleven parks cover nearly 2000 hectares and provide many hiking trails from nature walks along the shore to more challenging day hikes. The Galloping Goose Trail, a 60 km former rail line, is a linear park running from downtown Victoria, through the West Shore, to the ghost town of Leechtown, named after the old steam locomotive which made its run at the turn of the last century. " The Goose" is a walker or cyclist's dream, well-groomed and peaceful with nary a hill to climb.

Wildlife (whales, deer, eagles, seals), hiking, cycling, golfing, fishing, swimming, and site seeing away from the hustle and bustle of downtown while only a short drive to all the amenities that Victoria has to offer.

Mill Bay

Mill Bay is an unincorporated village-style community of approximately 3,000 people. It includes three shopping malls, including Mill Bay Centre, which serves as a regional shopping centre for the south end of the Cowichan Regional District. As well as being a significant commercial centre, the area is noted for its spectacular ocean views and numerous recreational opportunities. It includes the Kerry Park Recreation Centre with an ice rink, and the Brentwood College School.