Victoria, Pacific Rim & Vancouver Island While Victoria has always been a major tourism destination, it's no longer "alone" on the island, with the Pacific Rim and Nanaimo drawing more and more visitors each year. As a matter of fact with the recent attention paid by such notable travel magazines as Conde Nast to the island proper, Victoria may have to pull up its boot straps to ensure it gets the attention it deserves. Travelers to the island are discovering the delights of the smaller centres along the eastern coast, such as Lady Smith and Qualicum Beach. Tofino and Ucluelet in the Pacific Rim are going upscale and thier exceptional resorts are attracting a huge influx of visitors eager for some pampering. Spas, nature retreats and fine restaurants are popping up everywhere on the island.



British Columbia Tourism

British Columbia Tourism - Official Government Tourism Site

Tourism Vancouver Island - Vancouver Island, Victoria & the Gulf Islands

Tourism Vancouver Island
Suite 203, 335 Wesley Street
Nanaimo, BC - Canada
V9R 2T5
Email: (250) 754-3500
(250) 754-3599

Tourism Victoria
Tourism Nanaimo




Vancouver Island Tourism


Southern Gulf Islands Tourism

Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands Guide
Gulf Islands Online
Discover Vancouver Island - Gulf Islands

Gabriola Island

Gabriola Island Tourism


Galiano Island Tourism
Galiano Island

Mayne Island

Mayne Island Tourism
Mayne Island

Pender Islands

Pender Islands Tourism
Pender Islands

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island Tourism
Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island

Saturna Island

Saturna Island Tourism
Saturna Island


British Colunbia Visitor Information Centres

Vancouver Island South

Chemainus Visitor Info Centre
Box 575
Chemainus, BC
V0R 1K0

Crofton Visitor Info Centre
Box 128
Crofton, BC
V0R 1R0

Duncan Visitor Info Centre
381-A Trans Canada Hwy
Duncan, BC
V9L 3R5

Sidney Visitor Info Centre
2480 Beacon Avenue
Sidney, BC
V8L 1X8

Sooke Visitor Info Centre
2070 Phillips Road (Box 774)
Sooke, BC
V0S 1N0

Victoria Visitor Info Centre
812 Wharf Street
Victoria, BC
V8W 1T3

Victoria West Shore
Visitor Info Centre
2830 Aldwynd Road
Victoria, BC
V9B 3S7

Vancouver Island Central

Nanaimo Visitor Info Centre
2290 Bowen Road
Nanaimo, BC
V9T 3K7

Parksville Visitor Info Centre
Box 99
Parksville, BC
V9P 2G3

Qualicum Beach
Visitor Info Centre
2711 West Island Highway
Qualicum Beach, BC
V9K 2C4

Vancouver Island West (Pacific Rim)

Port Alberni Visitor Info Centre
RR#2, Site 215, C-10
2533 Redford St
Port Alberni, BC
V9Y 7L6

Tofino Visitor Info Centre
Box 249
Tofino, BC
V0R 2Z0

Ucluelet Visitor Info Centre
Box 428
Ucluelet, BC
V0R 3A0

Vancouver Island Central North

Campbell River
Visitor Info Centre
PO Box 400
Campbell River, BC
V9W 5C1

Comox Valley Visitor Info Centre
2040 Cliffe Avenue
Courtenay, BC
V9N 2L4

Visitor Info Centre
Box 250
Cumberland, BC
V0R 1S0

Gold River Visitor Info Centre
Box 610
Gold River, BC
V0P 1G0

Vancouver Island North

Alert Bay Visitor Info Centre
Bag Service 2800
Alert Bay, BC
V0N 1A0

Port Hardy Visitor Info Centre
Box 249
Port Hardy, BC
V0N 2P0

Port McNeill
Visitor Info Centre
Box 129
Port McNeill, BC
V0N 2R0

Gulf Islands

Gabriola Island
Visitor Info Centre
Box 249
Gabriola Island, BC
V0R 1X0
Gabriola Island Tourism

Salt Spring Island
Visitor Info Centre
121 Lower Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC
V8K 2T1
Salt Spring Tourism

Pender Islands
Visitor Info Centre
2332 Otter Bay Road
Pender Island, BC
V0N 2M1
Pender Islands Tourism

Victoria Visitor Info Centre
812 Wharf Street
Victoria, BC
V8W 1T3
Tourism Victoria


Chamber of Commerce

British Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Gulf Islands


Surrounding Regions

Vancouver Island is located just to the west of the lower mainland of British Columbia in the Pacific Ocean, seperated from the mainland by the Straight of Georgia. The Gulf Islands huddle next to the south island and the Discovery Islands lie just off shore of the northern region (the island is just to the northwest of the San Juan Islands in Washington State). Its nearest neighbour on the mainland is the Vancouver Coast and Mountains region (the Lower Mainland of southwestern BC).

Official Sites


Regional Guides

Tourism Vancouver Island - Vancouver Island, Victoria & the Gulf Islands
Tourism Victoria
Tourism North Central Island

Gulf Islands

Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands Guide
Gulf Islands Online
Discover Vancouver Island - Gulf Islands


Currency Conversion

Victoria International Airport
Vancouver International Airport

Calforex - 724 Douglas Street, Victoria
Custom House Currency Exchange - 19 Bastion Square, Victoria


Banks and Trusts


Credit Cards


Postal Services


Phone Directories Online


Travel Agents

Vancouver Island

Canada Wide



If you're idea of Hostelling is pulling up a piece of the rug, in an urban fallout shelter, with a dozen strangers - think again. Hostels range from a place to unroll your sleeping bag, to something approaching resort like accommodations, in beautiful settings, with you're own private room. Prices are still unbeatable and the company is usually interested, and interesting world travelers. If you're a boarder or skier take note, there are hostels in most of the major resort areas throughout the country.

Hi Victoria - Hostelling International, Victoria
Hi Tofino - Hostelling International, Tofino


Hi Salt Spring Island - Hostelling International, Gulf Islands
Hi Vancouver - Hostelling International, Vancouver

Related Web Sites of Interest

Global Backpackers
Hostelling International




Victoria International Airport provides the main Island access by air, but southwestern British Columbia's main port of entry by air is the Vancouver International Airport. Regional flieghts can also get you to the island from the BC mainland. From Victoria airport it's only a short drive to Swartz Bay.From Vancouver airport you can drive (contact Pacific Coach Lines for bus info) to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, which will provide you with ferry access to Vancouver Island south via Swartz Bay.The central island can be accessed by ferry from Vancouver from Horseshoe Bay then across to Nanaimo. and ferry access out to the islands. Have a look at the BC Ferries web site for details.


Victoria International Airport - Sidney (Victoria)

Nanaimo - Vancouver Island

Vancouver International Airport - Richmond (Vancouver)
Boundary Bay - Vancouver Coast and Mountains

Airlines - Regional National and International

The main Canadian carrier into Vancouver or Victoria is Air Canada. There are a number of national, international and regional carriers which also service the region.

  • Air Canada - National and international of Ontario's gateway Toronto
  • CanJet - A Canadian airline featuring low fares and scheduled and charter flights to destinations in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.
  • Jazz - National and International
  • JetsGo - National and International
  • Sky Services - Regional and National
  • Tango - A Canadian airline, owned by Air Canada, featuring low fares and flights to destinations across the country.
  • Zip - Discount Carrier

Airlines - International

Airlines - Regional

Surrounding Regions

  • Harbour Air
  • Kenmore Air
  • Salt Spring Air
  • SeaAir

  • Flying Times (Approximate)

    Note: As a general rule connections into Victoria add an additional 1/2 hour flying time, not including disenbarking passengers or the time between connecting flights - check with you're airlines for details.

    Atlanta - Vancouver - 5hrs
    Frankfurt - Vancouver - 9.5hrs
    Hong Kong - Vancouver - 13hrs
    New York - Vancouver - 5.5hrs
    London - Vancouver - 9hrs
    Miami - Vancouver - 6.0hrs
    San Francisco - Vancouver - 2.5hrs
    Seattle - Vancouver - 0.75hrs
    Tokyo - Vancouver - 10hrs

    Limousine Service

    Airport Shuttle

    Airport Cabs

    Empress Taxi - Victoria, Victoria International Airport
    AC Taxi - Nanaimo

    • Black Top Cabs - 604-731-1111, Vancouver International Airport
    • Vancouver Taxi - 604-255-5111, Vancouver International Airport
    • Yellow Cabs - 604-876-5555, Vancouver International Airport


    Victoria and Vancouver Airports are accesssible via public transit, have a look at the BC Transit website (Victoria) or the Trans Link website (Vancouver) for details.


    Travel Reservations 


    Car Rental

    • CAA - The Canadian Automobile Association. The advocate for Canada's motoring and travelling public. Emergency Roadside Service, complete auto touring and travel services etc.

    Road Reports

    Vancouver Island

    Lower Mainland - Vancouver Coast and Mountains
    Highway 99/Whistler - Vancouver Coast and Mountains

    Road Maps

    Vancouver Coast and Mountains Region - From Out-There

    British Columbia Road Maps

    Campers and Motorhomes

    Vancouver Island

    • Island RV Rentals - 5765 Turner Road, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
    • True North RV - 2110 Henry Avenue, Sidney, Vancouver Island

      Vancouver Coast and Mountains

    • All Drive
    • CanaDream - 7119 River Road, Delta, Vancouver Coast and Mountains
    • Fraserway RV - 31631 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, Vancouver Coast and Mountains


    Canadian Adventure Rentals - Rent a SUV, camping gear, canoe/kayak/bikes - very kool concept
    Campsource - Canada Park and Campground Database
    Go RVing Canada



    A valid drivers license from you country of residence is valid for up to three months in British Columbia.Seat belts must be worn, by law, for adults and children over 40lb (18kg). The speed limits are as posted, with freeways generally allowing speeds up to 100km/h (62.5 mph), other highways 70 to 90 and side roads generally allowing 50km/h.You are permitted to turn right on red lights (once you've come to a stop and ascertained the way is clear) unless otherwise indicated. British Columbia has photo radar, so keep a light right foot. British Columbia is particularly stringent about drinking and driving - don't! Snow can fly early in the year, particularly in the north, so check road conditions and closures before setting out.

    You are permitted to turn right on red lights (once you've come to a complete stop and have ascertained the way is clear). British Columbia is very strict in ensuring pedestrians have the right of way, so be alert when driving. Approach crosswalks and street corners with caution. Much of British Columbia is mountainous and driving conditions can deteriorate rapidly. In many areas snow is possible at any time of year. Check for road conditions and closures before setting out.

    Special Note for Drivers Visiting BC

    1)British Columbia is a very mountainous area and during the winter months road closures in some areas are common. Avalanche chutes as well as heavy snow falls are key factors. When you plan your trip inquire about the route and check weather conditions before you go.

    2) British Columbia is criss-crossed by thousands of logging roads, which are often the only access to back country areas. These roads where never intended for private vehicles (which can be damaged just trying to negotiate the road surface) and may present very serious problems with snow, mud ruts and rocks. Many require chains and/or four wheel drive. Roads connected to active logging areas will certainly have logging trucks running through them - proceed with extreme caution or better still - don't!

    3) Logging roads may be closed to private vehicles and many active roads are only open during weekends when the trucks aren't hauling. Contact the "Ministry of Forests" if you plans include travel on any of these roads.


    Driving Distances / Mileage

    Vancouver Island

    Port Hardy - Victoria - 503km (312miles)
    Campbell River - Victoria - 246km (164miles)
    Duncan - Victoria - 60km (37miles)
    Nanaimo - Victoria - 111km (69miles)
    Port Renfrew - Victoria - 108km (70miles)
    Parksville - Victoria - 147km (91miles)
    Tofino - Victoria - 316km (197miles)

    Vancouver Coast and Mountains

    Calgary - Vancouver - 975km (609 miles)
    Kamloops - Vancouver - 350km (217 miles)
    Powell River - Vancouver* - 130km (81 miles)
    Seattle - Vancouver - 226km (141 miles)

    * requires ferry transport



    While bridges are the common method to traverse waterways in Canada, ferries play a very large role in British Columbia along the coast. Vancouver Island is only accessible by ferry, boat or air. The main ferry service runs from the mainland south of Vancouver in Tawwassen to Swartz Bay on southern Vancouver Island and from Horsehoe Bay north of Vancouver to Nanaimo in the centre of the island.

    There are a number of other coastal ferry routes between Vancouver Island and the main land including an extended route north along the BC coast to Prince Rupert and several routes which will take you south into the Washington State in the United States. .

    British Columbia Ferries - Vancouver, (Horseshoe Bay) - Nanaimo, Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay), Southern and Northern Gulf Islands, Discovery Islands, Sunshine Coast, Prince Rupert - Northern Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii)

    For ferry service from Nanaimo to Vancouver, downtown-to-downtown, have a look at the information on the HarbourLynx site:


    There is also a ferry service from Washington State to Vancouver Island.

    Washington State Ferries - Coho Ferry - Victoria Express

    • Alpine Tours - Provides foot passenger ferry service to Sidney Spit from Sidney, Southern Vancouver Island
    • MV Lady Rose - Passenger Ferry, Port Alberni - Bamfield (Barkley Sound)
    • MV Seaway Express - Passenger Ferry, Ucluelet - Bamfield, Pacific Rim



    Via Rail provides passenger service from Toronto (with connections into Montreal and points east) to Vancouver British Columbia. The Amtrak system in the US also connects into Vancouver via Portland and Seattle. The Vancouver train station is located on the corner of Main St. and Terminal at 1150 Station St. The station can be reached by the Vancouver urban transit system and is just next to the sky train station on main. It's a very short ride to Vancouver's downtown core from the station.

    Via also has a station (which doesn't connect into the mainland network) in Victoria at 450 Pandora Ave. (downtown).


    Via Rail - 1150 Station St., Vancouver

    E&N Railway - Courtney - Victoria The Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) Railiner runs between between Victoria and Courtenay on southern Vancouver Island. Contact Via Rail for more information. You'll also find the North Cowichan Steam Train and the Alberni Railway on the island.


    The Rocky Mountaineer provides a scenic rail service from the Canadian Rockies into Vancouver.



    The Vancouver Island ferries provide access to the provinicial and urban bus networks. Have a look at the provincial and national bus links, the BC Ferries website as well as the urban transite links below.


    Tofino Bus - Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo - Tofino/Ucluelet


    Urban & Local Transit

    Both Victoria and Vancouver have thier own transit systems which are modern and efficient. , have a look at the BC Transit website (Victoria) or the Trans Link website (Vancouver) for details.

    BC Transit - Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island
    Nanaimo Regional Transit - Nanaimo/Parksville
    Tofino Bus - Tofino Transit, Pacific Rim Beach Bus, Tofino-Ucluelet

    Trans Link - Vancouver


    Cities, Towns and Villages


    Regions and Districts


    Southern Gulf Islands

    • Fulford - Salt Spring Island
    • Ganges - Salt Spring Island (Main Centre)
    • Lyall Harbour - Saturna Island
    • Miners Bay - Mayne Island
    • Montaque Harbour - Galiano Island
    • Vesuvius - Salt Spring Island


    Sailing, Boating and Cruising

    The Gulf Islands just off the south eastern coast of the island are considered one of the world's best cruising areas. These sheltered waters provide endless inlets, channels and coves to explore. Further north you'll find a wealth of other channels and and reaches to investigate in the Discovery Islands. The west coast is less protected than these areas but it also provides exceptional areas for boaters. The coastal waters of British Columbia are home to innumerable marine parks which dot the islands and the coast.

    Vancouver Island & Discovery Islands Marinas

    Gulf Islands Marinas


    Vancouver Island Yacht Clubs


    Gulf Islands Yacht Clubs


    Canadian Hydrographic Service - Nautical Charts
    Canadian Power & Sail Squadron
    Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre
    Georgia Strait Alliance

    Harbour Authority Association of BC
    Cruising World - Magazine
    Fogwhistle - Listing of Canadian lighthouses
    Pacific Yachting - Magazine
    Sailing Magazine
    Sailing World - E-zine
    Wooden Boat - Magazine
    Yachting Magazine



    Gulf Islands

    Ganges - Salt Spring Island

    Air Quality
    Marine Forcasts
    Pollen Forcasts
    Snow Reports
    UV Report



    Vancouver Island is surrounded by endless beaches which vary from sandy bays, to round rocky shores and endless streaches of finely crushed shells, the work of the tireless pounding waves. Well known to surfers, expert sea kayakers and hardy individuals who'll play endlessly in their surf are the beautiful sandy beaches along Pacific Rim National Park on the islands west coast between Ucluelet and Tofino. Visitors travel to the area in the summer for the beaches and in the off season to observe the fury of the open Pacific as it unleashes it's winter storms. Another favourite of beach go'ers are the beautiful shores along the Juan de Fuca Strait at the southern end of the island just a stones throw from Victoria.

    Long Beach - Located in Pacific Rim National Park this is a magnificant streatch of 11km of wild sandy beach along the broad Pacific shoreline. Well know to beach combers, swimmers (but it is cold), kayakers and surfers, this has been a popular destination for years. The winter months see visitors arriving to watch the great storms which sweep in from the ocean and batter the rugged coastline. Once again, the areas waters are cold.

    Miracle Beach - Located in one of British Columbia's Provincial Parks, this is a popular ocean beach. From Courtenay follow the old island highway along the coast towards Campbell River. The park is approximately half way between the two towns.

    Rathtrover Beach - Located in a Provincial Park of the same name just to the north of Nanaimo, it's one of Vancouver Islands most popular beaches and campgrounds.

    French Beach - A beautiful shoreline which streaches along the Juan de Fuca Straight just west of Sooke. The beach is located in French Beach Provincial Park which has camping and a day use area. The areas waters are cold.

    China Beach - A rugged and beautiful shoreline located a short hike down from the Provincial Park's campground. The areas waters are cold.

    Sidney Spit - Sidney Island - This is probably the best known beach destination in the Southern Gulf Islands. You can reach the island from the Town of Sidney on Vancouver Island via a small ferry service which runs through the summer months.

    Witty's Beach - Metchosin - A small beach on the Juan du Fuca Straight west of Victoria beside Witty's Lagoon at Witty's Lagoon Regional Park. Follow Metchosin Road in Metchosin passed the entrance to Witty Lagoon to Witty Beach Road which you follow to the parking lot at the end.

    Gulf Islands

    The islands are surrounded by a variety of beaches ranging from the beautiful sandy shores of Sidney Spit, to the round rock shores of Southy Point or one the numerous shell beaches, which are made up of the small sea battered remains of the areas shells.

    Gabriola Island

    Sandwell Provincial Park has a nice beach and Gabriola Sands Provincial Park has beaches for swimming, as does Drumberg at the southeast tip of the island. The Descano Bay Regional Park (camping) also has beaches nearby. Other beaches on the island include Whalebone in Joyce Lockwood Park and Brickyard Beach with many more waiting for you to discover them. Ask at the visitors information centre for directions and access to these and other island beaches.

    Galiano Island

    Mathews Point Regional Park has one of the nicest beaches in the islands (although the accesss is a little steep) with inviting sand just waiting for you're beach umbrella. Montague Harbour Provincial Park has a nice beach with easy access right at the islands heart.

    Salt Spring Island

    Salt Spring's best known beach is probably Beddis (which is naturally enough located on Beddis Road) which has a mixed sand and shell shoreline and is at its best for catching the sun in the morning. Burgoyne Bay has a protected beach at the far end of the bay which can be accessed from the parking lot at the end of the Burgoyne Bay Road. One of the warmest ocean water beaches is located at Erskine Point on the west side of the island. To get there follow Rainbow Road from Ganges then take Collins Road to the very end. Southy Point has a long stretch of beach located at the islands northern tip. Follow the Southey Point Trail from the small parking lot on Southy Point Road (see our Hiking section for details). Note: The sandy beaches of Walker's Hook are no longer accessible to the public, hopefully this may change one day!

    Along with the ocean beaches, Salt Spring has several swimming areas along the shores of the islands lakes including St Marys, Cusheon, Weston and Stowell.

    Sidney Spit - Sidney Island - This is probably the best known beach destination in the Southern Gulf Islands. You can reach the island from the Town of Sidney on Vancouver Island via a small ferry service which runs through the summer months.

    Note: Beach access may be limited in some areas, check with the local tourism office for details as well as route information.


    Historic Sites

    Canada's national historic sites are managed by the federal government. The include fortifications, historic homes and buildings, canals as well as areas which have little obvious clues of their historical significance. In the latter case, efforts are often expended to reconstruct some of the details of the past. An excellent example of this is available at the l'Anse a Meadow site in Newfoundland, which reconstructs the earliest known European presence in the new world, in the form of a Viking settlement.

    British Columbia has seven national historic sites located in the province. In addition there are sites of historic significance designated on a provincial and regional basis and of course those which are established by interested parties in the private sector.

    Vancouver Island

    British Columbia


    BC Archives
    BC Heritage

    British Columbia Historical Federation
    Canada's Digital Collections
    Collections Canada
    Culture Canada
    Heritage Canada
    Heritage Canada Foundation
    Land Conservancy of BC
    Royal BC Museum
    South Cariboo Heritage Sites


    Arts & Culture

    The Arts and Cultural Highway
    Canadian Crafts Federation


    Gulf Islands






    Gulf Islands


    Out-There's Vancouver Coast and Mountains Golf



    Vancouver Coast and Mountains - From Out-There


    Festivals, Events and Attractions

    Vancouver Island Festivals, Events and Attractions


    Victoria Festivals, Events and Attractions

    Casinos - British Columbia


    British Columbia Lottery Corporation - Lotteries & Casinos, Online Lottery Results


    Health & Beauty


    Spas & Health Centres

    Gulf Islands

    Gyms and Health Clubs


    Gulf Islands

    • Curves - 382 Lower Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island
    • Gabriola Athletic Club - 510 South Road, Gabriola Island
    • North End Fitness - 102 McPhillips Avenue, (250) 537-5217, Salt Spring Island




    Stores Victoria and Vancouver Island

    Gulf Islands Shopping


    • Vancouver Shopping - Stores

    Vancouver - Shopping Centres and Areas


    For outdoor gear and clothing see our Outdoor Resources Section
    For spas and gyms see our Health and Beauty Section



    British Columbia Celebrities, Performers and Personalities


    Canadian Celebrities, Performers and Personalities

    For an extensive list of actors bios along with a listing of their movies and TV work have a look at Northern Stars For a more extensive list of famous Canadians try Well Known Canadians



    Times Colonist - Daily, Victoria


    Gulf Islands




    Vancouver Island




    Vancouver Island and Victoria

    Tourism Vancouver Island - Victoria & the Gulf Islands
    Out-There's British Columbia
    British Columbia Tourism

    Gulf Islands

    Vancouver Coast & Mountains


    Out-There's Whistler Main Page
    Whistler Tourism

    Links of Interest

    Conde Naste Traveler
    Islands Magazine
    National Geographic
    National Geographic Adventure
    National Geographic Traveler
    Outside Magazine
    Sunset Magazine
    Travel and Leisure Magazine

    Out-There's Destinations



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