While it's not Alaska, this charming Canadian city is located on Vancouver Island. Arrival in the capital of British Columbia is likened to a step back in time to an earlier era emphasized by the city's Victorian architecture and very proper atmosphere. Founded as a British outpost, it's often said that Victoria is more British than Great Britain herself. Prim and proper with a mix of stately buildings and English traditions, Victoria is like a breath of fresh air. Its British heritage is apparent in double-decker buses, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and High Tea at the Empress Hotel. Pay a visit to the renowned Butchart Gardens, where sunken floral beds reflect international themes.
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British Columbia Parliament Buildings
Constructed in 1898 of local stone and wood, the stately buildings are neo-Gothic in style. A gilded statue of Captain George Vancouver, for whom Vancouver Island was named, sits atop the central dome. Free half-hour tours are offered several times a day year-round.
Ranked among the most beautiful in the world, these gardens are truly breathtaking. During July and August, fireworks displays are held every Saturday evening. Since the nineteen-twenties, visitors have come from afar to see the spectacular Butchart Gardens. Created from an abandoned limestone quarry by Mrs. Jenny Butchart, every month there are beautiful shows of seasonal flowering plants. Located thirteen miles from downtown, you can easily take a cab or shore excursion and spend several hours there and at the nearby Victoria Butterfly Garden.
Emily Carr House
This 1860s house was the childhood home of Emily Carr, one of Canada's most beloved and most famous artists. Guided by the artist's autobiography, the house was partially restored to reflect its 1890s appearance. A variety of rotating exhibits and period rooms, a gift shop and many reproductions of Carr's works can be seen in the house. Interpreters in costume are available to assist you with your tour.
Fairmont Empress Hotel
Ivy covered and built in 1908, the Empress Hotel is the centerpiece of Victoria. Pretend that you are in England and indulge yourself in the local ritual of high tea complete with tea and pastries, including scones with jam. Every afternoon high tea is served in the elegant lobby. Reservations are required and recommended attire is smart casual wear.
If that afternoon ritual is too stuffy for your taste, you should at least take a walk through the ivy-covered hotel's grand public rooms for a glimpse of the opulent interiors and the imposing view of the harbor.
No matter what your age, you will be fascinated by Miniature World. Featuring animated scenes telling stories of fact, fiction and fantasy, Miniature World is the greatest little show on earth! There are over 85 attractions including the world's smallest operating sawmill, one of the longest model railways, and two of the largest doll houses.
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