Victoria British Columbia: One of Canada’s Most Walkable Cities

Living in Vancouver for many years, my family and I have visited Victoria several times.  We do not own a vehicle so when family members come to visit we often rent a car to make the trip over to Vancouver Island.  But we’ve also gone as foot passengers, from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria.  It’s actually quite easy for those that prefer not to drive.

Victoria, BC is the fittest city in the country, according to Statistics Canada.  Victorians make more than 120,000 trips a day by foot.  City planners are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hope to double that number by 2026 by making the city even more appealing to walkers,.

There are several reasons city dwellers in this provincial capital walk as often as they do.  The region is home to a mild, temperate climate, easy terrain with few hills, and amazing scenery.  Situated on Pacific Ocean, Victoria boasts beautiful greenery and flowers, year-round.  Add the fact that there are not really any unsafe or unappealing areas, and Victoria is a pedestrian paradise.

As noted in the article Victoria’s secrets, Canadian Geographic Travel, Fall, 2010, the Downtown Victoria Business Association has produced an excellent guide called Walk + Run Downtown Victoria, in cooperation with the Capital Bike and Walk Society.  It’s a colourful and detailed map of seven walking and five running circuits.

The walking circuits are entitled:

  1. Westsong Walkway (Harbour views, Songhees, West Bay)
  2. Upper Harbour (The Working Harbour, Selkirk Trestle)
  3. Secret Passages (Old Town, LoJo, Chinatown, Design District)
  4. Harbour View (Fisherman’s Wharf, Ogden Pt. Breakwater)
  5. Juan de Fuca (Emily Carr House, Seaside + Mountain Views)
  6. City of Trees and Gardens (Beacon Hill Park, Cook St. Village)
  7. Art + Antiques (Fort St., Art Gallery, Craigdarroch Castle)

The run circuits are:

  1. Westsong Runway (Harbour views, Songhees, West Bay)
  2. James Bay – Beacon Hill (Dallas Waterfront, Beacon Hill Park)
  3. James Bay – Clover Point (Dallas Waterfront to Clover Point)
  4. Dallas – Ross Bay (Dallas Waterfront, Ross Bay, Rockland)
  5. Dallas – Gonzales Bay (Beacon Hill Park, Gonzales Bay)

The guide also includes off-leash dog areas and the top ten photography locations.  For those that don’t enjoy urban sidewalks, there are many walking trails throughout Vancouver Island for every experience level.  They range from easy strolls along the water to adventurous mountain climbing.  Simply go to www.tourismvictoria.com for more information.

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