Travel

Family routes: Victoria

Author: Canadian Living

Travel

Family routes: Victoria

With the mildest year-round temperatures in Canada, Victoria is situated in one of this country's most beautiful regions. There's much to do in Victoria, but venturing out from Victoria into the Cowichan Valley and surroundings is like stepping into a postcard.

Jazzfest International
June 23 to July 2, 2006 brings 10 days of jazz, blues and gospel and more than 250 musicians to Victoria. Check the website for details.

Luminara Lantern Festival
On July 22, 2006, a walk on through Beacon Hill Park will be a night of a thousand lights, each one of them a handmade lantern. This annual event is sponsored by the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, and the stroll of lanterns is done to accompanying music, performance artistry and dance.

Rainy-day fun: The Royal BC Museum
Beginning June 2 and continuing to September 10, 2006, the Royal BC Museum hosts two special family-friendly exhibits. Fore! The Planet is 10,000 square feet of high-tech, interactive fun. It's mini-golf, with a scientific slant. Each hole sends home a message about stewardship and conservation of the planet.

The second exhibit is SPEED, 21 interactive exhibits that allow your family to design a roller coaster, or to build a LEGO car and race it.

Whale watching in Victoria
May through to October presents terrific opportunities to spot orca whales in the Victoria area. Book a tour through the Whale Watch Operators Association.

Sidney
Five minutes from the Victoria International Airport is the town of Sidney. A two-and-a-half-kilometre paved path lines the Sidney waterfront, giving sightseers a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf and the San Juan islands. It also provides access to popular attractions like the Marine Museum, Mineral World, the Marine Ecology Centre or water sports like whale watching and kayaking.

Where are you going this summer? Discuss your travel plans with other readers in our forums!

Image courtesy Tourism Victoria.

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Sooke
Forty minutes west of Victoria, the water-recreation community and natural harbour of Sooke edges 1,422 hectares of coastal rainforest. Regardless of what your favourite family activity is, Sooke can deliver with whale-watching, salmon-fishing charters, hiking trails, horseback riding, saltwater beaches and kayaking.

Cowichan
"The Cowichan Valley, located 45 minutes north of Victoria, means the 'warm land' in its native language," says Heather McGillivray, travel media specialist for Tourism Victoria. "This area receives more sun and the best growing conditions of anywhere on Vancouver Island."

These growing conditions have produced outstanding wineries and a trip to this area wouldn't be complete with a tour of one. For ecotourists enthusiastic to experience the natural wonders of the Cowichan Valley, check out Rainforest Expeditions, Island Houseboats, Ocean Ecoventures and Sealegs Kayaking.

Cowichan also claims more artists per capita than anywhere in North America, with two first-class theatres, many smaller performance venues and thriving First Nations culture.

Duncan: The City of Totems
Twenty minutes north of Victoria is Duncan, the "City of Totems" and the civic centre of the Cowichan Valley. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of more than 41 hand-carved cedar poles on public display in downtown streets and parks.

Check out the totem beside city hall. It was carved by a Maori craftsman in exchange for a local carving Duncan presented to its sister city of Kaikohe, New Zealand.

Regardless of your family's interests and activity preferences, Victoria and its surrounding communities have much to offer vacationing (and local) families.

For more information, visit:
Tourism Victoria
Folkfest

Where are you going this summer? Discuss your travel plans with other readers in our forums!

Image courtesy Tourism Victoria.

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Family routes: Victoria

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