In 1858, the Sisters of St. Ann arrived In Victoria to begin their Catholic mission of teaching and health care. In 1871, they started to built St. Ann's Academy which. like the many rural French Canadian churches it is modeled after, has ornate altar and ceiling carvings, gold-leaf detailing, original oil paintings, stained glass windows and a Casavant pipe organ. The academy is a short walk from the Royal BC Museum and the legislature and has been carefully restored. IT is mostly used now for government offices but the Chapel and a number of rooms attached to it have been set aside as an Interpretive Centre.
Emily Carr House
The home of one of Canada's best known artists and writer. Emily Carr was born here in 1871. She painted and wrote about her environment with great love and pride. She travelled to deserted native villages to paint them so we would not forget what they used to be like.
Craigdarroch Castle is a beautiful historic Victorian-era mansion, built in the 1890s by wealthy BC coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. First a home for his family, later a hospital, conservatory of music and, finally, restored to its old glory as a museum which is open to the public.
Point Ellice House
Gold Rush Magnate and Commissioner Peter O'Reilly bought Point Ellice House in 1867. The restored house and garden bring you back to those long ago days. A harbour ferry can take you from the Inner Harbour to the dock at Point Ellice House for a tour and 'afternoon tea'.
Away from downtown Victoria
This castle was completed in 1908 by James Dunsmuir, the son of Robert Dunsmuir who had Craigdarroch Castle built more than a decade before. Again it was the wealth generated by coal mines near Nanaimo that enabled the extravagant building. For many years, it housed Royal Roads Military College but in the 1990s became Royal Roads University and left military training behind. It has since been made a national historic site, as well as being used as a set for several movies. The castle and surrounding gardens are open to the public.
Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Site
The first lighthouse on Canada's west coast is still in operation! Inside are two floors of exhibits dealing with shipwrecks, storms, far-flung lights and the everyday working equipment of the light keeper a century ago. Its operation has long been automated.
Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site
The fort was built to defend Victoria and the naval base at Esquimalt harbour. This well preserved coastal artillery site was in use from 1878 to 1956. During the summer months, the fort offers re-enactments and other historic events that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The fort is close to Fisgard Lighthouse so you can see both at the same time.
CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum
The museum is located at Naden on Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt adjacent to the city of Victoria. The museum's focus is on four distinct military groups that have made an impact on Canada's history and left a lasting heritage. In addition to exhibits and displays, the museum houses an expanding archive and library.
Located next to Victoria International Airport, the museum houses many interesting aircraft, engines, pictures, models and artifacts, many of them from the wars that Canadians fought. An historical display shows the airport as it was during its time as a Commonwealth Air Training Centre
Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse
Craigflower was one of Vancouver Island's first European farming communities, established in 1853 along Victoria's Gorge Waterway.
The museum is devoted to the history of the early lives of Sidney and North Saanich pioneers, portrayed through photographs and artifacts.
The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society is dedicated to collecting, restoring, housing and demonstrating artifacts from Saanich's rural past. There is a large collection of household, agricultural and industrial artifacts. Oats are still grown with the old methods in the open farm fields to raise funds. There are trails, picnic areas and numerous old buildings to look at.
Right in the city
Royal British Columbia Museum
Experience Captain Vancouver's ship, a turn-of-the-20th century town, the natural history gallery, and the First Peoples Gallery. Outside the Museum, Thunderbird Park features a collection of ancient totem poles: the adjacent big house is the site of native woodcarving demonstrations. An IMAX Theatre is part of the RBCM complex. A unique museum that even non-museum-goers love.
Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken was a surgeon with the Hudson's Bay Company who later became a statesman who helped negotiate the entry of British Columbia into the Dominion of Canada as a province. Helmcken House is the oldest house in British Columbia on its original site that is open to the public, right beside the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Victoria's Parliament Buildings were designed by Francis Rattenbury and finished in 1898. They are located in the Inner Harbour near the Empress Hotel which was also designed by Mr. Rattenbury. Together they form a beautiful entrance to Victoria's harbour. Tours through the building are free and last about 45 minutes.
Totem at Long House, Royal BC Museum