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Faith Grant Antiques/Connoisseurs Shop - Victoria BC, Canada Faith Grant Antiques/Connoisseurs Shop - Victoria BC, Canada Faith Grant Antiques/Connoisseurs Shop - Victoria BC, Canada Faith Grant Antiques/Connoisseurs Shop - Victoria BC, Canada Faith Grant Antiques/Connoisseurs Shop - Victoria BC, Canada
About Victoria

Victoria is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, and offers a taste of "how life used to be". A strong British influence has remained since the construction of Fort Victoria in 1843 by the Hudson's Bay Company, a dominant fur-trading company at the time, and Victoria remains friendly and clean, with restored historic buildings and miles of green lawns and parks.

Fort Victoria was established on a site now known as Bastion Square. The buildings that exist today are restored, late 19th century warehouses, saloons and dining establishments which now house restaurants, shops and art galleries.

Visitors relax in true British style with afternoon tea, offered in dozens of tearooms throughout the city. One of the best known locations is the Tea Lobby in The Fairmont Empress Hotel. Built in 1908 on Victoria's Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress has been restored to her original majesty and is one of western Canada's most popular landmarks.

Several splendid 19th century buildings are open to the public, including the 39-room Craigdarroch Castle, built in 1887 by Robert Dunsmuir, a BC coal baron.

When touring the lavish residence with its seven chimneys, marble-tiled floors, pink granite columns and brilliant stained glass windows, make sure you wear your walking shoes... the tour could include the 87-step staircase to the fifth floor tower!

In fact, comfortable walking shoes are a "must" in Victoria. Whether you want to shop or sightsee, a stroll around Victoria is the way to go.

The Maritime Museum, originally the Provincial Court House, is a highlight of Bastion Square and depicts the story of BC's maritime history from early explorers to the present.

The Royal British Columbia Museum chronicles the province's social and natural history. In Thunderbird Park, beside the museum, ancient Native totem poles stand tall. You can also watch traditional poles being carved in the carving house. The grounds around the museum are planted with vegetation native to all regions of BC.

The only Shinto shrine in North America is on display at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, along with a large Asian art collection. One of Canada's finest art museums, the gallery also contains European, African, American, Central American, Peruvian, Canadian, Inuit and ancient Egyptian and Greek art.

When the weather is nice, as it invariably is in Victoria, residents and visitors alike amble through gardens and parks and along the waterfront.

The best route to see some of Victoria's opulent homes and gardens is the Scenic Marine Drive, beginning downtown at Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Highway. Following Victoria's waterfront you'll notice a distinct difference from other waterfront cities; you can see for miles, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the snowcapped peaks of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State.

One of the most famous gardens in the world, the Butchart Gardens, is located just 30 minutes from Victoria's city centre. Whether it is traditional afternoon tea in front of a warm fire, a champagne reception in the Italian Gardens, or an elegant sit-down dinner in the original residence of the Butchart family, the warm hospitality and unique surroundings will create an event to remember.

As in any major city, Victoria offers fine shopping and dining adventures. Market Square, two blocks north of Bastion Square, offers interesting places to shop, browse and eat. The restored buildings date back to the beginning of Victoria. This area of Olde Towne was once filled with the hustle and bustle of the gold rush, shipping and whaling trades.

Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in North America, leads into Canada's oldest Chinatown, established in 1858 when Chinese immigrants were used for railroad labour. Here you'll discover exotic merchandise and restaurants. The Gate of Harmonious Interest, one of Chinatown's main features, is guarded by hand-carved stone lions from Szuchou, China.

Victoria's British influence is noticeable in the shops along Government Street, the first few blocks of the downtown shopping area. Here shoppers browse among linens, bone china, crystal, woolens, confections and imported teas and coffees. Whether you collect stamps, coins, rare books, antique silver, furniture or art, you can find a new addition for your collection on Fort Street; better known as Antique Row.

Clean, green and safe, Victoria is museums and art galleries, parks and gardens, nightclubs and afternoon tea, recreation and relaxation.

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