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Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria
Metropolitan area
Downtown Victoria skyline
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Area (2011)[1]
 • Total 696.15 km2 (268.79 sq mi)
Population  (2011)[1]
 • CMA 344,615
 • CMA density 495.0/km2 (1,282/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)

Greater Victoria (also known as the Greater Victoria Region) is located in British Columbia, Canada, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is a cultural rather than political entity, usually defined as the thirteen easternmost municipalities of the Capital Regional District (CRD) on Vancouver Island as well as some adjacent areas and nearby islands. The Capital Regional District administers some aspects of public administration for the whole metro region; other aspects are administered by the individual member municipalities of Greater Victoria. Roughly, Greater Victoria consists of all land and nearby islands east of an imaginary line drawn from the southern end of Finlayson Arm to the eastern shore of Sooke Harbour, along with some lands on the northern shore of Sooke Harbour.

Many places, buildings, and institutions associated with Victoria (the University of Victoria, Victoria International Airport, or the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, for example), actually exist outside the City of Victoria. Victoria is the locality indicated in the mailing addresses of several CRD municipalities and localities adjacent to Victoria. The central city of Victoria lends its name and cultural influence to many places and organizations in the metro region.


  • Municipalities 1
    • Neighbourhoods 1.1
  • Demographics 2
    • Ethnicity 2.1
  • Culture 3
  • Notable places 4
    • Educational institutions 4.1
    • Hospitals 4.2
    • Military installations 4.3
    • Parks and natural features 4.4
    • Scientific facilities 4.5
    • Sites of interest 4.6
      • Historical 4.6.1
      • Political 4.6.2
      • Cultural 4.6.3
      • Other 4.6.4
    • Sports facilities 4.7
    • Transportation and ports 4.8
  • Media outlets 5
    • Print 5.1
    • Social Media Communities 5.2
    • AM Radio 5.3
    • FM Radio 5.4
    • Television 5.5
  • Regional organisations 6
  • References 7


"Core" municipalities
Western Communities
Saanich Peninsula

This breakdown is roughly mirrored by the three school districts in Greater Victoria.

Greater Victoria is the southernmost urban area in Western Canada; it is located south of the 49th parallel.


This list is similar to, but not identical with, that used by the Greater Victoria real estate sales industry. Neighbourhoods with official status are italicized. Others may have no official definition, hence other lists of neighbourhoods in the Victoria area may differ. Other sources may give different boundaries as well.


The Greater Victoria region has a combined population of 359,991 according to the 2011 Canadian census.[3] The region comprises two of the fifteen most populous municipalities in British Columbia (Saanich, at number seven, and Victoria at number thirteen). The Canadian Census ranks Greater Victoria as the 15th largest metropolitan area in Canada, by population. The combined population of the cities, municipalities, unincorporated areas and Indian Reserves in the region are as follows:

  1. Saanich 109,752
  2. Victoria 80,017
  3. Langford 29,228
  4. Oak Bay 18,015
  5. Esquimalt 16,209
  6. Colwood 16,093
  7. Central Saanich 15,936
  8. Sooke 11,435
  9. Sidney 11,178
  10. North Saanich 11,089
  11. View Royal 9,381
  12. Indian Reserves 5,436 (incl est of 250 for Esquimalt IR)
  13. Metchosin 4,803
  14. Juan de Fuca Electoral Area 4351 (Part of CRD Electoral Area: E. Sooke to Jordan R. 4137, Jordon R. to Port Renfrew 178)
  15. Highlands 2,120


In comparison to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver and environs), the region does not have a great deal of racial diversity. Most of the population is of European descent. A substantial community of those of Chinese descent has existed in Greater Victoria since the Fraser Gold Rush of 1858-60, which saw the first significant influx, arriving first via San Francisco then directly from China. There is also a substantial First Nations (indigenous) population whose ancestors have lived in the area for thousands of years. Numerous First Nations reserves, forming distinct communities, exist in the region — primarily on the Saanich Peninsula, in Esquimalt, and in the Western Communities — although the majority of the First Nations population live off-reserve.

The largest ethnic groups in Greater Victoria, according to the 2001 census, are:

  1. English - 131,670
  2. Scottish - 79,275
  3. Irish - 56,655
  4. German - 34,345
  5. French - 29,440
  6. Dutch - 13,805
  7. Ukrainian - 12,770
  8. Chinese - 11,720
  9. Aboriginal - 10,230


Many Victoria Region municipalities have their own fairs: Oak Bay's Tea Party, Esquimalt's Buccaneer Days, Sidney's Sidney Days, Sooke's Sooke Days, Western Communities' Luxton Rodeo, and Central Saanich's Saanich Fair. The Saanich Fair is the oldest and largest of all the Greater Victoria local fair venues; it is considered a de facto regional fair because of its greater size, content, and famous reputation. The Saanich Fair has the largest number of attendees of all the Victoria area fairs.

There is a wide variety of entertainment and recreational facilities and activities. The mild coastal climate ensures less extreme weather changes. Outdoor and indoor recreational areas are abundant throughout the region. The Rifflandia Music Festival takes place downtown in mid to late September. The Luminara Lantern Festival is a regionally popular cultural/artistic outdoor activity that draws thousands of visitors to Beacon Hill Park. The Victoria Tall Ships Festival showcase sailing vessels and the sailing life.[2] The Victoria Symphony performs over 100 concerts a year, including the renowned Symphony Splash, an annual free concert in the Inner Harbour on the August Sunday preceding B.C Day. The orchestra is on a barge playing to an audience of over 40,000. The Electronic Music Festival also takes place at Centennial Square, where DJs can show off their music mixing skills.

These regional positive qualities, along with new transportation links, international high profile events (2007 NATO meeting, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 1994 Commonwealth Games), could have helped produce a socio-economic effect in terms of: attractiveness as a place of residency, low unemployment, high real estate development potential for profit, increasing immigration of new people(s), and expanding opportunities for business or economic development. High profile international attention performs its duty as a marketing, public relations, and sales catalyst for further activity. Boaters from around the world gather annually in the waters off of Vancouver Island for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

An example of this economic opportunity also lies in Victoria's geography. The April 19, 2008 "Victoria Times Colonist" newspaper printed a section, sponsored by the Downtown Victoria Business Association/DVBA, focusing on the area's downtown selection of goods and service providers. As it was in the early days with merchants supplying and outfitting gold rush prospectors, today's modern merchants supply outdoor recreation seekers before they head to other parts of Vancouver Island for surfing, kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming, cycling or whatever activities they seek.

In June 2010, the Canadian Navy celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Fleet Review in the waters off of Greater Victoria, by Canada's former Governor General Michaëlle Jean. The review was attended by warships from Canada, France, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United States along with US and Canadian Coast Guard vessels. These celebration activities coincided with the Esquimalt Buccaneer Days Fair and the 2010 FIFA World Cup activities in local bars.

The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay started in Greater Victoria and proceeded to other communities across Canada. The conclusion of the torch relay began the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC.

Victoria's world famous Butchart Gardens are actually located in Central Saanich

Notable places

Educational institutions


Military installations

(Department of National Defence)

Parks and natural features

Scientific facilities

Sites of interest





Sports facilities



Transportation and ports

Media outlets


Social Media Communities

  • Victoria Buzz

AM Radio

FM Radio


Regional organisations

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Greater Victoria Film Commission
Greater Victoria Art Gallery
Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition
Greater Victoria Public Library


  1. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas, 2011 and 2006 censuses". Statistics Canada. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  2. ^ Neighbourhoods | Victoria. (2012-10-04). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  3. ^ Census Profile. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.

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