When we moved from Alberta to Victoria, BC, almost four years ago, we were coming as students. We planned to get our degrees (because the University of Victoria offered programs we couldn’t find elsewhere) and return.
Well, that was four years ago. Now Sunshine has started school here. We had a baby here. We’ve got friends in multiple parishes around the city. My husband has worked three co-op jobs here. It’s starting to feel like home.
Sometimes, when I drive around Victoria, I’m surprised to find that I’ve gotten myself from Point A to Point B without needing a map—even if I’ve never driven that road before. I’ve got a mental map of the city in my head, though I do still occasionally pull out the mapbook that was so handy in our first months here. (If you move to a new city, buy a mapbook. It is worth it.)
As graduation approaches in April, we talk about what happens next. We don’t know yet (my husband is busy job-hunting), but it’s nice to have many of our friends say, “You’re looking for jobs HERE, right?” Hopefully! There are so many things we love about this city. My husband likes the weather and the lack of snow and ice on the roads. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of the rain right now, but the flowers poking up are very pretty.
Sunshine and Lily love the beaches. I grew up going to the beach occasionally, but I’ll admit that Alberta’s man-made lake beaches have nothing on the ocean beaches around here. We haven’t even seen all the beaches around Victoria yet! We’ve learned to turn over rocks to look for crabs, recognize chitons in tide pools, and to show up when the tide is right.
We’ve also done quite a bit of hiking. There are a couple “mountains” near our house that we take every out-of-town visitor up to see the view of the city. Within a two hours’ drive, there are plenty of other places to hike for an hour or a day. And this summer, I’m looking forward to doing more biking, now that Jade is old enough to go in the bike trailer or bike seat and Sunshine is getting better at riding her bike. I’ve wanted to bike the Galloping Goose Trail from top to bottom since we move here, so perhaps this will be the summer!
The downside to living in Victoria is the fact that we’re on an island. Last month, my husband had two events in Vancouver—a rugby game and a law competition. I would have liked to watch him at both, but we couldn’t afford to take all of us across on the ferry for the day, much less pay for the hotel to stay overnight. There was recently a big blogging event at the Vancouver Aquarium that I would have liked to attend, but again, I couldn’t justify the expense of getting myself there. So sometimes we feel isolated here; Vancouver is “only” two hours away, but that two hours costs $200.
I think the best part about Victoria and Vancouver Island is the natural beauty that surrounds us—and the ability to enjoy it year-round (if you don’t mind getting rained on occasionally). Today is March 1st, and already the daffodils are growing and the trees are flowering. We’ve talked about learning to sail since we moved out here and we’d like to get out canoeing/kayaking more often. And when I think about the Island, I think about the fact that we’ve really only explored this tip—there’s so much more of it to see!
For more about life in Victoria, check out my Vancouver Island page.
Where is “home” for you?
Oh gosh it’s just so beautiful. I can understand why you love it there and want to stay! I would too.
I have never been to Victoria but would love to make it out there one day. The farthest I have been into BC is Kamloops as I had an aunt who lived there at one time. BC is so beautiful. I remember when my aunt lived there and I saw they didn’t have snow on Christmas morning, how strange that would be. But with the winter being like it was this year, I totally wouldn’t mind not having snow for a while. LOL! Thank you for sharing about Victoria! Where are you originally from? (Born and raised?)
I was born and raised in Alberta – lots of snow!!! – so I miss the snow out here. We had two snowfalls the first year we were here, one the second year, none the third year, and so far this year we’ve had two again (but it only lasted for about a day and then it melted). Victoria is definitely beautiful – you should totally come visit! 🙂
Many moons ago ( about 16) we visited Victoria for the one and only time. And I loved it. Hubby and I were on our honeymoon and truly loved our time in BC, but especially on the island. I had no idea it cost so much to take the ferry though ( my memory has blocked that out, LOL) and that is shame for sure, but I guess the pros still outweigh the cons with the beautiful beaches and lovely trails you can explore. Your children will be forever grateful for the memories you get to create as a family there. <3
That’s cool you were here for your honeymoon! Ferry fees have gone up in recent years and get more expensive as our kids get older and we have to start paying for them. 🙁 But you’re right, as long as we stay on the island there’s tons of fun to be had – no reason to leave!!! 🙂
I am from the east coat of Canada and I LOVE Victoria! I visited a few years ago for a conference and immediately fell in love with the beauty and the friendly people. How lucky that you have flowers blooming…we are still covered with approximately 3 feet of snow and the temp is dropping to minus 21 C tonight! Very nice post I loved getting to know you better by reading about your hometown of Victoria.
I would love to visit the east coast!!! 🙂 That’s cool you were out here for a conference… I love having excuses like that to travel to a new place! 🙂
Wow, there are so many wonderful outdoor activities to do there. My family would love it. It blows my mind that there really isn’t snow there in the winter. It is so strange to me to be in Canada without snow and ice. I would love that right now. You should definitely do that bike trip this summer. I would love to see photos of the trail.
If you look at a map, Victoria is actually very far south… it’s still strange to me to think that if I look east, I’m looking at the U.S., not at Canada. In fact, we can see Washington from here on a clear day. 🙂
My husband is from Vancouver. Years ago he was offered to lead the Victoria office and I was so wanting him to go. He waited out and the Edmonton office became available. We spent 6 years there but I have to say, I would have gladly given up the bitter cold for the rain. I hope you do stay in Victoria. It truly is so beautiful!
That’s too funny! We came out here for school so now it’s up to the job whether we stay or go elsewhere. I prefer snow to rain and some days it honestly FEELS just as cold here as in Alberta, but other days are pretty nice. 🙂
My mom was born in victoria, I’ve been there several times as my hubby has family all across starting from Victoria and heading all the way up to Comox. It is expensive and they should have a monthly shuttle ferry for residents so it’s not so expensive. I can understand feeling isolated. Friends of ours live in Powell River and she gets upset often missing her parents who live here, because it’s so much to bring the family over for just a weekend visit. But I love the beaches, waterfalls, the ocean is to die for, the markets and shops incredible!
I guess there are pros and cons for anywhere that you live… 🙂 We’ve only made it to Comox once but I”d love to go back up there as I’ve heard it’s gorgeous. It would be nice if BC Ferries would offer sales or deals more often – frequent traveler points or something – to make it easier for us residents or locals to get around the islands. 🙂
Its funny how life works. Sometimes when you plan to live somewhere you end up somewhere else. Growing up I knew I wanted to live close to my parents because my grandparents were over an hour away and I was jealous that my cousins got to see them all the time. I live about 20 mins away from my parents and love how involved they are in my kids lives. Thank you for sharing your experience! Enjoy the next chapter of your life!
I grew up three hours from my grandparents so we saw them monthly. My sister-in-law lives next door to my in-laws and I’m jealous of her… 🙂 So for me one of the biggest downsides of living here is the distance from our families. I’d love to move closer to them, but we’ll have to see! Thanks for dropping by.