Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a mix of regal buildings, stunning landscapes and diverse cultures—making the capital of British Columbia the perfect spot for an autumn getaway. We travelled to this historic city to pair the season’s most fashionable looks with its incredible architecture, unique attractions and rich history. Here’s how you can see the best Victoria has to offer—in style.
This iconic building, which overlooks the inner harbour, was originally built as a hotel for the Canadian Pacific Railway’s steamship line in 1908 by famed architect Francis Rattenbury. Drawing on Tudor, Gothic, Baronial and Edwardian styles, the property features incredible design elements, from grand arches to copper-covered dormers on the roof and a brick façade.
This site has been home to British Columbia’s government since 1864; the current buildings, also designed by Rattenbury, opened in 1898. Free guided tours are available, but guests can simply wander on their own, taking in the grand design—don’t miss the incredible rose garden out back.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
From the 1890s to 1956, Fort Rodd Hill was a key coastal defence for Canada. There is plenty to explore at the fortress, including gun batteries, guard houses and barracks. Also located on the property is the Fisgard Lighthouse, the oldest on the West Coast. Explore the exhibits inside the keeper’s house while taking in the killer ocean views.
As Canada’s oldest Chinatown (North America’s second oldest after San Francisco’s), this area grew rapidly during the mid-1800s as Victoria was an entry point for Asian immigration into the province. Fan Tan Alley (pictured below), the heart of Chinatown, is packed with shops and restaurants. Legend has it the alley is also one of the city’s most haunted places.
Hatley Park, home to Royal Roads University campus, wows not only with its castle, but also its impressive grounds that include incredible gardens—Japanese, Italian and rose—15 kilometres of walking trails, and views of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Victoria has two legit castles; the other, Craigdarroch, was built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir in 1890. Hatley was built by Robert’s son, James, in 1910.
Models: Julian and Daniela, Lizbell Agency; hair and makeup: Melissa Craven; styling assistant: Victoria Lessard
[This story appears in the September 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]