Victoria is the capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. Victoria is the 7th most densely populated city in Canada. Victoria is the southernmost major city in Western Canada and is about 100 km (60 mi) south-west from British Columbia's largest city of Vancouver on the mainland. The city is about 100 km (60 mi) from Seattle by plane, ferry, or the Victoria Clipper passenger-only ferry, and 40 km (25 mi) from Port Angeles, Washington, by ferry Coho across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Named for Queen Victoria, the city is one of the oldest in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, in particular its two most famous landmarks, the Parliament Buildings (finished in 1897 and home of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia) and the Empress hotel (opened in 1908). The city's Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's. The region's Coast Salish First Nations peoples established communities in the area long before European settlement, which had large populations at the time of European exploration.
Known as "The Garden City", Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourism destination with a regional technology sector that has risen to be its largest revenue-generating private industry. Victoria is in the top twenty of world cities for quality-of-life, according to Numbeo. The city has a large non-local student population, who come to attend the University of Victoria, Victoria College of Art, Camosun College, the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and high school programs run by the region's three school districts. Victoria is popular with boaters with its rugged shorelines and beaches. Victoria is also popular with retirees, who come to enjoy the temperate and usually snow-free climate of the area as well as the usually relaxed pace of the city.
The city's chief industries are technology, food products, tourism, education, federal and provincial government administration and services. Other nearby employers include the Canadian Forces (the Township of Esquimalt is the home of the Pacific headquarters of the Royal Canadian Navy), and the University of Victoria (in the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich) and Camosun College (which have over 33,000 faculty, staff and students combined). Other sectors of the Greater Victoria area economy include: investment and banking, online book publishing, various public and private schools, food products manufacturing, light aircraft manufacturing, technology products, various high tech firms in pharmaceuticals and computers, engineering, architecture and telecommunications.
Retail There are three major shopping malls in the City of Victoria, including the Bay Centre, Hillside Shopping Centre, and Mayfair Shopping Centre. Mayfair now offers 117 stores and services including Hudson's Bay and Toys "R" Us. It has 454,213 square feet (42,197.8 m2) of retail space and it also provides customers with rooftop parking.
Technology industry Advanced technology is Victoria's largest revenue-producing private industry with $3.15 billion in annual revenues generated by more than 880 tech companies that have over 15,000 direct employees. The annual economic impact of the sector is estimated at more than $4.03 billion per year. With three post-secondary institutions, eight federal research labs, and Canada's Pacific Navy Base, Victoria has many of the elements required for a strong technology sector, including Canada's highest household internet usage.
Tourism Victoria is a major tourism destination with over 3.5 million overnight visitors per year who add more than a billion dollars to the local economy. As well, over 500,000 daytime visitors arrive via cruise ships which dock at Ogden Point near the city's Inner Harbour. Many whale watching tour companies operate from this harbour due to the whales often present near its coast. The city is also close to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, the Canadian Navy's primary Pacific Ocean naval base.
Downtown Victoria also serves as Greater Victoria's regional downtown, where many night clubs, theatres, restaurants and pubs are clustered, and where many regional public events occur. Canada Day fireworks displays, Symphony Splash, and many other music festivals and cultural events draw tens of thousands of Greater Victorians and visitors to the downtown core. The Rifflandia and Electronic Music Festival are other music events that draw crowds to the downtown core.
The city and metro region has hosted high-profile sports events including the 1994 Commonwealth Games, the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the 2005 Ford World Men's Curling Championship tournament, and 2006 Skate Canada. Victoria co-hosted the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Royal Athletic Park, and is the venue for the Bastion Square Grand Prix Criterium road cycling race. The city is also a destination for conventions, meetings, and conferences, including a 2007 North Atlantic Treaty Organization military chief of staff meeting held at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Every year, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race attracts boaters from around the world to participate in the boat race in the waters off of Vancouver Island, and the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival brings over 90 teams from around North America. The Tall Ships Festival brings sailing ships to the city harbour. Victoria also hosts the start of the Vic-Maui Yacht Race, the longest offshore sailboat race on the West Coast.
The Port of Victoria consists of three parts, the Outer Harbour, used by deep sea vessels, the Inner and Upper Harbours, used by coastal and industrial traffic. It is protected by a breakwater with a deep and wide opening. The port is a working harbour, tourist attraction and cruise destination. Esquimalt Harbour is also a well-protected harbour with a large graving dock and shipbuilding and repair facilities.
Victoria has a population of over 85,792 people. Victoria also forms part of the Greater Victoria metropolitan area which has a population of over 367,770 people. Victoria is the #88 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.6409 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.