Vancouver Island

ParlimentBuildingVancouver Island – British Columbia, Canada, as one of Canada’s largest islands, Vancouver Island is bursting with life and as culture and heritage mingles with nature, this island provides you with plenty of options and activities to keep you entertained no matter when you visit.

With lush vegetation, vigorous rolling mountains and exquisite crystal clear water stretched out before you, there is plenty to love here and Vancouver Island provides an experience like no other.

Vancouver Island Real Estate, Accommodation and Lodging

BoatsInHarbourNearly any type of lodging you’d like to try during your visit is available somewhere on Vancouver Island.

From ski lodges to rental cottages and from full-service hotels to rustic campgrounds, you won’t be disappointed with the accommodation and real estate selection.

Vancouver Island real estate is increasingly popular, so if you want to join the ranks of residents then make sure you have a flexible budget.

In Victoria, a two bedroom home with just under 850 square feet of living space costs $325,000 and you’ll find many places costing more than $1 million, particularly if you want a waterfront view.   If you’re looking to live on the northern part of the island, you’ll find plenty of real estate under the $200,000 mark, a large number of these however being mobile homes. For $1.4 million, you can purchase 3,000 square feet of living space on 11 acres of waterfront land. For the same price in Victoria, you’ll buy just over 1,900 square feet on about one-sixth of an acre of land with a view off the west coast of the island.   Vancouver Island packs plenty of beauty, fun, and relaxation into its significant size. Plan on staying awhile (or maybe forever) if you want to do more than scratch the surface of what this remarkable island has to offer.

Vancouver Island Access and Transportation   Although Vancouver Island is large and is home to British Columbia’s capital, the island is not connected to the mainland by a road, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of options! The island can be reached by air – flights from both Vancouver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport land at Victoria International Airport in the southern part of the island regularly. From Victoria or from Vancouver, you’ll also be able to find floatplanes that go direct to many of the other cities on the island.   If you prefer not to fly, you can also take a ferry. BC Ferries has a network which will transport you from the mainland at several ports to the island or to other islands in the area. You can also take a ferry from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney which is about a 10 minute drive from Victoria.   Vancouver Island is also accessible by bus. You can board the bus in Vancouver then be taken onto the ferry, and then to one of island’s cities. Both Pacific Coach Lines and Greyhound Canada offer this service.   Once you’re on the island, you’ll probably want to have a car if you want to travel to any of the more remote parts of Vancouver Island. However, if you prefer to stay close to the cities, you’ll probably be impressed by the island’s public transportation system.   If you’re traveling from city to city, you can take a ferry, a train, or even a bus.   Vancouver Island Climate and Location

Because of Vancouver Island’s large size, the climate in different parts does vary somewhat. However, on average, the temperatures are very mild year round, making the island popular with would-be residents, real estate investors and visitors alike. High temperatures in the summer range from around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit while the lows in the winter seldom go below freezing.

Precipitation does vary. Parts of the island that are protected by the rain shadow have considerably less rain (25 inches per year on Saanich Peninsula on the southeast coast) to 260 inches of rain a year at Henderson Lake (the wettest location in all of North America) on the west coast. While most of the island’s rainfall is distributed evenly during all of the seasons, the northern part has extremely dry summers. On the bright side, the island rarely sees snow except in the mountains.

Vancouver Island is located west of Pacific Northwest in the Pacific Ocean. The long island is separated from mainland British Columbia, Canada and Washing, United States by three bodies of water: the Strait of Georgia, the Queen Charlotte Strait and the Juan De Fuca Strait. The island is about 52 miles west of Vancouver. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the southern portion of the island. British columbia is one of the more average sized Canadian provinces. Ranked 4th in terms of area and 3rd in population with over 4.3 million residents, the province does have quite a few people who call it home. British Columbia is bordered to the east by Alberta, to the north by the Yukon Territory, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Washington in the United States.

During the 19th century, British Columbia was a popular location for a number of early settlements. Later the province prospered through its forestry, fishing, and agricultural industries. Because of British Columbia’s location on the Pacific Ocean, the province has a history of close relations with Asian countries, including Japan. The province is also home to a very diverse population.

Although the province’s capital is Victoria, Vancouver is its most populous city. With over 2 million residents, the city is the largest in the Pacific Northwest – right after Seattle, which is just two-and-a-half hours south.  

Vancouver Island Activities and Sights

You can expect plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy because of the islands large size, particularly on the southern end of the island. For example, you can explore the Royal British Columbia Museum which takes visitors on a path through natural history. You can also go to the Whale Centre to learn more about whales and to book whale tours. You’ll also find a couple of Hot Springs which can provide a relaxing and unique experience. The island is also home to more than 40 llama farms which will allow visitors to take walks along trails with these unusual but gentle animals – a delightful experience for children and animal lovers.

Of course, the island is also full of opportunities for more physical activities. You’ll find some great golf courses, particularly around Victoria, as well as beautiful beaches for scuba diving, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

Vancouver Island Services and Shopping

If you’re interested in shopping, you’ll find your best options at the southern end of the island, particularly around Victoria. You can explore Chinatown or Market Square, both are unique shopping districts in the area. Victoria is also home to Eaton Centre which is a four story shopping center covering two full city blocks.

Outside of Victoria, you’ll find other shopping centers and unique stores as well. And, of course, Vancouver is not far away if you can’t find something you really need.      

Vancouver Island Climate and Location

Because of Vancouver Island’s large size, the climate in different parts does vary somewhat. However, on average, the temperatures are very mild year round, making the island popular with would-be residents, real estate investors and visitors alike. High temperatures in the summer range from around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit while the lows in the winter seldom go below freezing.

Precipitation does vary. Parts of the island that are protected by the rain shadow have considerably less rain (25 inches per year on Saanich Peninsula on the southeast coast) to 260 inches of rain a year at Henderson Lake (the wettest location in all of North America) on the west coast. While most of the island’s rainfall is distributed evenly during all of the seasons, the northern part has extremely dry summers. On the bright side, the island rarely sees snow except in the mountains.

Vancouver Island is located west of Pacific Northwest in the Pacific Ocean. The long island is separated from mainland British Columbia, Canada and Washing, United States by three bodies of water: the Strait of Georgia, the Queen Charlotte Strait and the Juan De Fuca Strait. The island is about 52 miles west of Vancouver. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the southern portion of the island.

British Columbia is one of the more average sized Canadian provinces. Ranked 4th in terms of area and 3rd in population with over 4.3 million residents, the province does have quite a few people who call it home. British Columbia is bordered to the east by Alberta, to the north by the Yukon Territory, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Washington in the United States.

During the 19th century, British Columbia was a popular location for a number of early settlements. Later the province prospered through its forestry, fishing, and agricultural industries. Because of British Columbia’s location on the Pacific Ocean, the province has a history of close relations with Asian countries, including Japan. The province is also home to a very diverse population.

Although the province’s capital is Victoria, Vancouver is its most populous city. With over 2 million residents, the city is the largest in the Pacific Northwest – right after Seattle, which is just two-and-a-half hours south.

Vancouver Island Access and Transportation

Although Vancouver Island is large and is home to British Columbia’s capital, the island is not connected to the mainland by a road, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of options! The island can be reached by air – flights from both Vancouver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport land at Victoria International Airport in the southern part of the island regularly. From Victoria or from Vancouver, you’ll also be able to find floatplanes that go direct to many of the other cities on the island.

If you prefer not to fly, you can also take a ferry. BC Ferries has a network which will transport you from the mainland at several ports to the island or to other islands in the area. You can also take a ferry from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney which is about a 10 minute drive from Victoria.

Vancouver Island is also accessible by bus. You can board the bus in Vancouver then be taken onto the ferry, and then to one of island’s cities. Both Pacific Coach Lines and Greyhound Canada offer this service.

Once you’re on the island, you’ll probably want to have a car if you want to travel to any of the more remote parts of Vancouver Island. However, if you prefer to stay close to the cities, you’ll probably be impressed by the island’s public transportation systems.

Vancouver Island Culture, History and Population

Vancouver Island covers more than 12,000 square miles making it the 42nd largest island in the world, as well as the largest off Canada’s west coast. Filling all of those square miles is a hefty population of around 723,000 people. Roughly half of the island’s population lives in or right around Victoria, which is the second most populous city in British Columbia.

After the Ice Age ended 8,000 years ago, the first inhabitants to live on Vancouver Island were members of the First Nations who spoke Salish and Kwakiutl. Their existence on the island was disturbed in the late 18th century when Europeans first began coming to the island. After two failed voyages from Spain, Captain James Cook from England became the first to land on the island and to claim it for his country.

After the Spanish created on a settlement of their own in 1789 on the island, they began having disputes with the English and almost ended up at war until they resolved to peacefully share the area thanks to the Nootka Convention of 1792.  As part of the agreement, Captain George Vancouver, for whom the island is named, was put in charge of watching British activities.

Fort Camosun, created by the Hudson’s Bay Company, was the first English settlement on the island in 1843. The fort’s name was later changed to Fort Victoria. When the Oregon Treaty was signed in 1846 by the British and United States, Vancouver Island was given in its entirety to Canada.

Only a few years later, Victoria (formerly Fort Victoria) was named the capital of the island and continued to be the capital when the island was combined with British Columbia in 1866.