As one of the West Coast’s oldest urban areas, Victoria is known for its large number of historic homes. From Fairfield to James Bay, you’ll find local landmarks scattered throughout its most notable neighbourhoods.
Whether you want to take a walking tour or are interested in investing in Victoria real estate, the Island’s oldest areas are all worthwhile in their own right.
Let’s take a closer look at some of Victoria’s oldest residential regions.
Only a five minute walk from downtown Victoria, James Bay is the city’s oldest neighbourhood. Originally settled by Sir James Douglas, the area quickly became home to Victoria’s founding families.
Known now as an active epicentre on Victoria’s southside, heritage homes still line certain streets and emphasize the Victorian charm of the city. Combining old and new, James Bay is a great day away for local residents or others visiting the island.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel – a beautiful building and long lasting icon of Vancouver Island – rests against the water in the Inner Harbour. Head down and you’ll find a number of restaurants and boutique shops, as well the Fisherman’s Wharf.
Up next on our list is the Fairlfield area. Named after the Fairfield Farm, a personal property of Sir James Douglas, the neighbourhood is one of Victoria’s most prestigious.
On Victoria’s southernmost point, the neighbourhood has superb sights over the ocean. In fact, Clover Point, a popular scenic destination, provides views of Washington State’s Olympic Mountains and Mount Baker.
These days, people come to visit the social strip at Cook Street Village. With horse chestnut trees lining the street, many enjoy the restaurants, cafes and shops. Another area of note is the wonderfully landscaped Ross Bay Cemetery. This memorial park has the oldest surviving formal landscape design in BC, and is an example of a Victorian-era burial ground.
Making up the northern portion of Fairfield, Rockland merits it’s own section. Full of magnificent mansions, this neighbourhood makes for a fantastic walkabout if you’re interested in local Victorian architecture.
Rockland is also where you’ll find the Government House – residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia – as well as a number of groundbreaking gardens.
Overlooking Victoria’s southern coast, the area is known for having one of Vancouver Island’s most famous homes. The Craigdarroch Castle, a 25,000 square foot manor, is a historic, Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion.
Oak Bay Village
Originally established as a streetcar suburb – one that relies heavily on public transportation – the neighbourhood was incorporated in 1906. Here you’ll find the Victoria Golf Club in South Oak Bay: the second oldest golf course west of the Great Lakes.
What’s more, during the 1930s, Oak Bay was the original “Hollywood North,” as fourteen feature films were produced between 1933 and 1938.
The celebs may be all gone, but now many people enjoy Oak Bay for its wonderful outdoor recreation. Whether they’re having a picnic or cycling the Seaside Touring Route – which goes by many stately manors – the area is highly enjoyable.
Designed in 1907 by famous landscape architect John Olmsted, The Uplands represents a certain time and place.
Known for its estate sized lots, serpentine streets, and green, globed street lamps, the area is residence to many wealthy Victorians. Among the lovely luxury homes and ornamental gate posts, The Uplands offers onlookers gorgeous gardens and ocean vistas.
As a matter of fact, this century old neighbourhood is a prominent example of a garden suburb of the early nineteen hundreds. Garden suburbs are defined as being set in rural surroundings with close attention to their landscaping. The more you know!
Along with Uplands Park – a 76 acre nature reserve full of woodland trails and seaside expanse – The Royal Victoria Yacht Club is located on The Uplands’ shores. Formed on June 8th, 1892, it is Western Canada’s oldest yacht club.
The second oldest Chinatown in all of North America, this passionate community contains an abundance of authentic Chinese restaurants and stores. Along with areas of architectural interest, attractions include Canada’s most narrow street, and its ornate gate, The Gate of Harmonious Interest, which was built in Victoria sister city, Suzhou.
Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995, Chinatown is now a key component of downtown Victoria, possessing a selection of tourist attractions, hotels, bars and more.
If you’re looking for a REALTOR® to help you find a home, look no further than Pemberton Holmes.