Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the province's capital and fourth largest city. It lies on the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the southern end of Vancouver Island, about 55 miles (90 km) southwest of the mainland city of Vancouver. Government is Victoria's main business. However, the city is also a major seaport and a manufacturing and tourist center. Leading industries include shipbuilding, lumber and paper milling, and food processing. The Pacific headquarters of the Canadian navy is in suburban Esquimalt.
Victoria is served by the Trans-Canada Highway and has an international airport Ferries link the city with Vancouver and other provincial ports and with Seattle, Port Angeles, and Anacortes in Washington.
Downtown Victoria, an area of commercial, industrial, and government buildings, borders the port and Victoria Harbor. Spacious residential districts fan out to the north and east. The city is often described as the most “English” in Canada and has many Victorian and Tudor-style buildings and lovely English gardens. Major attractions include the Empress Hotel, the massive, 19th-century provincial Parliament buildings, the Royal British Columbia Museum, Beacon Hill Park, and nearby Butchart Gardens. Victoria is the site of the University of Victoria and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.
Victoria was founded in 1843 as a trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company. It became the capital of the British colony of Vancouver Island six years later. With the discovery of gold on the mainland in 1858, the city grew rapidly as a port and a supply center for prospectors. Victoria was made the capital of the colony of British Columbia in 1868 and became the provincial capital in 1871.