Victoria BC travel guide - British Columbia tourist information
Our Victoria Travel Planning Guide is intended to help you enjoy your visit here without unexpected surprises arising. As B&B innkeepers we’ve all had to help our guests deal with a variety of concerns on their trip. Some of these could be avoided, like the young lawyer from California staying at my bed and breakfast last summer who brought an old expired passport showing him as a baby. He only entered Canada after showing his bar papers and getting a copy of his passport faxed but we wondered if US immigration would be as lenient (they were).
Victoria Travel Guide
We hope this Victoria travel guide is useful for planning your visit to British Columbia, Canada. See useful tourist information below including driving in BC, Canadian public holidays, Victoria BC accommodations and weather.
Customs and Immigration Information
This is only our interpretation of these requirements so check the relevant authorities and links below for current information. Legal requirements may change at any time.
All foreign visitors entering Canada must have a valid passport or an alternative legal travel document such as an Enhanced Driver’s Licence; a regular driver's license is not adequate. Airlines will require a passport. It is suggested that you bring your birth certificate too. Citizens from other countries may need additional documentation such as a visa so do check with Immigration Canada or your local consulate. Passports are necessary to enter the USA including returning US citizens. Certain plants and fruits may not be imported into either Canada or USA.
For Customs or Immigration information prior to arriving at either border:
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Canada Border Services Agency
US passport information
US Customs and Border Protection
US Immigration and Naturalization
Duty-free allowances. You may bring duty-free gifts up to Cdn$60 into Canada. When re-entering USA visitors may take back duty-free goods up to US$200 if your stay has been less than 48 hours, excluding alcohol and tobacco. For longer stays the personal exemption is US$800 including one litre of alcohol and 200 cigarettes.|
British Columbia tourist information
The Canadian dollar applies. You can convert your own currency to the Canadian dollar through currency conversion websites such as www.xe.com. Most banks are open Monday to Saturday. Victoria bed and breakfasts generally accept Visa, Mastercard or Canadian cash. American Express and Discover cards have limited outlets in Canada.
5% GST (federal Goods and Services Tax) applies to most purchases nationally. Additionally, the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in BC is 7%.
Canada uses the Metric System of Weights and Measures so grocery items are in kilograms and grams.
- To convert kilogramss to pounds multiply by 2 and add 10% … so 5 kilos is 11 pounds approx.
- To convert pounds to kilogramss, subtract 10% and divide by 2 … so 10 lbs is 4.5 kilos approx.
Pacific Time applies in British Columbia, as it also does in most of Washington State, Oregon and California. See time zones information at www.worldtimezone.com.
Electrical outlets - 120v/60c voltage electricity is used, just as in USA.
Getting here: see our Victoria transportation page for information about arriving by airlines or ferries
Driving in British Columbia
Road reports and border crossing information is at www.bchighway.com.
Road speeds and distances are measured in kilometres. Broadly, 80kmph is 50mph.
The use of seat belts and child restraints are mandatory.
BC has strict drink driving laws. Hand-held cell phones may not be used by a driver.
Gasoline (petrol) is sold by the litre.
In British Columbia you can turn right at a red light if the way is clear after you have stopped, unless posted otherwise.
All the major ca rental companies have locations at Victoria International Airport (YYJ) or in downtown Victoria.
See a Greater Victoria map including Victoria attractions and B&B locations.
Local bus services can be viewed at www.bctransit.com.
Canadian Public Holidays
Allow extra time for ferry travel and border crossings. Government offices, banks and some businesses are closed.
New Years Day - January 1
Family Day – the second Monday in February
Good Friday - Friday before Easter
Easter Sunday – the Sunday following the first full moon after Vernal Equinox (work that out!)
Easter Monday - not an official holiday, but banks and some businesses are closed
Victoria Day – the Monday before May 25th
Canada Day - July 1
British Columbia Day - first Monday of August
Labour Day – the first Monday in September
Thanksgiving - second Monday of October
Remembrance Day - November 11
Christmas - December 25
Boxing Day - December 26
Victoria BC accommodations
This is the easy part: there are a variety of Victoria BC bed and breakfasts offering different accommodations in differing locations.
See this link or the box below for weather information. Temperatures are measured in C (Celcius).
Average daily maximum temperatures in Victoria:
C (Celcius) or F (Fahrenheit)
January 6.5 or 44
February 8.4 or 47
March 10.2 or 50
April 12.9 or 55
May 16.3 or 61
June 19.3 or 67
July 21.8 or 71
August 21.8 or 71
September 19.1 or 67
October 14.1 or 57
November 9.4 or 49
December 6.8 or 45
Here's a handy formula to convert Celcius to Fahrenheit: multiply the Celcius by two, deduct 10%, add 32; eg 30C x 2 = 60 - 10% = 56 + 32 = 86F.
Victoria receives 50% of the rainfall of Seattle or Vancouver, mostly from November to April. We only ever expect to have one or two minor snowfalls. Summer rainfall is infrequent and the temperatures are pleasantly warm but rarely hot so not requiring air-conditioning. Mosquitoes are rarely seen in the area.