Explore the Wonders of Historic James Bay

Before there was Victoria, there was James Bay. This is the oldest residential neighbourhood in Victoria, as well as the oldest in all of Canada's West Coast. Many important Canadians have lived in this in this neighbourhood, including artist Emily Carr, Governor Sir James Douglas, and physician John Sebastian Helmcken. Later, in the 20th century, James Bay was a run-down neighbourhood, and property values fell. Today, however, James Bay is a success story of neighbourhood revitalization. Here you'll find beautifully restored Victorian mansions, cozy coffee shops, fun seaside attractions, and a number of popular tourist destinations. Here's a selection of the best of James Bay for visitors to Victoria.

Morning: Tally-Ho Carriage Tours

A horse-drawn carriage tour may not be the quickest way to get to know a new place, but it certainly is the most exciting (and the most romantic). On a Tally-Ho Carriage Tour, you'll meander through James Bay and the surrounding area in a classic horse-drawn buggy. Tally-Ho Carriage Tours has been operating in Victoria since 1903, making them the oldest carriage tour company in the city. Choose between a tour of the Legislature, downtown Victoria, Beacon Hill Park, or the waterfront. Or, combine all of the above for a deluxe one-hour tour showcasing the best sights in the city.

You can purchase tickets for these tours under the burgundy Tally-Ho umbrella on Menzies Street. Prices vary depending on which tour you choose.

Afternoon: Royal BC Museum and IMAX Victoria

Royal BC Museum


The Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives is located on the corner of Victoria's inner harbour, and occupies the same land that Governor Sir James Douglas' family home once stood on. Douglas was the first Governor of British Columbia, which makes this piece of land a fitting location for the province's natural and human history museum.

This expansive museum includes three permanent galleries, and plays host to a number of large-scale special exhibitions throughout the year, many of which come from other famous museums around the world. Inside the museum, you'll find over 7 million historical specimens, including the famous wooly mammoth. Past special exhibitions have included displays on Egypt, the Titanic, Leonardo da Vinci, and Genghis Khan. Visit their website to see what's on right now.

The museum is open every day at 10 a.m., and closes at 5 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, and 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets are $21.60 for adults, $15.75 for students, youth, and seniors, and free for children 5 and under.

The Royal BC Museum is located at 675 Belleville Street, across the road from the BC Legislature, and just a short walk from Pacific Undersea Gardens and the Inner Harbour.

IMAX Victoria
While you're at the Royal BC Museum, you won't want to miss an opportunity to visit the museum's IMAX theatre. The screen in this theatre is over six stories high, and is the largest in all of BC. This theatre will have you immersed in film like never before. The IMAX shows educational films throughout the day, and also provides opportunities to see Hollywood movies on their giant screen. Visit their website for current show times and ticket prices.

Evening: Take a Relaxing Stroll Through Beacon Hill Park

After an exciting day, it's time to unwind with an evening stroll through Beacon Hill Park. As you wander through the park's many footpaths, you'll discover manicured gardens, native plants, water features, local wildlife, and plenty of locals and tourists taking in the beauty of it all. At the southern end of the park, you'll find Dallas Road, which provides spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains. While you're there, look for the 127-foot tall totem pole – the largest in the world. Also in the park, you can find Mile 0, the official start of the Trans-Canada Highway. In total, Beacon Hill Park spans 24.8 hectares (62 acres), which means that you can spend a long time getting to know this park.

Insider's Tip: Throughout the summer, look for concerts in the park at Beacon Hill's Cameron Bandshell. Check out the City of Victoria's website for schedules and further information.

To make your way to Beacon Hill Park, simply walk south along Douglas Street for one block, and you will see the park on your left hand side.

Insider's Tip: For a meal you won't soon forget, look for some of the best restaurants in Victoria around James Bay. The Superior, at 106 Superior Street, offers funky selections, with live music almost every night of the week. At the Laurel Point Inn at 680 Montreal Street, you'll find Aura, one of Victoria's foremost waterfront dining establishments. Or head to the Blue Crab at 146 Kingston St for upscale seafood selections in a room with a fantastic view. And, at 270 Government Street, just across from Beacon Hill Park, you'll find the Art Deco Café. Tucked away inside the historic James Bay Inn, this restaurant offers quality, fresh meals in a relaxed environment. No matter which one you pick, these dining spots will provide the perfect way for you to wrap up your day in James Bay.

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James Bay Postal Outlet
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