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Victoria Orientation and Areas

Victoria Orientation and Areas

Map of Victoria and Victoria areas. Google Maps™ mapping service

It can sometimes be a little tricky for newcomers to get their bearings in Victoria, as like Vancouver, there is water all around and figuring out which way is east and which is west may be a challenge!

Where is Victoria?

Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, near the southern end of the island, so although it’s usual to think that it’s about level with Vancouver, Victoria is actually quite a bit further south.

The city is on a large peninsula called the Saanich Peninsula and the main Downtown area of Victoria faces west, into Victoria Harbour and over to Victoria West, across the harbor via Johnson Street Bridge.

Downtown Victoria

Downtown Victoria is actually fairly compact and easy to get around on foot. You can use the Inner Harbour and James Bay as your reference for ‘west’ and two famous landmarks which are right next to the harbor – the Parliament Buildings and the imposing Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Running north to south the main streets are Government Street, Douglas Street and Blanshard Street. The streets are laid out roughly in the similar grid pattern usually seen in North American cities, though there are some streets which seem to veer off in a different direction every now and then which adds slightly to the confusion!

Neighborhoods of Victoria


Just to the north of Downtown Victoria is Chinatown, and although small it can claim to be the oldest Chinatown in Canada.

Beacon Hill

To the south of Downtown Victoria is the popular Beacon Hill Park with recreation, trails, picnic areas and more.

Victoria West and Esquimalt

To the west, across the harbor is Victoria West which is situated within the larger district of Esquimalt. Further past Victoria West is View Royal.

Oak Bay

A few miles to the east of Downtown Victoria and you reach the eastern coast of the peninsula where you have Oak Bay and a little further north, Cadboro Bay.


Going further north from Victoria you travel up towards the top of the peninsula, through the area called Saanich. At the far north of the Saanich Peninsula is Swartz Bay where you catch the ferry to and from Vancouver.