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Our Colwood location is now open with limited hours. All other locations remain closed. Learn more.

Community Information

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and located on the southern part of Vancouver Island. There are plenty of reasons to love this area: a dynamic arts community, the mild climate, and the year-round outdoor life. You’ll find it a place rich in history with modern shops, recreation facilities and schools. You’re never too far from a great restaurant, a beautiful park or a walk by the ocean.

Geography and Climate

Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. In order to get to Victoria by car, you will need to take a ferry from Vancouver (Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal). The trip is approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes. The unique location of Victoria gives the area a temperate climate with warm summers (the average temperature is 22 Celsius) and with more hours of sunshine than other regions on mainland B.C. Nature trails and bicycle lanes abound in the area, making the city very pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

A warm coat and umbrella are sufficient for winters in the Victoria region since they are usually the mildest in Canada with an average January temperature of 6 Celsius. When it does snow, it often does not stay long. The area is a haven for motorcyclists, cyclists and golfers. However, if you do prefer traditional winter activities such as skiing, you can visit Mount Washington, which is a 3 hour drive north of Victoria. This ski resort is located near the 19 Wing Comox Canadian Air Force Base.

Language

While the primary language in Victoria is English, you will hear a variety of languages spoken through the area. French can be heard in some parts of the downtown areas close to government offices and around CFB Esquimalt. If your primary language is French, there is a French language school system, a Francophone society and free second language training available through the MFRC. Victoria has one of the highest levels of registrations in French immersion programs in Canada.

Cultural Heritage/Tourism

Victoria is a city rich in its diverse cultural heritage: you can immerse yourself in the “British feel” of the area by going to the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea or explore the legacy of the First Nations people by visiting one of their many cultural centres. Victoria is also world-renowned for its majestic Butchart Gardens. The city is a favoured tourist destination, and the streets during the summer season are full of visitors exploring the city and all of its attractions.

Emergency Preparedness

The Greater Victoria region is subject to the risk of earthquakes, severe winter wind and rain storms, and summer fire hazards. There is information available from the B.C. government to help you gain awareness of the hazards and how to respond. Preparing for emergencies is everyone’s responsibility.

Pets

  • Most municipalities have a list of dog-friendly and off-leash parks.
  • The CRD website has a list of parks where dogs are welcome and a list of off-limit areas in each park.
  • All pets must be on a leash and under control at all times in B.C. Provincial Parks.
  • The Capital Regional District (CRD) Bylaw and Animal Care Services manages dog licensing for Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Highlands, Sooke, Juan de Duca Electoral Area, Salt Spring Island, Southern Gulf Islands and View Royal. Purchase licenses through Bylaw Services or through select vendors listed on their website.
  • Residents of larger municipalities in the CRD Bylaw Enforcement Area can purchase a license at their municipal hall.
  • Every municipality can purchase a license at the CRD Animal Shelter (5401 Pat Bay Highway).

Garbage and Recycling

  • The Capital Regional District provides curbside recycling to over 121,000 homes in the region.
  • Kitchen scraps are restricted from your garbage and are picked up every two weeks with garbage collection.
  • Some municipalities provide their own garbage collection. In some areas like Colwood, Langford, and Sooke, you may be required to contract your own provider.

Links for Newcomers

If you are brand new to the area or planning on moving here, you may want to check out the following organizations.

Podcasts

Here are some episodes of The Military Lifestyle podcast that might be of interest.

Military Family Financial Planning
Military life is different and so are your finances. There are deployments, postings, you might not have family close by and you might have businesses willing to give you a “great” deal. Let’s examine financial planning from a military perspective. Special guest: Suzie Fines, SISIP Financial Services.

The Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman
The military is a complex system. There are a lot of policies that govern the way it operates and that system can be complex for even the most experienced person. If you ever feel like the system’s failed you, that you’ve got a complaint and think you’ve been treated unfairly, there’s a formal way to move forward. Special guest: Greg Lick, CAF Ombudsman.

Kim Mills from She is Fierce
Kim Mills is a writer that’s been living the military lifestyle for close to 20 years. Through her writing or storytelling and sharing her personal experiences, military families everywhere have connected to her work at She is Fierce. She speaks about deployments, anxiety and what she has learned from living the lifestyle. Special guest: Kim Mills.

Diversity and the Canadian Military
In Canada’s Defence Policy, it says the Canadian Armed Forces must reflect the diversity of the country that we defend, and that we need a military that looks like Canada. You often hear the phrase “stronger together” here in the military family community. If the military wants to reach its goal, families will be a big part of the process. Dr. Lisa Gunderson discusses privilege, bias, and a few things for the military community to consider.

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