Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of about 330,000, the 15th most populous Canadian metro region.
Victoria is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from BC's largest city of Vancouver on the mainland. The city is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Seattle by airplane or ferry, and 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Port Angeles, Washington by ferry across the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and the Dominion of Canada, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1841. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, in particular its two most famous landmarks, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings (finished in 1897 and home of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia) and the Empress hotel (opened in 1908). The city's Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's. The region's Coast Salish First Nations peoples established communities in the area long before non-native settlement, possibly several thousand years earlier, which had large populations at the time of European exploration. Victoria, like many Vancouver Island communities, continues to have a sizable First Nations presence, composed of peoples from all over Vancouver Island and beyond.
Nicknamed the "City of Gardens," Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourism destination. The city is popular with students, who come to attend the University of Victoria, Camosun College, Royal Roads University, and other institutes. Victoria is also popular with retirees, who come to enjoy the temperate and usually snow-free climate of the area as well as the relaxed pace of the city.