Once an old-fash­ioned cruis­ing des­ti­na­tion, Vic­to­ria, B.C., is now one of the coolest get­aways in the Pa­cific North­west.

Once an old-fash­ioned kind of cruis­ing des­ti­na­tion, Bri­tish Columbia’s cap­i­tal city has re­vealed a hip­per side and is now one of the coolest get­aways in the Pa­cific North­west.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Not long ago, Vic­to­ria was the type of place you’d think about cruis­ing to with your grand­par­ents rather than hit up for a guys’ week­end or a fun get­away with your wife. This pic­turesque port with spec­tac­u­lar scenery on the south­ern tip of Van­cou­ver Is­land was a sleepier place. Many of the res­i­dents were re­tirees and a high­light of the cul­tural scene was high tea in the his­toric district. But the at­mos­phere has changed, and the pace is more charged now that Vic­to­ria is home to an in­flux of cre­ative, en­tre­pre­neur­ial types, some of whom were driven across the Strait of Ge­or­gia by sky­rock­et­ing real estate prices in Van­cou­ver. Oth­ers have come to join the thriv­ing tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, one of the largest rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing pri­vate in­dus­tries in the city and the rea­son why some peo­ple now call the place “Tec­to­ria.”

The sea change in pop­u­la­tion is good news for boaters, as it’s spurred ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments along the wa­ter­front. On land, brick ware­houses built in the mid1800s are home to in­die bou­tiques, or­ganic restau­rants, WiFi-ready cafes and craft brew­eries. And in the har­bor, new fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices make Vic­to­ria friendly turf for cruis­ing yachts­men. “My wife and I lived here twenty years ago when Vic­to­ria was of­ten re­ferred to as ‘the place for the new­ly­wed and the nearly dead.’ It was a work­ing har­bor at the time, and plea­sure boats were an af­ter­thought,” says Rob Lang­ford, who keeps his Nord­havn 40 at his home in Van­cou­ver. “But the in­fra­struc­ture has changed. Now there are ded­i­cated slips and staff for recre­ational boats. You’ll find good-qual­ity docks and modern ser­vices, in­clud­ing a reser­va­tion sys­tem. At one time, there was never a guar­an­tee you’d have moor­age when you ar­rived.” The har­bor author­ity is mak­ing ef­forts to ac­com­mo­date very large boats, too, many of which now stop in Vic­to­ria to clear cus­toms be­fore mov­ing on to ex­plore places like the Gulf Is­lands to the east or the wild, raw and beau­ti­ful coast of Van­cou­ver Is­land. “You would have never seen a su­pery­acht here ten years ago,” says Lang­ford. “That’s no longer the case.”

Boaters have nav­i­gated their way to Vic­to­ria for decades, and the port has long been lauded as one of the world’s top small ur­ban des­ti­na­tions, with water­ways trav­eled by cruise ships, fer­ries and float­planes.

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