The capital of British Columbia, Victoria offers a charming complement to Vancouver's modern bustle, with century-old government buildings, a quaint downtown built around the harbor and lush, seasonal gardens. For event planners, Victoria event venues offer an elegant, Old World setting, with ample space and hotel and dining amenities.
Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, a 90-minute ferry ride or 35-minute float plane ride from Vancouver on the mainland. Its closest airport is Victoria International Airport (YYJ), although international passengers are likely to touch down through the Vancouver International Airport (VYR). Located eight miles south from downtown Vancouver in Richmond, BC, VYR is Canada's 2nd-busiest airport, behind the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Serving approximately 17 million passengers and approximately 300,000 take-offs and landings per year. Visitors can also fly directly into Victoria International Airport, which is approximately 14 miles north of the city.
Hotels venues in Victoria are clustered around its idyllic inner harbor. For large groups, the historic 477-room Fairmont Empress offers 13,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 4,560-square-foot ballroom. Nearby, the stately 196-room Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites has 14,000 square feet of meeting space, with a 3,500-square-foot ballroom. The 239-room Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa offers 12,500 square feet of meeting space, including a large room of 3,913 square feet. Both the 304-room Hotel Grand Pacific and the 200-room Inn at Laurel Point are well-outfitted with 10,000 square feet of event space each.
A rich history translates into a unique variety of off-site event venues in Victoria. Downtown, the Royal BC Museum has capacity for 2,500 people in its 60,000 total square feet of event space. Outside the city, Church and State Wines, an acclaimed local winery, has 16,000 square feet of space and can accommodate 316 people. The gloriously manicured Butchart Gardens can host 220 people and has 5,900 square feet of meeting space. Hatley Castle, an early 20th-century mansion on the grounds of the Royal Roads University, has capacity for 700 people and 12,000 square feet of event space. Finally, the bucolic Sea Cider Farms and Ciderhouse accommodates 600 people in its 3,900 square feet of space.
Surrounded as it is by the sea and rich farmland, there is no shortage of exceptional dining spots in Victoria. The Bard and Baker Pub, near the downtown waterfront, has a 150-person private dining room or can be bought out for groups of up to 320 people. Canoe Brewpub, Marina and Restaurant has a private space for 80 people. The chic, upscale Veneto can be bought out for groups of up to 90 people. Also located downtown, trendy Vista 18 has private space for 50 people, while Cafe Brio, which specializes in fresh, West Coast cuisine, can be bought out for groups of up to 70 people.