Before we get started, we must let you know that we received compensation from TD, however, all opinions in this post are our own.
Victoria, British Columbia
There are a few places in this world that we will revisit again and again. Victoria is one of them.
We love the city’s old town character and laid back vibe. Every time we drive off the ferry at Swartz Bay we feel a sense of calm wash over us. Victoria is a relatively big city, but it doesn’t feel or act that way. Vancouver Island has a different pace.
This is the place where we first met. It’s where our story began.
It had been a few years since our last visit, so we decided that we were long overdue. The purpose of this particular trip was to introduce our boys to Victoria and show them the places we used to frequent. We both went to university in Victoria and met on the dance floor at a university bar. True story. Who says you can’t find love on the dance floor?!
That was over 16 years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago, which is probably because it was a lifetime ago.
Braydon has been to Victoria a few times before, but he was too young to remember those trips. For Connor, this would be his first visit.
A funny thing happens when you return to a place where you once lived.
You’re instantly transported back in time. The feelings and memories come back to life. It allows you to hit the pause button, to reflect on how much has changed and far you’ve come.
This trip to Victoria reminded us that travel doesn’t always have to be to faraway lands. Sometimes the most memorable and impactful travel experiences happen close to home.
We travel to create special memories with our boys. They continue to grow at a rapid pace – even though we keep telling them to STOP growing so fast – so it’s very important that we spend as much time together as possible. For our little tribe, that means traveling both near and far.
Booking our Trip
We are huge supporters of credit card loyalty programs because they allow us to stretch our dollar and travel more. With the TD Travel Rewards Program, we can book with ease through ExpediaForTD.com, while also redeeming TD Points we’ve already earned with our TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* Credit Card for that trip, so we can continue to have new experiences and stay connected as a family. If you’re not using a travel credit card, you’re missing out on travel rewards that are super easy to earn.
The credit card application process was easy – we walked to our branch and applied for the card with a TD customer service rep. Once we received and activated our card, we registered it on TDRewards.com and used it to book our hotel and activities on the ExpediaForTD.com platform.
The platform provides access to all of the same travel services available through Expedia with the exclusive ability for TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* Cardholders to earn TD Points for travel purchases at an accelerated pace. For example, you can earn 9 TD Points on all travel booked online through ExpediaForTD.com.
Royal British Columbia Museum
It’s a fun, interactive museum that has some pretty cool exhibits. We knew our boys would enjoy the experience (especially the giant woolly mammoth) so we decided to make this a focal point for our trip.
Note – you can skip the line by purchasing tickets for the museum through Expedia For TD.
This is not a painting. It’s a full scale woolly mammoth model.
A Pacific Northwest coastal exhibit with life size seals and birds.
Coastal Forest exhibit in the Natural History Gallery.
Entrance to the Maritime Gallery.
Learning about British Columbia’s logging history.
The Kekuli, or Pit House, in the First Peoples Gallery.
The impressive Totem Hall in the First Peoples gallery.
Inside the Jonathan Hunt House, a real ceremonial house.
Inside the Modern History Gallery.
Victoria Bug Zoo
After exploring the Royal BC Museum we made a stop at the Victoria Bug Zoo. It’s not a very big facility but it does have an impressive collection of insects and spiders. Braydon loves animals, so he enjoyed himself.
He even touched a tarantula and huge millipede. No chance you’d get me touching a massive spider!
Horse Drawn Carriage Tour
When we were in university, Nicole worked on the horse carriages, driving tourists around the city and pointing out its historical sights and attractions. To this day, it remains her favorite job because of her love of horses and travel.
The horse drawn carriages will pick you up from your hotel or restaurant. You can also organize your trip directly from the horse carriage operators, located beside the BC Parliament Buildings. Tours range from 30 minutes to an 1.5 hours.
You can book a horse drawn carriage tour using the Expedia For TD platform. We booked this activity at the same time we booked our tickets to the museum and our hotel. The website was really easy to navigate. That’s probably the reason we ended up being so busy on our trip.
Water Taxi around the Inner Harbour
Of course, every trip to Victoria must include a water taxi around its bustling Inner Harbour. These little boats bounce around the harbour taking passengers to a number of different locations. It’s not cheap – we paid $36 for 4 people round trip – but it’s a fun way to get around the city.
There’s a dock located directly in front of our hotel, which was very convenient.
The harbour is also a busy airport for float planes.
Where to Stay in Victoria
Since we are TD First Class Travel Credit Cardholders, we get full access to Expedia’s inventory of over a million of flights, hotels, packages and more.
We stayed at the Delta Ocean Point Resort, which we booked through Expedia For TD. This was our third time staying at this property. It was renovated a few years ago, so the rooms are updated. It has a large indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and an extensive gym facility. There are plenty of hotel options in Downtown Victoria but few of them have an indoor pool, so that gives the Delta a big advantage in our books.
The property is located across the harbour. There is a water taxi stop directly in front of the hotel, so you can hop on one of these little boats to cross the water. Or you can walk along the seawall and cross the Johnson Street Bridge. Everything is very close to this property.
Keep in mind, when you book your hotel accommodations using ExpediaForTD.com you will receive 3 times the TD Points for your booking – this goes for flights, car rentals and activities. TD Points must be redeemed in minimum 200-point increments for travel purchases charged to your card that are booked online or by phone through Expedia For TD.
View of the Inner Harbour from our room at the Delta Ocean Point Resort.
How to Get to Victoria
Because Victoria is on an island, there are really only two ways to get there – ferry or plane.
If you’re travelling to Victoria from the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) you will take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. The ferry takes about 1.5 hours and passes through the Southern Gulf Islands. You can bring your car on the BC Ferries, which is what we did. Check the ferry schedules here.
If you don’t have a car, you can take the bus from Downtown Victoria to Downtown Vancouver, and vice versa.
You can also take a ferry from Seattle, Washington to Victoria. You board a high-speed, passenger-only ferry from downtown Seattle. It takes about 3 hours and arrives in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Another option is to take a float plane to Victoria.
Victoria’s Inner Harbour is one of the busiest float plane airports in North America. You can catch flights to destinations on Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and the Lower Mainland. Flights take between 20-40 minutes and cost between $75-$200 per flight.
It’s a fun and convenient way to travel and the views are incredible.
Then and Now Photos
Another goal for our this trip to Victoria was to capture a few ‘Then and Now’ photos. We always have fun looking back on old photos to see the changes that have happened over the years.
Below are a few images that make us smile.
Then: Baby Braydon on the bed at that Delta Ocean Point Resort.
Now: Braydon on the bed at the Delta Ocean Point Resort (just turned 6 years old).
Then: Swimming at the Delta Ocean Point Resort with Baby Braydon.
Now: Swimming in the same pool 5 years later.
Then: Waiting for a water taxi in front of the Johnson Street Bridge.
Now: Waiting on the same dock in front of the Johnson Street Bridge, 5 years later.
Then: Inside a water taxi in the Inner Harbour.
Now: Inside a similar water taxi, 5 years and 1 more child later.
Then: On the seawall in front of the Inner Harbour.
Now: Similar view from the seawall in front of the Inner Harbour.
To learn about the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* Credit Card click here.