Practical Information

    Greater Victoria, with a population of about 350,000, is on the extreme southern end of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.  As the raven flies, it's 113 km (83 miles) north-west of Seattle, or 144 km (89 miles) south-west Vancouver.  The City of Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia, and Greater Victoria is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, even in winter.  For example, world-famous Butchart Gardens is open year-round.  For more information about Victoria, its history, climate, etc., click here.

By Air
   Victoria International Airport will be the main entry point to Victoria for the majority of conference attendees, with dozens of flights per day from many points in Canada and the U.S., including direct flights from Seattle and Vancouver.  The airport is approximately 28 km (17 miles) from downtown Victoria and the conference venue, and the drive time to/from the airport is about 30 minutes.  A taxi costs about $65. Alternatively, Akal Airporter operates a frequent shuttle service between downtown hotels and the airport for approximately $19 per person (with discounts for groups of 3 or more).
   Downtown Victoria on the inner harbour also hosts a small air terminal for float plane service between Victoria and Seattle (Kenmore Airlines), and between Victoria and Vancouver (Harbour Air and WestCoast Air).  These only operate in daytime, with a reduced number of flights during the winter, but provide downtown to downtown service.
By Car
   Attendees driving to the conference have only two options for getting to the island at this time of year.   BC Ferries operates a vehicle/passenger ferry from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Schwartz Bay (about 32 km (20 miles) from downtown Victoria) approximately every two hours from about 6am to 10pm.  Alternatively, Black Ball Ferries has a vehicle/passenger ferry operating out of Port Angeles, WA (about 140km/85mi west of Seattle) directly to Victoria's inner harbour, once or twice per day.
By Bus
   In principle, one can take the Vancouver city transit to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen, then the Victoria transit to downtown Victoria.
   Pacific Coach Lines run frequent trips between Vancouver and Victoria.  The trip takes about 4 hours including the ferry. 
   QuickShuttle and Greyhound both offer shuttle/bus service between Seattle and Vancouver.
By Boat
   There is no direct passenger ferry service between Victoria and Seattle or Vancouver at this time of year, other than the vehicle/passenger ferries operating out of Port Angeles, WA and Tsawwassen, BC.

Victoria Weather in January
    Victoria has by far the mildest climate in Canada, and boasts the lowest rainfall in the Pacific north-west and the most days of sunshine.  Unfortunately, January tends to be the dampest month of the year, with an average of 16 days of rain, so an umbrella is definitely called for.  Nevertheless, the temperature is mild (averaging around 6° C (43° F), and very rarely below freezing).  Snow is rare in Victoria.
 Page last updated 27 January 2011 by GHMS