Victoria: The provincial capital lies at the southern tip of the heavily forested and mountainous Vancouver Island. This most English of Canadian towns is distinguished by Victorian and neo-classical architecture and well-appointed residential areas. In the harbour area are the impressive Parliament Buildings and the Royal British Columbia Museum, which gives an overview of the region's history. During summer evenings a marching band finishes up at the Parliament Buildings. Also worth visiting are Maltwood Art Gallery, Thunderbird Park (where visitors may see modern-day First Nation carvers at work) and Craigdarroch Castle, an impressive 19th-century landmark mansion home. City life is enhanced by more than 60 recreational parks inside city limits. The Undersea Gardens offer a fish-eye view of harbour life.
Approximately 20km (12 miles) to the north the Butchart Gardens have delightful English, Japanese and Italian gardens set in a former limestone quarry.