Greater Victoria (also known as the Greater Victoria Region) is located in British Columbia, Canada, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is a cultural rather than political entity, usually defined as the thirteen easternmost municipalities of the Capital Regional District (CRD) on Vancouver Island as well as some adjacent areas and nearby islands. The Capital Regional District administers some aspects of public administration for the whole metro region; other aspects are administered by the individual member municipalities of Greater Victoria. Roughly, Greater Victoria consists of all land and nearby islands east of a line drawn from the southern end of Finlayson Arm to the eastern shore of Sooke Harbour, along with some lands on the northern shore of Sooke Harbour.
Many places, buildings, and institutions associated with Victoria such as the University of Victoria, Victoria International Airport, and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, are outside the City of Victoria itself, which has an area of just 19.5 square kilometres (7.5 sq mi) on the southern tip of Greater Victoria. Victoria is the locality indicated in the mailing addresses of several CRD municipalities and localities adjacent to Victoria. The central city of Victoria lends its name and cultural influence to many places and organizations in the metro region.
Many Victoria Region municipalities have their own fairs: Oak Bay’s Tea Party, Esquimalt’s Buccaneer Days, Sidney’s Sidney Days, Sooke’s Sooke Days, Western Communities’ Luxton Rodeo, and Central Saanich’s Saanich Fair. The Saanich Fair is the oldest and largest of all the Greater Victoria local fair venues; it is considered a de facto regional fair because of its greater size, content, and famous reputation. The Saanich Fair has the largest number of attendees of all the Victoria area fairs.
There is a wide variety of entertainment and recreational facilities and activities. The mild coastal climate ensures less extreme weather changes. Outdoor and indoor recreational areas are abundant throughout the region. The Rifflandia Music Festival takes place downtown in mid to late September. The Luminara Lantern Festival is a regionally popular cultural/artistic outdoor activity that draws thousands of visitors to Beacon Hill Park. The Victoria Tall Ships Festival showcase sailing vessels and the sailing life. The Victoria Symphony performs over 100 concerts a year, including the renowned Symphony Splash, an annual free concert in the Inner Harbour on the August Sunday preceding B.C Day. The orchestra is on a barge playing to an audience of over 40,000. The Electronic Music Festival also takes place at Centennial Square, where DJs can show off their music mixing skills.
These regional positive qualities, along with new transportation links, international high-profile events (2007 NATO meeting, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 1994 Commonwealth Games), could have helped produce a socio-economic effect in terms of: attractiveness as a place of residency, low unemployment, high real estate development potential for profit, increasing immigration of new people(s), and expanding opportunities for business or economic development. High-profile international attention performs its duty as a marketing, public relations, and sales catalyst for further activity. Boaters from around the world gather annually in the waters off of Vancouver Island for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.
An example of this economic opportunity also lies in Victoria’s geography. The April 19, 2008 “Victoria Times Colonist” newspaper printed a section, sponsored by the Downtown Victoria Business Association/DVBA, focusing on the area’s downtown selection of goods and service providers. As it was in the early days with merchants supplying and outfitting gold rush prospectors, today’s modern merchants supply outdoor recreation seekers before they head to other parts of Vancouver Island for surfing, kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming, cycling or whatever activities they seek.
In June 2010, the Canadian Navy celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Fleet Review in the waters off of Greater Victoria, by Canada’s former Governor General Michaëlle Jean. The review was attended by warships from Canada, France, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United States along with US and Canadian Coast Guard vessels. These celebration activities coincided with the Esquimalt Buccaneer Days Fair and the 2010 FIFA World Cup activities in local bars.
The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay started in Greater Victoria and proceeded to other communities across Canada. The conclusion of the torch relay began the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC.
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