If there is a coveted accolade Victoria has yet to claim or a prestigious list it has yet to make, it’s only a matter of time.
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia’s capital city beckons more than three million annual visitors for good reason – its beauty is anything but a secret. New residents flock to Victoria for some of the same reasons tourists do, and it appears they are using quite a few U-Haul trucks to get there.
Victoria comes in at No. 9 on the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destination Cities for 2014, down one spot from 2013 but up two spots from 2012. The rankings reflect the top destinations of one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year.
While migration trends reports do not correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.
“We have a vibrant, knowledge-based economy that attracts people,” said Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “Our influx of people are (comprised primarily of) two groups: early-career professionals that are looking to settle down and raise a family; and later-career transition folks moving from one career to another and choosing Victoria as a place to live.”
Victoria is a fixture on flattering lists. It is fourth among Canadian destinations on TripAdvisor. It has been named the No. 3 Friendliest City in the World by Conde Nast Traveler. Amazon.ca named it the Most Romantic City in Canada.
Victoria’s tourist draw offers some clues to why people are moving to the urban center. Boasting the mildest climate in Canada, Victoria’s 308 clear days per year allow its estimated 345,000 residents to thoroughly enjoy the great outdoors.
“Combined with the wild beauty of the Pacific Ocean and old-growth rainforests set against a backdrop of the Olympic Mountains, Victoria is the perfect getaway and the ideal starting point for all Vancouver Island adventures,” said Tessa Humphries, corporate communications manager at Tourism Victoria.
To accommodate steady residential growth, Victoria and its neighbors have plans to make their somewhat isolated location more accessible, manageable and efficient.
“We are replacing the (Johnson Street Bridge) that goes across the harbor with a modern-style lift bridge – quite iconic,” Carter said. “Transportation is a challenge in Victoria. We are built around an iconic harbor. We’re looking at improving transportation to our western communities and providing bus only lanes around those main corridors.”
“The CRD (Capital Regional District) consists of a 13 municipalities that all must work together to meet the needs of the growth,” local U-Haul field relief manager Shawn Sawh added. “The cities are focusing on population density with a mix of business. A good example is the Uptown development. There are a lot of single-family home lots be converted to multifamily lots, keeping our real estate market very strong.
“There is an increase in cruise ships bringing a lot of tourists to the CRD, which supports small and local businesses. We have close proximity to everything, great weather and, in particular, (mild) winters compared to the rest of Canada. If you like outdoors and being near the ocean and lakes, this is a great place for hiking, boating and all outdoor activities – 12 months a year. Going to the marina and feeding the wild sea otters is just awesome! Locally grown, organic farmers markets make healthy living so easy in Victoria.”
Victoria is the first of two British Columbia cities in the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destinations. Continue to visit myuhaulstory.com as U-Haul counts down to the No. 1 destination for 2014.
Victoria residents are invited to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to www.uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.
Additional photo credits: Inner Harbour (featured image) and Kayakers (thumbnail) by Tourism Victoria.
Canadian Destination Cities
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