While COVID-19 has challenged Victoria’s tourism industry, the City of Gardens has a long history of welcoming tourists to its waterfront streets.
Some of that history can be viewed in a tourism advertisement created for Victoria in 1936, which describes B.C.’s capital as a “jewel city among the capitals of the world.”
The 85-year-old video, posted by the Royal BC Museum, highlights several landmarks that are still beloved in Victoria today.
The “ivy-covered Empress Hotel” is described as a world-renowned place of luxury, Beacon Hill Park is likened to a slice of paradise, and the legislature grounds are held in high esteem.
Particular attention is paid to the legislature at night, when “at the turn of the switch, the magic of electricity throws the outline in sharp relief against the darkened sky.”
While the decades-old video is intended to attract tourists, the advertisement may verge on exaggeration for modern Victoria residents.
“Here, gardens thrive in a climate that is almost tropic in the embrace of perpetual summer which holds undisputed sway for 12 long months of the year,” the advertisement says of Victoria.
“It’s no wonder that things grow and bloom beneath smiling western skies for the warm ocean current of Japan bring life and luxury to a happy island that bathes in the Pacific’s salty spray,” the video adds.
While the advertisement shows changes to Victoria over nearly a century, it also contains messages that are still relevant today.
“The characteristic beauty of its residential districts has made Victoria a distinctly ‘home city,’” explains the narrator.
“In places in which to live, it is distinctly different from other cities – less in a hurry, more tranquil, more beautiful,” adds the video. “It’s no wonder that Cook, Vancouver and a host of explorers from other years recognized in Victoria a journey’s end.”
The full nearly 10-minute video, Victoria: The Sunshine City (1936), can be viewed above.