Photo © Tourism Victoria
Venice may have their gondolas, but for the last 25 years (and counting), visitors and locals of Victoria, B.C., have been captivated by the iconic Victoria Harbour Ferry or “pickle boats.”
These 12 passenger ferries operate out of Victoria’s inner harbour, home of the iconic Empress Hotel and the Parliament Building. Typically, visitors will catch the ferry at the foot of the Empress and take a water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf for the famous fish ‘n chips or join a tour to learn about the history and future of this beautiful seaside city.
In 25 years of service, the boats have traveled more than 1.5 million kilometers, carried more than 5 million passengers and have been captained by more than 600 men and women. The Victoria Harbour captains are a big reason that 300,000 visitors flock to the boats every year. Among this diverse group of captains are retired politicians, retired military servants and retired leaders of industry who love to share their pride of place with the visiting passengers.
Victoria is home to many exceptional restaurants and micro-breweries, and, three years ago, Victoria Harbour Ferry partnered with several of the best pubs and restaurants in the harbour to offer the hugely successful waterfront “Pickle Pub Crawl”.
If free is in your budget, every summer weekend, the ferries put on a free “water ballet” show in the inner harbour. As part of their 25th anniversary and their commitment to sustainability, Victoria Harbour Ferry unveiled a new electric boat on the last weekend in May, 2015.