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Which Municipality is Right for You? Victoria, Esquimalt and Oak Bay

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When choosing a new home, location is of course hugely important. You don’t just need to find a good area — you need to find the right area for you. 

To help you do just that, we’re running the second in our “Which Municipality Is Right For You” series. If you haven’t read the first, just click here to find out about the Westshore.

City of Victoria 

It can be a little confusing if you’re new to Vancouver Island, but Victoria is just one of 13 municipalities within Greater Victoria. For this section, we are referring specifically to the contained City of Victoria. 

If you’re looking for all the culture, amenities, beauty, and bustle of a big city, but with the atmosphere of a smaller area, then you need to look no further than Victoria. 

With a downtown core that is thriving with places to go and the hum of life, a prospering technology industry, and its famed reputation as the City Of Gardens, Victoria has much to offer anyone looking to make the move. 

Victoria is a great city for families, with its clean environmentally-friendly ethos, and exemplary schooling options. It’s also great for professionals wanting to live in an apartment, or retirees wanting a condo - basically, there is something for everyone in the city! 

Transport will be less of an issue in Victoria, as most people who live there also work in the city, but you can still make use of the extensive bus networks running across the city. Victoria is also one of the more bike-friendly cities, and it’s proximity to nearby woodland areas, making it perfect for cyclists, or even those looking to take it up as an activity.

For food, there is a big and varied selection of great restaurants, so you’re never far away from a great meal! Or from great drinks, with many microbreweries nearby. 

Famed for its nature, there are some gorgeous scenes to be had on your front door. 

  • Beacon Hill Park
    The expansive park features 200-acres of paved walking trails, benches, green space, picnic areas, a children’s playground, lush gardens, duck ponds, and a kid's petting farm. With its sprawling greenery, Beacon Hill is the perfect place to soak in the unique atmosphere and beauty of Victoria.

  • Victoria Harbour
    The harbour is arguably the heart and soul of Victoria, and a walk along Wharf Street at night is key to understanding the appeal of the city. Here you will also found some of the city’s most distinctive architecture, boutiques, bars, and restaurants 

  • Ogden Point
    The edge of the Island, Ogden Point offers spectacular views of the ocean and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. There is a path along the water so you can spend your entire walk (or bike ride) just watching the water and enjoying the beauty of living on the tip of an Island. 

There are many great aspects to living in the City of Victoria. Having so many amenities walking distance can be a big plus for many, and depending on the neighbourhood you can feel like you’re in a small town away from the hustle and bustle, but still be close to everything. Or for that city-living, there are many options available too. 

Victoria’s downtown core offers several condos and townhouses, some of which boast modern interiors while keeping a historical facade. Just outside of the downtown core is where more townhouses, cottages, bungalows, and character homes can be found.

Vic West

The neighbourhood across the water, Victoria West, often referred to as just “Vic West” is situated at the midpoint between downtown Victoria and Esquimalt.

It is not its own municipality, but it is big enough with its growing neighbourhood and status to merit its own entry. 

Home to a growing community of over 7,000, this once sleepy inlet is one of the fastest-growing areas in the region. With a diverse collection of areas, from modern harbourfront condos to historic hillside houses, Vic West has something to offer any prospective buyer. 

Vic West is the ideal location for young families looking to stay close to their jobs in the city or the amenities of downtown Victoria, all while enjoying a slower pace of life and community living that will be perfect for them. 

It is home to a wide range of suitable amenities, including the city’s only skate park, and has 22 parks/green spaces within it. 

It also includes: 

  • Vic West Community Centre
    Adjacent to Banfield Park, this community hub offers a wide range of exercise and community programs, as well as a licensed daycare and preschool program  

  • Galloping Goose Trail
    Crossing the spectacular scenery of the Gorge Waterway and connecting to the historic Selkirk Trestle, the Galloping Goose Trail is one of the longest and most revered on the Island, and perfect for days out and keen cyclists 

  • Banfield Park
    This spacious waterfront park is perfect for families looking to relax and enjoy a day out, with picnic tables, a community garden, and an off-leash area for dogs 

  • Westside Village
    This relatively recent development highlights the growth of Vic West, with a wide range of local independent artisan stores and coffee shops 

Vic West is also ideally placed in terms of transport links, with two bridges connecting it to downtown Victoria, and public transport links with the nearby Esquimalt. However, commuters should factor in potential traffic delays when getting into downtown during rush hour.


With water on three sides, the municipality of Esquimalt is defined by its shipping and naval histories, with the Naval Base still one of the principal employers in the area.

These days, Esquimalt is firmly entrenched as a popular municipality, with its breezy seaside atmosphere, and a wide array of amenities.

Esquimalt is ideal for those working in its primary industries who don’t wish to commute and want to enjoy the benefits of its reasonable property prices. Also making it a great option for first-time buyers, and couples who may be looking for a new home as they move into a new phase of their life. 

Those looking to buy can now choose from a number of modern redevelopment projects, with highlights including the Eastern Shoreline condominiums that offer stunning views of Victoria and the harbour, with an easy commute to the city. 

Esquimalt also offers

  • Saxe Point
    This well-liked waterfront park offers stunning panoramic views of both the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains.

  • Esquimalt Recreation Centre
    Esquimalt is a popular choice for people who love to get outdoors and stay active, and its recreation centre is another great way of doing that. With a 25-metre pool and other facilities, it is well liked by families of all shapes and sizes

  • Esquimalt Plaza
    This bustling plaza features a wide range of amenities, including grocers, bakeries, and independent coffee shops.

For commuting purposes, Esquimalt is well-served by a number of bridges that span its many waterways and offers regular buses to downtown Victoria.

Oak Bay

Oak Bay is very much the upscale darling of the region, and somewhere with a reputation that has seen it frequently voted as one of the best places in British Columbia - and even Canada - to live.

And it’s easy to see why, with its village ambience, picturesque scenery, and marina, and wide range of boutiques stores, art galleries, artisanal coffee, and bakeries. 

In keeping with its reputation Oak Bay is one of the more expensive areas in the region, meaning it may not be a great option for first-time buyers. 

However, for families and second-time buyers looking to move up the ladder, it is perfect with its combination of well-regarded schools, proximity to Victoria, and strong community atmosphere. 

The quiet pace of life in Oak Bay also makes it a popular destination for retirees. Everyone can make use of the fantastic array of amenities and atmosphere Oak Bay has to offer. 

At the heart of the community is Oak Bay village, a thriving downtown area that features many local businesses including artisan pubs and coffee, as well as delightful bakeries and boutiques. 

Another of Oak Bay’s most appealing features is its beaches, spotlighted by one of the longest beaches in Victoria: Willows Beach. It is one of Victoria's most popular swimming beaches, as its shallow, protected water is suitable for young children, while views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker make basking, swimming or paddling there just that much more beautiful. 

In terms of commute, Oak Bay offers easy access to Downtown Victoria, whether that’s through cycling, driving, or taking advantage of the well maintained public transport links. 

No matter where you’re looking to buy, once you find the right area, you need to find the right home. And no one is better equipped to help you do that than Madsen Langlois. To find out how we can help you make your next move, get in touch with us today. 

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