Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the busiest working harbour in Canada.
Looking out on an average day, you’ll see yellow and green harbour ferries zig-zagging between shorelines, the M.V. Coho en route to and from Port Angeles, the Victoria Clipper making the rounds from Seattle, luxury yachts, kayakers, fishing vessels and dozens of harbour seals sharing the water.
Perhaps the most common sight among all that traffic is seaplanes, diving in every 15 minutes at peak hours from downtown Vancouver, Whistler, Seattle and various sightseeing tours around the Capital Region.
Harbour Air Seaplanes operates a fleet of DeHavilland Turbine Single Otter, Twin Otter and Beaver aircraft out of the Inner Harbour at Ship Point, providing one of the most tempting launching pads to see Victoria from above. Harbour Air offers four unique charter tours to visitors and long-time residents curious for a different perspective of the area.
For $104, take a 20-minute flight that offers unique views of the grand houses dotting the shores of Oak Bay and Gonzales Bay and get awestruck by the Olympic mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
For another $50 ($166 total), fly over the world-famous Butchart Gardens and the Saanich Peninsula after a low-level tour of the Victoria waterfront and offshore islands. Kids 11 and under fly for half the adult price, so don’t leave them at home.
If you want to get up close at Butchart Gardens, opt for the fly and dine tour ($272) from Harbour Air. Your flight drops you off at the gardens, where a three-course meal is waiting, as is a leisurely evening walk through floodlit gardens.
More ambitious trips include the Vancouver day trip ($377), where visitors can see the sights of Gastown, English Bay and Chinatown. Find the latest deals and tour offers at harbour-air.com.
Seattle-based Kenmore Air (visit kenmoreair.com) also offers seaplane flights between Victoria and Seattle.