Living in Victoria
Victoria has been named Canada’s Most Livable City, Canada’s Smartest City, one of the World’s Friendliest Cities and one of the Top Student Destinations in North America. You’ll also call it “home” as a SMUS student.
Victoria, with a population of just 80,000, combines big city features – great shopping, pro sports teams and a wide variety of restaurants – with small-town security and friendliness. You’ll love how close Victoria is to major cities like Vancouver and Seattle, and how accessible weekend activities like skiing and surfing are. (Yes, you’ll get to go skiing and surfing – and so much more! – with your friends on weekends.)
An Urban Boarding School
SMUS is sometimes called “the urban boarding school” given our central location in Victoria’s unique environment. While your boarding house is nestled in a quiet neighbourhood with tree-lined streets, you are also within walking distance to major malls, coffee shops and dozens of restaurants, or you’re a quick bus or bike ride to Victoria’s historic and bustling downtown core or nearby recreation centres.
You’ll get to know Victoria very well, as it’s easy to navigate and there are tons of fun things to do in a small, safe geographic area. Victoria has a mix of urban, suburban and rural living – you’re never more than a few minutes away from a great shopping destination or a small farm selling fresh fruits and vegetables.
With everything that goes on in Victoria, you'll never want to spend a weekend inside. Victoria hosts dozens of fun and free festivals and events year-round, from music festivals and food festivals, to carnivals and Christmas tree displays. And you’re never more than 20 minutes away from being able to join the crowd to cheer on the Victoria Royals (hockey), Victoria Highlanders (soccer) or the Victoria Harbourcats (baseball).
I like SMUS's proximity to the ocean. Honestly, it’s a just a few minutes bike ride and you're at the beach, and I’ve done it several times and it’s just calming after a busy week at school. I also like the school’s placement in the city; it isn’t right downtown, it isn’t completely isolated from everything. You are able to go the grocery store and pick up anything you need, but it also isn’t in the hustle and bustle of city life.
The Warmest City in Canada
Victoria, also known as “The Garden City”, gets its nickname from being one of the consistently sunniest and clearest spots in Canada. It rarely snows here, and temperatures don’t often dip below freezing or climb above 30°C (86°F), so flowers, cherry blossoms and trees bloom early and often. Victoria receives about half the amount of rain each year on average than Vancouver, and we have many more sunny days than nearby Seattle.
The Great Outdoors
Given the year-round mild climate, outdoor recreation and fitness is a big part of living in Victoria and you'll be encouraged to participate as much as possible. The area boasts wonderful hiking trails and bike paths, and is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in Canada. From the region’s dozen golf courses (not to mention all the outdoor mini golf courses!) to scuba diving, ziplining, kayaking and paragliding, having fun outside is a natural part of life on the "best coast".