Tourists, albeit fewer due to pandemic, find capital remains a place of enchantment

The crowds may be thinner with people paying more attention to social distancing, but the tourists in the heart of Victoria on B.C. Day still feel welcome and are happy to visit.

On a typical day in the summer, let alone a long weekend, there would be a crush of people in the Inner Harbour.

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But to tourists who are in town for the B.C. Day long weekend, the lack of crowds was seen as a positive, especially among travellers trying to balance sightseeing with COVID-19 wariness.

“I like the fact that people are respectful of each other,” said Katie Mahoney, visiting with her partner Geoff Smith and daughter Ada, 5, from St. Albert, Alta. “It’s so nice to see businesses open and people on the streets.”

She said she welcomed the opportunity to travel in Canada instead of abroad due to the pandemic.

Maude Fecteau introduced her partner Jean Machel Decoste to Victoria after a trip to visit family in Vancouver.

The couple, from Saguenay, Que., said that they enjoyed the lack of crowds.

“It’s really quite quiet and relaxed,” said Decoste, a first-time visitor. “People are really nice here.”

Their main concern was about how locals viewed out-of-town tourists.

If Joan and Wayne Karlowsky had their way, they won’t be visitors much longer.

The Calgary couple is hoping to sell their Calgary home and move to Victoria to be closer to their daughter Jamie, and their new grandson.

“There is so much to see and do outside around here,” said Joan, who used to live in the North Shore area of Vancouver.

The couple would usually fly to their destinations but this time decided to take a road trip so that they could fit in a visit to their son, who lives in Vancouver.

“We were initially planning to travel to Cuba on March 16, but with the travel restrictions and the new baby, here we are.”

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