A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in Victoria

Butchart Gardens, Victoria

Referred to as Canada’s “Garden City” for its various admired gardens and seasonal blooms, Victoria is both an attractive tourist and retirement destination for many. Filled with unique architecture, botanical gardens, and parks you will find that Victoria is a vibrant city filled with a diverse range of seasonal activities for retirees to partake in. Not only does it often appeal to retired older adults for the variety of senior activities the city has, but also for its mild, temperate climate that makes it easy to stay outdoors all year round. If you are thinking about retiring down in Victoria, Cared Upon is here to guide you through your options for retirement communities in the city.  

Lifestyle & Activities

From scenic waterfront walks to garden strolls, Victoria features a variety of different parks, gardens, and harbours to walk along for those who enjoy staying active outdoors. One of the most iconic gardens in the city includes the Butchart Garden, a botanical garden that draws over a million tourists annually for its various garden design styles. As British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria is also home to B.C.’s Parliament Building, a famous Canadian landmark known for its Romanesque architectural style. The victoria harbour, a harbour situated in the centre of the city, is a popular spot that many locals and tourists walk along and visit for festivals, shows, music, and even whale watching. 

Weather and Climate

Victoria has one of the mildest climates in Canada, as it is in a temperate sub-Mediterranean zone. With a lower humidity ratio, you can expect comfortable summer temperatures with cooler evenings, and mild winters with occasional snowfall. The average summertime temperature in Victoria sits at around 20°C (68°F). Wintertime in the city is mild compared to other Canadian cities, with an average high of 7°C, and a low of 3°C (44.6-37.4°F). 

Housing options in Victoria: Finding the Right Fit for you

Older adults residing in Victoria have a number of options when it comes to retirement housing, from ageing in place to assisted living. Retirees in Victoria are entitled to care and support through either publicly subsidized care or private pay providers. Older adults that are eligible for publicly subsidized home services can access these services through health authorities and contracted providers once they have gone through a formal assessment to determine the type of care they need. On the other hand, individuals who wish to choose their desired care service can do so by accessing these services directly from a service provider. To search for a care service provider in B.C., visit the search portal on caredupon.ca. 

Cost of Retiring in Victoria: Budgeting and Financing

The cost of retiring in Victoria can vary depending on the city you reside in and the quality of care you wish to receive. For instance, the cost of assisted living in B.C. typically starts at $3000, but you may find subsidized options to fit your budget. Factors such as the type of healthcare needed, the lifestyle you wish to have, and how much money you’ll receive from investments and pensions will all impact the cost of your retirement plan. You can access the Canadian Government website as they provide a useful budget planning tool to help set you up for your personal retirement goals. 

Government Funding 

When retiring in Victoria, you may also access several financial resources funded by the Government to help you prepare and pay for your retirement. If eligible, you may access funding through Government programs such as the Canadian Pension Plan Retirement Pension (CPP), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Old Age Security Pension (OAS), and the Allowance for the Survivor benefit program. Additionally, low-income seniors residing in B.C. that are entitled to Old Age Security Pension (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) allowances can continue receiving these payments even when moved into a long-term care facility. For more information on Government contributions, visit our care blog

Post-retirement Income Sources

In the case that you do not meet the eligibility criteria for receiving Government funding, you have several options for post-retirement income sources. 

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs): Using a Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSAs), your post-retirement income is dependent on the amount you put into these accounts when you first began saving and the interest you received.  

Investment accounts: You may prepare for retirement through more common forms of post-income sources using taxable investment accounts. These can include investments from accounts such as stocks and bonds. 

Employer-sponsored pension plans: Under an employer-sponsored pension plan, you and your employer can contribute money over the course of your employment. When you decide to retire, you can access the income directly saved from the plan.  

To learn more about your options for post-retirement income sources, visit our resource centre

Access to Healthcare

Planning and supporting the health care of B.C.’s senior population is vital, as it is estimated that by 2029 approximately 30% of Canada’s seniors will be aged 75-84. Health care in B.C is managed by the Ministry of Health through a public health care system. Seniors residing in Victoria have access to various healthcare programs, such as HealthLink BC, PharmaCare, the Travel Assistance Program, and the Medical Services Plan.  

Medical Services Plan (MSP): To access health care, all B.C. residents are required to sign up through MSP. Through the Medical Services Plan (MSP), British Columbians are insured for medically required services. Some of these medically required services include diagnostic procedures, laboratory services, physician and surgeon services, and approved dental and oral surgery services.  

The Fair PharmaCare plan: Eligible seniors residing in B.C. can receive coverage on prescription drugs and medical supplies through The Fair PharmaCare plan, a health care plan that assists B.C. seniors with medical costs based on their personal income. 

HealthLink BC: HealthLink BC provides British Columbians with 24/7 access to non-emergency health services and information in the province. Their information services cover the topics of health and health care, symptoms you are experiencing, and ways to manage healthy living. 

Travel Assistance Living: The Travel Assistance Program (TAP) offers patients that require transportation to physician-referred, non-emergency services within the province when a specialist is not available in a community surrounding them. Transportation is offered at a discounted rate and is available to those who do not have travel expenses covered by insurance or other government programs.  

Additional Resources

For further information, you can visit and/or contact these sources:  

Fair PharmaCare: 604-683-7151 (Lower Mainland) or 1-800-663-7100 (Toll-free)  

HealthLink BC: non-emergency health information hotline 8-1-1 toll-free or for deaf/hard of hearing patients: 7-1-1 

Seniors Health Care Support Line: 1-877-952-3181 

SeniorsBC - A resource centre for all older adults residing in B.C. 

BC Seniors’ GuideInformation guide to all things healthy lifestyle-related for seniors.