The Future of Cruise in Victoria

Where are we going?

A lot of work has gone into preparing for the safe return of cruise to our region. We have been working on operations, passenger movement, protocols, and procedures to ensure that when ships return to our city, we’re ready. We will only support the return of cruise when it is deemed safe for the community, passengers, and crew. These decisions will be made by Transport Canada – who maintain jurisdiction over ship movements in Canadian waters – and the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with Provincial Health and Island Health. We’re in constant communication with these government agencies, cruise line partners, and other Canadian ports on this matter.

A lot of work lies ahead, but we’re committed to the safe return of cruise. We also have to be prepared to welcome visitors back to our terminal and our beautiful city and region.

This is all based on our mandate, vision, mission, and guiding principles. Although our ten-year strategic plan and current business plan have been challenged, the sustainability of cruise remains a top priority.

The sustainable management of cruise, when viewed through a triple-bottom line lens, ensures that this segment of the regional visitor economy is well-managed and responds to the needs of the community as a whole. An overview of the work around the sustainable management of cruise pre-COVID, the work that continued during the pandemic, and what the future of cruise will look like for our region is outlined below.



  • Reinvesting cruise revenues into operations and facilities, including capital upgrades to community amenities such as the Ogden Point Breakwater 
  • Supporting the vitality of a dynamic working harbour through sustained deep-water port activities 
  • Supporting the dozens of small businesses that are directly and indirectly tied to cruise operations in Greater Victoria  


  • Maintaining an air quality monitoring partnership with Ministry of Environment and Island Health since 2009 
  • Implementing environmental requirements for cruise-related ground transportation, significantly reducing bus related impacts to the neighbourhood.  
  • Encouraging guests to walk to/from the terminal during their self-guided shore excursions so that close to 30% of all trips were pedestrian-powered in 2019  
  • Participating in the Green Marine certification program (since 2011) with evaluations every two years 
  • Developing a full-scale emissions inventory for the Victoria Cruise Terminal, with benchmarks for 2010, 2014, and 2018 

Social & Cultural

  • Supporting First Nations place-making initiatives throughout the terminal 
  • Supporting the creation and maintenance of the Unity Wall mural on the Ogden Point Breakwater 
  • Incorporating Lekwungen traditional welcomes and performances at inaugural calls and cruise events 
  • Unveiling the new placemaking and branding initiative for The Breakwater District at Ogden Point  
  • Creating animation and excitement at The Breakwater District with major events, a local artisan marketplace when cruise ships are in port, and increased sense of place throughout the public areas of the terminal 
  • Hosting live music on Friday nights at The Breakwater Barge, in addition to community-based charitable events such as the Victoria Symphony Beethoven on The Barge 

During COVID-19 


  • Forecasted a year without cruise in 2020, which saw reduced revenues including: 
  • Laid off staff – 47% laid off temporarily, with 22% of all positions permanently reduced
  • Focused on completing essential services projects only 
  • Published our draft 2021 cruise schedule for operators and small business owners to identify cruise lines and cruise ships calling to the region


  • Continued with business case for shore power which showed that, with proper funding, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced more than 46% of 2018 levels
  • Achieved a Green Marine rating of 3.7/5 ranking the Victoria Cruise Terminal among the top ports in North America for environmental management  
  • Pursued updates to our air quality monitoring program with Island Health and the Ministry of Environment 

Social & Cultural

  • Supported Songhees Nation efforts with Songhees Seafood and Steam Food Truck at Ship Point and Signs of Lekwungen walking tours throughout the Inner Harbour 
  • Held a fundraiser for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the James Bay Community Project 
  • Supported charitable events to use space at Pier A and Pier B during summer and fall season 
  • Hosted the Times Colonist Book Drive drop-off at The Breakwater District 
  • Hosted outdoor fitness classes on various properties 
  • Installed outdoor seating throughout the amenity spaces at The Breakwater District  
  • Implemented a reduction of all in-kind sponsorship, which impacted local organizations that depend on our ongoing and annual financial contributions.  
  • Had to forgo the annual Inner Harbour Summer Line Up artisans program along the Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, with hopes to return the program with health and safety measures in 2021 

The Safe Return of Cruise


  • Support the efforts between public health and cruise lines to ensure the safe resumption of cruise 
  • With the return of cruise:  
    • Continue to reinvest in properties and community amenities 
    • Support small businesses and # of direct / indirect jobs.  Expect more jobs to be created to support the health and safety aspects of the return of cruise for all operators.  
    • Collaborate with industry on dispersion of arrivals to maximize economic benefit across businesses and the region.  


  • Continue with our next steps in our shore power project
  • Enhance ground transportation requirements: bus operator committed to investing in the bus fleet with a goal of zero emissions before 2030. 
  • Enhance the air quality monitoring program re-evaluation and updated partnerships with Island Health and the BC Ministry of Environment 
  • Focus on improving operations in all areas of environmental leadership, leading to improvements in Green Marine environmental certification   

Social & Cultural

  • Continue the support of both the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation in their cultural and economic development in the harbour 
  • Continue to roll out placemaking initiatives at The Breakwater District 
  • Welcome major events with a community focus to our key properties 

Responsibility & Jurisdictions

All our properties, including The Breakwater District at Ogden Point, are owned fee simple with taxes paid to the City of Victoria annually.  

Vessel movement in Canada, including cruise ships, is within the jurisdiction of Transport Canada. We comply with all orders and procedures set out by this Federal authority.  

Further Information

Further information on the safe resumption of cruise is available on our website and via our social media channels. If you have specific questions, please contact us at