A Travellerspoint blog

Victoria, British Columbia - Sunday

A lazy day

sunny 25 °C

Sunday was hot so we spent most of the day at the rocky beach just across the road

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Late afternoon, we joined Alan and Allison and friends at the Flying Otter Grill, down by the seaplane dock in the Inner Harbour - great views and a chance to watch the seaplanes come and go, and a nice drop of Okanagan Spring lager

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Victoria, British Columbia - Saturday

Beacon Hill Park, Government House and the Langham Court Theatre

sunny 22 °C

Just a few minutes walk along the Waterfront Trail is Beacon Hill Park. When the Hudson’s Bay Company charter to the Island was rescinded in 1859 the Company claimed 3,084 acres of land in the Victoria area, including Beacon Hill Park. In 1862 the Privy Council in London decided "That there shall be forthwith conveyed and surrendered by the said Company to Her Majesty, her heirs and successors and assigns, reserves for the public park". It's a large park, beautifully landscaped and manicured with bridges, lakes and ponds, and one of the tallest totem poles in the world at 127 ft

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After lunch we drove a short way to the Government House of British Columbia, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
The current House officially opened in 1959 after the two previous Houses of 1871 and 1903 burnt to the ground. The gardens are superb with far-reaching views across a Gary Oak Grove and the Juan de Fuca Strait

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And before we started the evening's activity, it was time for a little relaxation. We then had dinner in the big house with our homeshare owners Doug and Nancy who had just arrived back from Spain (we are in a self-contained suite next to the house) and then all trooped off to the amateur dramatic Langham Court Theatre (started around 1940) to see their last play of the season "A Humble Boy" - Doug had designed the really tremendous set

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Victoria, British Columbia - Friday

Old Town Victoria

sunny 15 °C

We took Waterfront Trail all the way through James Bay and Ogden Point and ended up at Fisherman's Wharf, a much smaller and much less commercial version of the one in San Francisco - our new home could be a small 2-bedroom float-home for C$250,000 (2nd picture below). All the way around we watched dozens of seaplane flights land and take-off in the Inner Harbour

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Still in the Inner Harbour was the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and the old Empress Hotel. The 5-Star Empress was opened in 1908 and is a very large chateau-style hotel - but really how can they not know how to make a latte?

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We then wandered around Old Towne (yes, that's how they spell it) which seem to be there only to serve the many cruise ships that dock nearby. We managed to get Bento Boxes in Fort Street and walked back down to Wharf Street, so that we could eat and watch the seaplanes come and go from their dock (there are about 40 flights a day)

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We walked a couple of miles back to our house along Government Street where there are dozens of old timber homes including the birthplace of artist Emily Carr

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In the evening, Alan and his wife Allison picked us up and took us to the the Canoe Brewpub on the water just outside Chinatown. We had good food and good Canoe Lager, and good conversation

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Victoria, British Columbia - Thursday

Sidney and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

sunny 18 °C

After a quick trip downtown to buy the mobile SIM card, and a long wait (there is a lot of paperwork in Canada) we followed Highway 17 up to the small town of Sidney. It's a run-of-the-mill seaside town with supposedly a great evening market. There were fine walkways around the coast but it's a bit like Noosa - "God's Waiting Room"

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We came back to the house for lunch and to escape the ever-increasing wind for a while, and then drove just a couple of miles to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It is a small gallery with some good work by Emily Carr and her colleagues and the only Shinto Temple in Canada, but several of the rooms were closed due to a new exhibition coming up - however because of this, they did reduce the entry by 50%. Some galleries in Europe might like to adopt this policy

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Finally I had to stop at "Mile 0" of the Trans-Canadian Highway 1 - along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia's Highway 1, it is one of the world's longest national highways, spanning 7,821km; it was fully opened in 1962

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Victoria, British Columbia - Wednesday

Another tour with Alan

sunny 23 °C

We decided it was time to buy a Canadian SIM just in case of emergencies as we are driving in British Columbia and Alberta. We visited several shops in the Bay Center but the choices kept getting more and more complicated - with most plans, you buy a base package and then buy add-ons for SMS, data, long-distance and so on. Finally we think we have found a service called Chatr which seems to give you unlimited calls and SMS for C$35 and then C$15 more for 1 GB data. We'll go back tomorrow to try and buy it

From the Center we drove to Alan's house, 15 minutes from downtown. His day had now become free and he offered to give us another tour around Greater Victoria. We started at Thetis Lake Park and spent an hour walking around the stunning lake. This is one of the popular swimming places when the Pacific is just too cold (apparently July and August is when you can swim in the ocean)

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Next was Royal Roads University at Hatley Park National Historic Site at the Esquimalt Lagoon. The university's main building, Hatley Castle, was completed in 1908 for a coal and rail baron. The views and gardens are great. We left the area via Ocean Boulevard, a narrow road across the Esquimalt Lagoon

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Our last stop before Alan had to go back for band practice, was Spinnakers Brewpub which looks over the harbour and downtown Victoria. I sampled their very tasty Rainforest Lager

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