Photogenic Victoria

Picture-postcard views are a given in the provincial capital called Victoria. It is easy to see why British Columbia, the province in which Victoria is located, is lovingly referred to as Beautiful British Columbia. It is undoubtedly Canada’s gem. A little about this shot itself taken during a beach drive in Oak Bay in Greater Victoria.
Rocky headlands and glacially eroded rocks add a ruggedness to the chic and affluent suburb of Oak Bay. East of the city of Victoria and off the Pacific Ocean, it was a pleasure for my husband and I to trip up and down its rugged shoreline with my sister-in-law and her family. Long before the European settlers arrived here, the area used to be the romping grounds of the First Nations people. Historical records say that the Coast Salish tribes had their bases here.
A ready-to-play-piano. An Oak Bay art installation project. The locally hand-painted pianos are placed by the waters for travellers to sit down and play the sweet music called life in harmony with the stunning natural beauty in front of them.
In the Uplands Park area, along rocky bluffs, we came upon this signage which read Cattle Point Boat Point. A few lines below, it is announced: “ONE BOAT IN/ONE BOAT OUT”. Cattle Point, in the vicinity of Cadboro Bay, gets its name from the historical fact that cattle were brought ashore to avoid taxes. This story goes back to the time when the Hudson’s Bay Company had established its fur trading post of Fort Victoria in the Inner Harbour in the mid-1800s. It is all related to the 17th century Europeans’ penchant for fur hats made from beaver fur that led to the thriving of the beaver fur trade in North America.


Mount Baker. The heavily glaciated cone of the volcano emerges like a surreal presence upon the horizon of Greater Victoria.
Now we enter Victoria. The Empress stands with breath-catching grandeur upon downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Should she have been torn down to make way for a modern hotel? That was the dilemma during 1965 when pat came to its defense a local newspaper deeming that  ‘without this splendid relic of the Edwardian era, literally tens of thousands of tourists will never return. This is the Mecca, this is the heart and soul of the city.’
The chateau-style, Edwardian architecture of The Empress is a design from the early 1900s when it was built as a terminus hotel for the Canadian Pacific’s Steamship Line.  It had hosted many famous names, but of significance was the year 1919 when Edward, Prince of Wales, danced in its ballroom. Fifty years later when old ladies died, their obituaries carried a note that they had been singled out by the Prince of Wales for dances.
Study in contrast
British Columbia Parliament Buildings, Victoria
Dolphin kinda topiary installations
We were in Victoria in the summer of 2015. The Inner Harbour was bustling with buskers, entertainers, local craftspeople selling their handiwork from stalls strewn across the harbour. Boats came in and left the harbour. Float planes too landed and took off while my passion for popcorn was fed at a stall where I was delighted to find maple and pecan flavoured popcorn. Thereafter, I have to say with much regret that I have never found the likes of it again, anywhere else in the world.
Ice cream parlour.jpg
Our lunch that afternoon was in this soda shop
Ice cream sorta lunch.jpg
Choosing flavours is the best kind of dilemma, don’t you think? Especially when you have something like this at the end of the queue…
Maple & pecan ice cream.jpg
… a cone topped up with maple and pecan ice cream
To carry him away, or not. The niece and I with the hapless bear.
Making our way to Bastion Square.jpg
Walking to Bastion Square, a historic area where farmers hold an open market and sell fresh produce, and where once stood Fort Victoria named after Queen Victoria. Hudson’s Bay proclaims the peach-coloured building but wait, it is just a department store today. What was once a fur trading company, incorporated as ‘The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay’ by English royal charter in 1670, it is today a Canadian retail chain.
For the emotional well-being of all, they play on.
Bastion Square.jpg
Pubs on Bastion Square
Shopping in Victoria
Moose-happy. Who else would we meet in Canada, right?
Grand old bookstores
Bard & Banker. A Scottish pub that is housed in this old, old building that in 1885 opened as the Bank of British Columbia. The other half of the pub’s name is derived from one of the bank’s most famous employees, an Englishman named Robert Service.  He was transferred to the Yukon branch of the bank where he was mistaken for a robber by a bank teller and almost shot. It led to his penning a narrative poem called The Shooting of Dan McGrew. He became so popular after with his poems that he was dubbed Bard of the Yukon.
The poem takes place in a Yukon saloon during the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s.
My husband’s regret is not buying the tee shirt with the bear in the bib.
How Fort Victoria looked in the old days
Hip n’ cool Victoria
The city of Victoria was the first European settlement on Vancouver Island and it is writ large across its 19th century architecture.
Fashion and Victoria
The alley which houses one-of-a-kind stores recalls a pioneer called Thomas Trounce. Those gaslights are about 125 years old.
W&J Wilson Clothiers is a family outfit that has been there at this present location on the corner of Trounce Alley since 1862 (the same year Victoria was incorporated as a city). One of their premier European offerings is Harris Tweed.
The moon peeks at us from the behind the shapely ankles of Captain James Cook. He overlooks the harbour in Victoria because he discovered the harbour in 1778.
Prince of Whales indeed 😀
Inner Harbour.jpg
Inner Harbour when dusk sets in.
Lit-up Victoria .jpg
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Royal London Wax Museum lit up, across Inner Harbour
The Empress at night.jpg
We sign off on a grand note with The Empress. Till the next post, then. Toodles.

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