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Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Summer Vacation IV - The Okanagan

One of the reasons we wanted to visit the interior of the province was to get some real summer HEAT. Here Rosie found a neat device to cool off with while traveling. After an overnight stop in the Similkameen Valley in sagebrush country we drove through the Richter Pass (below).As we descended from the Richter pass the town of Osoyoos came into view. The Okanagan Valley is a long string of emerald lakes surrounded by lush orchards and vineyards on the valley floor and sagebrush and pine trees on the dry mountainsides.After a cooling swim in Lake Osoyoos......we traveled northward up the valley to the small city of Penticton, where this vacation report will close with a shot of the steamer Sicamous in the sunset on the shore of Lake Okanagan.Thanks for joining me on my vacation. Tomorrow I promise to return to Victoria!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Summer Vacation III - Bromley Rock

What are they looking at?

This is Bromley Rock Park, a small park by the highway where you can take a dip in the crystal clear, icy cold waters of the Similkameen River.Early explorers called British Columbia the "Sea of Mountains." It's easy to see why.
--->Next and final stop: The Okanagan

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Summer Vacation II

Cultus Lake was our first overnight stop. Here it is in the peaceful evening when all the kids who throng the beach in the daytime have been exhausted and sunburnt to a turn and are fading into a sleep punctuated only by the occasional echoing whistle of loons on the lake.Cabins on the right and beach on the left, with swimming and boating areas carefully marked out.

In addition to a beautiful lake in a mountain setting this park also contains a waterpark where we planned to allow the children to delightedly scream themselves into exhaustion. I was inveigled into one slide/ride called the "Colossal Canyon" which involved riding in a raft down a series of precipices while being drenched and endangered. I survived and everyone else enjoyed. I declined to experience the "Valley of Fear." I have to admit that the water park was fun, but I was also happy to see that Cultus Lake still has places where a kid can just jump into the river.--->Next stop: Similkameen River and Bromley Rock

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Summer Vacation I

I'm back from my brief holiday, having had a wonderful break from life on the coast by travelling into the semi-arid desert country of the southern interior of the province of British Columbia. While I get back into the swing of life here in Victoria, I will take the liberty of sharing with you a few vacation photos. First, I will introduce a couple of my travelling companions, grandchildren Molly (foreground) and Rosie (background) in the van.They are sampling fruit the Fraser valley is famous for: fresh-picked raspberries.However, before we could travel to the interior of the province we had to take a ferry across to the mainland since Victoria is on an island.The ferries are large car-ferries that travel hourly during the daylight hours and evening.
It takes about two hours to cross to the Vancouver ferry terminal called Tsawassen. Below is a view taken from the ferry window while passing between two of the Gulf Islands.After arriving on the mainland we travelled eastwards up the lush Fraser Valley, which provides Vancouver with much of its food (including raspberries) from the rich river delta agricultural lands.--->Next Stop: Cultus Lake Provincial Park.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In the Shadows....

Victoria is a beautiful city but not all of its residents enjoy it equally. In the shadows or on the sidelines, there are always those less fortunate such as the panhandler above or the shopping cart person below.In Chancery Lane, below, a homeless person rests within a few meters of the lamplit sidewalk restaurants and bars of Bastion Square.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bastion Square at Night

A few minutes walk up Government Street from Oh Gelato is the entrance to Bastion Square, and the Irish Times Pub, where all the best of Irish pubbery can be experienced, including live Irish music every night. Inside the square, you will find more restaurants and bars and later, if you're lucky, some great offbeat music.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mystery Succulents

As I ride around the city these summer days I occasionally have spotted little clumps of these wonderful succulents. I'm very fond of cacti and succulents of all kinds but these particular ones are so beautiful and unusual that I always have to stop and admire them. I'm hoping that one of you gardeners out there can tell me their name.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh Gelato

Long after the sun goes down pedestrians stroll along Government street and a favorite stop for many is Oh Gelato. I've not tried all 66 flavors but what I have tasted was delicious.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Causeway Artist #3 - Copper Cowgirl Jane

There's a gold covered statue of Captain Vancouver on top of the Legislative Assembly Building but down below on the Inner Harbor Causeway we have Copper Cowgirl Jane whose frozen stances and mechanistic mime enthrall and captivate passersby. Just watch out, she may be made of copper but she'll pump you full of lead!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


In the shadow of the gate to Chinatown, on the corner of Government and Fisgard Streets, is Quonley's Grocery, where you can buy whatever you need 24 hours a day. This may not seem like anything special now when there are many convenience stores that never close. However, there was a time when Quonley's was the only store in the city that you could always find open.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Gate of Harmonious Interest

This gate to Chinatown was built about 20 years ago as a gift from Suzhou, Victoria's sister city in China.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Causeway Artist #2 - Dwight Hill

Stroll a few yards down along the Inner Harbour Causeway from where Dean Lewis draws caricatures and you will get a chance to meet Dwight Hill, woodcarver and recycler extraordinaire.As a person who can cause wood to splinter and crack by simply picking it up, I am especially appreciative of the delicate and detailed works of art that Dwight creates. Another admirable aspect of his work is that his raw material is recycled oak from discarded pallets.


(I am going on a short trip into the interior of British Columbia for the next week. Thanks to the blogger scheduling capability there will continue to be a new post from me each day. However, I may not be able to answer comments or emails until I return home.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Do you ever feel like this in the morning?

Well, it looks like it hurts but it's really just a burp or a cough from this friendly alpaca I photographed today at the Children's Zoo in Beacon Hill Park.These delightful creatures are recent additions to the zoo. It's not really a zoo in the sense of having a wide range of wild animals. It has some goats who put up with endless petting from many children, a Vietnamese potbellied pig, some chickens and ducks, peacocks, a few sheep and some miniature horses. While we were there this morning one of the goats was giving birth before an admiring and awestruck bunch of children and their parents.Alpacas are usually very wooly. The zoo alpacas have been shorn so they don't get too hot in our summer weather.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Causeway Artist #1 - Dean Lewis

Victoria's Inner Harbor Causeway is home to a wide variety of artists and one of the most talented is caricaturist Dean Lewis. Here he is capturing the expression on a wonderfully impish small boy. It's fascinating to watch Dean work as you can see by the spectators that inevitably gather to see his drawings take shape, as in the photo below.If you're in Victoria and walking along the Inner Harbor, stop and chat with Dean. Like the other causeway artists I've met recently, he's friendly as well as talented. Get him to draw a caricature of you or your family and you will have a souvenir you will treasure for years. It's always so interesting to see what Dean is drawing I usually end up with a lot of shots of the back of his head because of looking over his shoulder while he creates. So, here is a photo of his face so that you can recognize him when you visit Victoria.

Dean introduced me to the Causeway Artists Society and I expect to feature some of the other talented artist members soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Market Square Ballet

Like many other cities, summer in Victoria is a time for lots of outdoor entertainment of all kinds. Sometimes there are so many things happening at the same time it is difficult to choose where to go and what to see. Often I stumble on events by chance like this ballet performance in Market Square. I had gone there to eat at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Green Cuisine. Halfway through my meal my attention was drawn by classical music from outside and when I looked, I saw these graceful dancers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Inner Harbor after Sunset II

Summer nights the Inner Harbor causeway buzzes with activity as people stroll and pause to watch the causeway entertainers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Koma Kulshan

Koma Kulshan means "Great White Watcher" in one of the local native languages and was their name for Mount Baker, clearly seen in the background of this photo, taken about 16 kilometers west of Victoria. As the crow flies, Mount Baker was about 130 kilometers (80 miles) distant from where I was standing, almost due east. That little sprawl of buildings in the foreground is the city of Victoria. Please click the above image to see the larger version because this is a BIG photo....

Mount Baker is a volcano on the mainland of Washington State rising 10,778 feet (3,285 meters) above sea level, much taller than most of the other local mountains. But it is not often so clearly visible from here. If you take a look at Chuck Pefley's City Daily Photo Blog for Seattle you can see the same mountain from a different angle and many miles away. Or take a look at Mount Baker from Port Townsend or Port Angeles or Vancouver but for a real dose of Mount Baker, visit the Stanwood City Daily Photo Blog. It's a big mountain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Willows Beach

Summer finally arrived this last week and Victorians have been reveling in bona fide HOT summer days. And that, of course, includes beach time. While Victoria is surrounded by the ocean it doesn't have that many sandy beaches that are suitable for swimming and lolling in the sun. Willows Beach in Oak Bay is one that has everything a beach should have and here's how Victorians were enjoying it this week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Inner Harbor after Sunset

More night photography. It's been warm enough the last few days to tempt me out at night and it is fascinating how the same old scenes look new and different when the sun goes down. Here's a shot of Victoria's Inner Harbor that I took about an hour ago.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canada Goose

Here's another bird that remains still long enough for a neophyte to get a photo, the Canada Goose. This one was photographed at Esquimalt Lagoon, which shelters a large flock of these geese year-round. They are quite tame.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Yes, yes, I know this is a CITY daily photo blog and the selection of photos lately has been rather bucolic. But I'm back in the city now and there are some pleasant interludes, such as this waterfall, which cools a lovely little park near where I live. While it looks pretty natural, scroll down to see its source.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Here's another image from my afternoon in Mount Douglas Park, elderberries. I suspect this is Pacific Coast Red Elder but there are a quite a few varieties of elder and I am never sure. Taxonomists please feel free to correct me. When I lived in the interior of BC we used to gather wild black elderberries and make a fruit syrup from them. Delicious. It seems the red ones are poisonous but I find their color combination of scarlet and purple very attractive.