Custom Search

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Linnaea borealis (Gronov.) L. var. Longiflora Torr.
While out at Durrance Lake on the weekend, I chanced across one of my favorite wild flowers, the diminutive Twin-flower. I cannot do better than to share a few quotes from Lewis J. Clark's description in his Wild flowers of British Columbia:

How to write the charms of this exquisite woodlander? Perhaps in no more impressive way than to call attention to the fact that of all the thousands of plants known to him, this was the favourite flower of the great Carolus Linnaeus. And so Fredrik Gronovius, once his benefactor in Holland, in 1737 named the monotypic genus to honour his illustrious pupil.

This dainty plant spreads long runners creeping over the moss, or trailing from rotting logs or stumps, from which at frequent intervals rise 2-4 inch stems. These fork at the top, each branch supporting a single trumpet - a demure, pink, rose-flushed and slender bell. Where a patch of sunlight reaches the forest floor, an elfin troupe of hundreds of these exquisite little flowers fills the still air with an incredible sweetness - surely one of the most enchanting of all plant fragrances.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Durrance Lake

I've mentioned before that in addition to ocean beaches Victoria has a number of lakes nearby. Here is another of those, called Durrance Lake (aka Durants Lake). It's a small lake with three or four miniscule beaches on its edges, but plenty of room for the few people who come to enjoy it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Night Market

One end of the Inner Harbor Causeway extends out onto Ship Point Pier. On summer evenings at the Night Market many artisans and crafts people display their creations: some splendid jewelry, exotic masks, unique T-shirts, exquisite glass work and much more. While you browse you can listen to the rhythms of the performers pictured above. The band is called Weak Patrol and the people in the picture are, from the left, Brad Kennedy, Caleb Kennedy and Jen Book. Click here to visit Weak Patrol's MySpace page and listen to some of their music. Feel the energy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


On summer evenings (especially weekends) Victoria's downtown core is one long festival with events, entertainment and demonstrations such as this one I stumbled across at Bastion Square last night. The Grupo Axe Capoeira gave sidewalk cafe patrons and strollers an electrifying demonstration of this remarkable mix of music, dance and martial arts. Capoeira has an interesting history. It was developed by slaves in Brazil as a secret means of training in the martial arts while masquerading as harmless gymnastic dancing. You can find out all about this unique sport and the Victoria group by clicking here to visit their website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shoal Point Condominium

I've posted other photos of the Shoal Point Condominium in the past but usually as it is seen from the Inner Harbor. Here's what it looks like from the other side. This is one of those buildings that people either love or hate. I wish all our condominiums had so much eye appeal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Though our weather lately has been unpredictable it has provided some nice surprises like this rainbow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chinese Public School

Just around the corner from the Chinese Temple dedicated to Tam Kung (yesterday's post) is the Chinese Public School. I've posted photos of it before HERE and HERE because it is another of Chinatown's gems. It was built by the Chinese Community a hundred years ago when children of Chinese settlers here were denied entrance to other schools. It is still used as a school today but now teaches Canadian children of Chinese descent the culture, traditions and language of China.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tam Kung

Victoria's Chinatown is very small but contains numerous hidden gems. One of these is the Chinese Temple located at 1713½ Government Street on the top floor of the Yen Wo Society Building. This is the oldest Chinese Temple in Canada and is dedicated to the god, Tam Kung, whose statue is pictured above. The moment I entered the red door on the ground floor I realized I was entering another culture. Three flights of stairs rose before me, not zig-zagging back and forth from floor to floor but in a steep straight ascent. The temple is on the top floor and is well worth a visit if only to smell the joss and listen to the voices of the past.Tam Kung is the patron deity of seafarers and there is another temple to Tam Kung in Hong Kong. You can find out more about Tam Kung and these temples by clicking HERE.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Royal London Wax Museum

This imposing building now houses Madame Tussaud's, also known as the Royal London Wax Museum, and is located on the Inner Harbor just above yesterday's feature, the Pacific Undersea Gardens. It was built in the 1924 as the Canadian Pacific Railway Steamship Terminal by Francis Rattenbury, the architect also responsible for the Empress Hotel, the Legislative Assembly Buildings and the Crystal Gardens. Rattenbury was not the sole designer. He was assisted in this by another architect, Percy L. James. I cannot tell you what the Wax Museum is like to visit since I've never been. (You know what it's like - when you are living in a place you always put off seeing "the sights.") But you can read some reviews of this tourist attraction by clicking HERE. In any case I am very fond of the classic exterior of this building and the style it adds to the Inner Harbor.

(The historical information in this post comes from a father's day gift to me entitled "Building Victoria: Men, Myths, and Mortar"by Danda Humphreys. It's a very interesting book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to find out more about the history of some of Victoria's many heritage buildings.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Descend Beneath the Sea

Victoria's Inner Harbor is a magical place both day and night but usually we think about it from above sea level. However, you can also take a look at it from beneath the waves by visiting the Pacific Undersea Gardens. There you can see what the Inner Harbor looks like from a fish point of view. Is it worth seeing? Click here to read some reviews of this attraction by other visitors to Victoria.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Legislative Assembly Chamber

About a month ago I posted a photo of the ceiling of this room where the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) meet to debate and vote on provincial legislation. At that time I focused on the ceiling because the carpet was being replaced and the room was in disarray. Here is what it looks like now. The new carpet is very red. I wonder if the debates would be calmer if it were a less challenging color?

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Friendly Sport

Last year I posted a photo of the Beacon Hill Park Cricket Oval. Adjacent to the cricket oval behind a high hedge is another venerable Victoria sporting venue, the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club. The club has been in existence for 100 years and has my best wishes for continued long life. I was amazed by the genuine warmth and friendliness displayed by the helpful members of the club when I stopped in to watch a recent tournament. Cricket, which is renowned for its civilized style of play, seems positively savage when contrasted with the stately grace and gentility of lawn bowling. While it bears some resemblance to curling and bocce, it is a unique game played with special balls and with its own rules. Click here for the Wikipedia entry on "Bowls."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

...And at Night

This is the same view of the Inner Harbour Causeway as I posted yesterday but this view was taken at night. There were quite a few people strolling at 10:00 pm too, though not as many as earlier in the day. However, with long time exposures the strollers tend to disappear from the photo and it looks deserted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Inner Harbor Causeway

After a few cool gray days the sun returned today and I was surprised to find genuine throngs of people out and about. I didn't expect crowds until school gets out in another week or so but there were lots of people out today enjoying the fine weather.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Midway - Esquimalt Buccaneer Days

Well, all you have to do is to point that gun thing at the target and shoot it and then you get one of those beautiful, brightly-colored fluffy things or one of those really shiny things...sometimes it seems that this is what life is all about. Be really good and you might end up in Lemon Heaven. Heh heh heh...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Accommodation in Victoria - Cottage Pirouette B & B

I often mention how important tourists are to the economy and atmosphere of Victoria and I've featured many things to do and places to see that visitors would find interesting. But I've not paid much attention to places to stay. Victoria is particularly blessed with that most homelike and comfortable of accommodation types, the bed and breakfast. The magnificent poppies above are in the garden of a bed and breakfast called Cottage Pirouette. It is operated by a friend of mine, Lorraine Nygaard-Ishizaki, a long-time resident of Victoria and a hospitality professional. If you're considering a visit to Victoria take a look at the Cottage Pirouette website to see the accommodation and services offered to guests. Lorraine knows Victoria as only a native can and she will help to make your holiday here a success whether you're interested in quiet rambles along the Westsong Walkway, cycling the Galloping Goose, trekking the rugged West Coast Trail or just seeing the sights.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rithet's Bog

I mentioned in yesterday's post that it was challenging to photograph Rithet's Bog because it's not a bold or dramatic environment. However, I hope these photos capture a little of what a delightful spot it is to spend a summer afternoon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Green Tunnel

Though I've lived in Victoria for many years now I still discover new things regularly. I discovered Rithet's Bog thanks to fellow local blogger, Jabba, of Cafe Jabbaccino, when she mentioned it in a recent post on her blog. There is a trail around the perimeter of the bog which includes this lovely green tunnel. I found the bog a challenge to photograph. It is a slightly dwarfed environment full of small things, different from the broad vistas of mountain and ocean more typical of these pages. Tomorrow I'll post a few more photos of life in and around the bog.

Friday, June 12, 2009

House Barging

While cycling around Oak Bay last week I came across this odd scene. It's a house on a barge. It's being moved to another location here in the Pacific Northwest by a company that specializes in recycling houses by moving them to new locations by barge. As it says on the sign posted on this house, moving this house instead of demolishing it saves 40 trees and means 90,000 pounds diverted from the landfill. Seems like a good idea to me. The company is called Nickel Bros. and you can visit their interesting website by clicking here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another View of Trial Island

Just a little further along Beach Drive from the Victoria Golf Club is this lovely little beach with Trial Island in the background once again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Signs of Summer

Almost lost in a sea of signposts, lamp posts, traffic, trees and pedestrians, is The Great Navigator, Captain James Cook (he's just about in the center of the above photo). In addition to the lightly clad strollers and the leafy green trees this view of Government Street has one other distinctively Victorian sign of summer, those beautiful hanging baskets of flowers that transform our downtown into one large flower garden every year about this time. Another sign of summer is a kind of patriotism I can get behind, the Canada Cone, if you're feeling snackish.
But let us not forget the Three Basic Food Groups so colorfully depicted below.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Queen of Hearts

OK, this is the last Oak Bay Tea Party image for this year. This was taken during the parade on Saturday. I don't know what the official role of this woman was, but with her makeup and costume she certainly was a striking figure.

Monday, June 8, 2009


What could be more fun than riding in a sparkly green and gold contraption and getting whirled around and up and down at high speed until you're hoarse from screaming and seriously in danger of losing your belly-full of cotton candy, french fries and pop? These absolutely senseless midway rides were immensely popular long ago when I was a kid and, judging by the long line-ups at the Oak Bay Tea Party yesterday, they still are.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Twice as Nice!

While watching the Oak Bay Tea Party parade I suddenly became aware of some familiar sounding fiddle playing. Sure enough, the next float to come into view was bearing Sarah Tradewell, who performs regularly down on the Inner Harbour Causeway and was featured last year on this blog. Below is a recent video of Sarah playing two of her original compositions. Enjoy!

See and hear more of Sarah on her MySpace page:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Victoria Golf Club

Given the large number of senior citizens in Victoria it is not surprising that golf is a popular sport. Here is a scene from the Victoria Golf Club in Oak Bay, a membership only club that is one of the oldest and finest golf courses in Canada. The golfer contemplating her next shot in this photo is in a scene that has probably not changed much since the course was established in 1893. That's Trial Island in the background and, further back, the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heat Wave

After a long, colder than usual winter, for the last few days Victorians have been reveling in HOT weather. No complaints here - I never feel comfortable until the temperature hits the mid-twenties at least (that's over 85 degrees for our American friends). Here's the scene yesterday on Willows Beach in Oak Bay. I went there to check out preparations for the Oak Bay Tea Party this weekend. The parade's on Saturday if you're in the neighborhood. Stay tuned, lots of party pics coming. Click here to see some from last year.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Soccer in the Summer

When I was growing up in this part of the world sports were seasonal. Spring didn't just mean flowers, it also meant baseball season. And though soccer is played in other parts of the world year round, it used to be more of a autumn/wintertime sport here. Now it is played in the summer as well and my granddaughters both are playing this year. The photo above is not one of my granddaughters but during a recent game I was pleased to capture the grace and poise in motion that this girl displayed. It seems as perfect as an infinitely practiced move in ballet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Westsong Walkway Revisited

We finally arrived at summer this last week, with genuinely hot and sunny days. Here's another favorite view of mine, taken from above the Westsong Walkway looking across the harbor towards Shoal Point. I've posted photos taken from this spot before but I like this one particularly because it has one of those lovely great cruise ships in it, visible at its Ogden Point berth. You can also see a whale-watching excursion boat (small and yellow) in the right center of the photo, another characteristic of summer in Victoria.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Swan Walker

The hands above are playing the steel drums accompanying another remarkable causeway performer, Swan Walker. Swan's Caribbean roots are expressed in his wide repertoire of reggae music, particularly the songs of Bob Marley. But his renditions of songs by R&B performers such as Brook Benton indicate the wide range of his talent. Those blue steel drums with their penetrating bell-like tones are the perfect acompaniment for his formidable singing but he also plays a mean guitar. I was lucky to catch Swan jamming with Dave Harris yesterday as the sun was setting over the causeway. I wish you'd been there.
Visitors or Victoria residents can always check the Busker Schedule to find out when to catch Swan Walker and/or Dave Harris on the causeway.