Custom Search

Saturday, April 30, 2016

From Christmas Hill

I've recently shown you some views from high points in the city. Today's view of the city was taken on a recent visit Fern and I made to Christmas Hill, another great little Garry Oak park. You can see glimpses of Swan Lake in the foreground. It's also part of this nature preserve.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Here is the same view as yesterday but from the Walbran Park hilltop a little further east from Gonzales Hill. This is a panorama where you can actually see the Gonzales Observatory on the far right side. It is a VERY large panorama so click on the above photo and then click the larger version again and you can scroll around to see the details.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Looking West

I like this view from Gonzales Hill because while it is high enough to let you see what is ordinarily not visible such as the general shape of the landscape and the houses' roofs, it is also close enough to be intimate in that you can see the details on the houses, their sundecks and porches, sidewalks and the stairways they have built for shoreline access. In this photo we are looking westwards from the top of Gonzalez Hill, just in front of the the white observatory building posted here yesterday. Directly below is Gonzales Beach. In the distance on the right, Clover Point can be seen and beyond that on the horizon are the hills of Metchosin.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gonzales Observatory

Though it is no longer used as an observatory, this building and the little hilltop park in which it is situated remains a favorite spot for me. It has some of the best views in the city and we'll take a look at them later in the week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


One of my earliest memories of a scent is the scent of lilacs in the spring. The merest whiff of this perfume brings a trail of associations - warm weather, lazy afternoons, long evenings and all the other blessings of summer in the northern hemisphere. Lilacs must be favorites with many others too since they are blooming all over our neighborhood now.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Few More From Highrock Park

At this time of year when the Camas are blooming I can't get enough of Highrock Park so here are a few more. Below is the path I usually follow to get to the Camas patches like the one above.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dog's Eye View

In the spring the grass is left to grow on the bluffs overlooking the beach along Dallas Road and is a riot of green, purple and yellow thanks to the grass, camas, and buttercups. I figure this is maybe a idea of what our four legged friends see. - Fern

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Civil Disobedience!

Or perhaps it's just that he can't read.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Captain Jacobson Park

I took one of the little harbour ferries down to West Bay Marina earlier this week and snapped this photo of the Captain Jacobson house. It is located on the shore of West Bay directly adjacent to the small park called Captain Jacobson Park. The house was built in 1893 by a sealing captain who used to anchor his fleet of sealing ships in West Bay. Although the house looks very attractive apparently the Captain preferred to live aboard a paddle-wheeler he beached on the shore below the house. I like the general shape of the house but what really appeals to me is all the intricate gingerbread work - the work of the Captain himself. The house has been undergoing restoration for some years now - you can see a photo I took of it in 2009 HERE.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Bengal Lounge

As part of the makeover of Victoria's iconic Empress Hotel, they are retiring the Bengal Lounge. It will only be open for a short while longer so I was happy when family members suggested we have lunch there yesterday. I am sad to see the lounge disappear as it reflected an historical period well and was a great place to relax with friends and have a few drinks and some good food. The ambience was the colonial period known as "The Raj" when the British Empire was at its peak and the Queen Victoria was empress in fact, one of her titles being Empress of India. The Bengal lounge had some nice authentic touches, from the tiger skin over the fireplace to the punkah on the ceiling (visible in the photo - it's the odd shaped object hanging from the ceiling on the right side of the photo.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Highrock Park 2

I love these Garry Oak landscapes. They have the austerity and stark beauty of a desert and at the same time they have the lush richness of a rain forest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Highrock Park

At this time of year when the Camas Lilies are blooming Highrock park really seems like a little bit of Eden or some other earthly paradise.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dave Harris

Victorians as well as tourists are lucky to be able to enjoy the performances of Dave Harris, our legendary one man band. Dave is a Victoria institution and has been entertaining on the Inner Harbour Causeway for more than 30 years. People who first heard him as children now bring their own kids to share the experience. I was lucky to catch his first Causeway appearance this year on Saturday. Below, Dave always draws an appreciative audience!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dallas Road

A classic; you can't go wrong with this stretch of coast on a beautiful sunset night. - Fern

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pink Fawn Lily

Here's another unusual spring wildflower from my recent visit to the Garry Oak Learning Meadow at Fort Rodd Hill. It is a Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum) It's a little bit unusual for being a double but what makes this outstanding for me is that it is pink, whereas the Fawn Lilies I have seen in this area (in and around Victoria) are all the white variety. The pink variety is apparently more common further north on Vancouver Island, though nowhere very common.

Friday, April 15, 2016

New Ferry

Many years ago you used to be able to travel directly from Vancouver to Victoria on a ferry that docked downtown in the Inner Harbour. That service was discontinued when the Swartz Bay - Tsawassen Ferry service came into use. Whatever else the latter's advantages it means a half hour drive after the ferry docks on the island before you reach Victoria and the same on the other side between Tsawassen and Vancouver. However, this year there are two new downtown-to-downtown services proposed and the large white vessel above is arriving in the Inner Harbour to prepare for one of these new direct services for passengers. It's a high-speed catamaran called Famille Dufour II that will make the trip in 3 hours and promises to be very popular, especially with day-trippers in the summer. Before it begins service it is going to get a complete overhaul so the service will not begin until 2017. Famille Dufour II is operated by an Australian company. Another proposed Vancouver/Victoria direct ferry will be operated by the company that currently runs the Victoria/Seattle Clipper ferry service.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Chocolate Lily

I mentioned yesterday that I enjoy looking around in the Garry Oak Learning Meadow at Fort Rodd Hill. One of the reasons is that there is a knowledgeable and personable Parks Canada staff member there who patiently answers questions and also points out interesting or unusual plants. He pointed out the flower pictured above, an extraordinary Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis) with seven flower heads. When I've come across these in the wild they generally only have a single flower though I have seen double-flowered plants occasionally.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fort Rodd Hill

When the weather is fine one of the local landmarks I like to visit is Fort Rodd Hill. It's a location that actually has two National Heritage Sites, the military fortifications and Fisgard Lighthoue. Above is the lighthouse, from the most classical perspective. I like to go out to Fort Rodd Hill in the spring especially since they have developed the Garry Oak Learning Meadow where they are propagating many of the indigenous plant species specific to that ecosystem. We'll have a look at a few of their specimens later in the week but I wanted to start out with the Fisgard Lighthouse because it is so photogenic.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

World Wet Web

Fog doesn't just alter the big picture, it has a wonderful effect on the small scale too, though I imagine spiders are not keen it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Foggy Morning

Regular visitor to this site, Furry Gnome, mentions that the sun never stops shining here. It's true - Victoria does get a lot of sunshine - statistically, about twice as much as Vancouver. However, it does rain from time to time and though it's rare, we even get some foggy days. Above is what the West Bay Walkway looked like when I walked along it on Saturday morning. I'm not keen on rain but I really like fog because it is almost as good as snow for changing the way everything looks.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chesterman Bay Daily Photo

This post comes to you from the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, some 300 kilometers north of Victoria. The coast between Tofino and Uceluelet is a series of bays like this one punctuated by outcroppings of rock where long necked barnacles like the ones pictured here are clustered on the rocks among muscles, sea anenomes and many other species of life. It's truly a magical place. - Fern

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sea Blush

Here's another favorite spring wildflower, Sea Blush (Plectritis congesta). It paints the upper reaches of Highrock Park pink at this time of year.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fisherman's Wharf 4

People come to Fisherman's Wharf for many reasons but one of the main reasons is food and there's lots of good stuff to eat, even if you don't like fish.

It seemed to me only appropriate that a Fisherman's Wharf post dedicated to food should start off with a fisheye view (above) - courtesy my 17mm Takumar fisheye lens. It gives a pretty good view of the central food area of the wharf and the Mexcan Seafood provider Puerto Vallarta Amigos and the Rock and Rolls Sushi House. Barb's Fish and Chips is just visible on the left. Below is the billboard menu of Grilligan's.
On the left below, Barb's Fish and Chips; center The Fish Store; and on the right is Jackson's Ice Cream

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fisherman's Wharf 3

Fisherman's Wharf is a multi-media experience and part of that is the music. There's almost always one of our local musicians performing somewhere on the wharf. I was lucky to catch Jean Bedard's cool guitar stylings when I was last down there. (As a photographer I was also lucky to catch him without the crowd that is usually surrounding him.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fisherman's Wharf 2

Lots of people, especially families with children, like to come to Fisherman's Wharf to feed the seals. There are otters too, a couple of them, and the seals seem to be getting more numerous - I counted six when I was there the other day. These are "wild" Harbour Seals but they seem to have learned that the spectators enjoy being splashed. They splash the people and the people throw food to them. Everybody's happy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fisherman's Wharf 1

People go to Fisherman's Wharf here for many reasons. For me one of the main reasons is the bright colors and often whimsical shapes of the float homes that are moored there. But there's lots of other bright colors too such as these bright yellow seats on a sightseeing boat moored there and the striking red leaves on the miniature maple in the floating micro-garden on the right. Over the next few days we'll take a look at some other good reasons for visiting Fisherman's Wharf.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Free Hugs

If you're down on the Inner Harbour don't pass up on this great offer. I tried one and it was just fine.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Night Walks

It's been warmer and so we've been venturing out to explore after dark a little more. The magnolia trees are blooming and it is an absolute explosion of luxurious color even after dark. - Fern

Saturday, April 2, 2016


I like everything about this super-yacht except its name, Invader, which seems a bit aggressive to me. However, I guess if you've got the millions needed to buy this kind of ship then you can name it whatever you like. Invader has been moored at Ship Point for some time now on the opposite side of the Ship Point Pier from the Zenith, our other resident super-yacht.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Signs of Spring

March did go out like a lamb and the weather has been much warmer and sunnier for the last few days. That has brought out a lot of our musicians and other buskers to the Inner Harbour Causeway. Here's one of the earliest, Alyssa Jean, a fine young singer with a unique sound. She also plays in the band Snow Owl. Click HERE to see a video I took of her performing last year.