Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

This morning early Gary and I headed over to Victoria on the Victoria Express Passenger Ferry.  It’s an hour ride and on the way over I spotted some whales spouting off at some distance, but I believe they were Orcas.  I wish they had been closer.  Olympic Mountains in background.

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We arrived and waited at the Ferry Terminal for Sandy.  He picked us up and drove us around town, telling us all about changes to Victoria since he was a kid. 

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Then we parked near some interesting shops… and went browsing.  Gary found a beach chair he had been looking for and I found replacement batteries for my SPOT gps device.  Also found a small whisk for mixing cocoa and stuff in the van.  We saw the fancy old hotel – The Empress, beautiful flowers on their grounds, etc.

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Then we went to China town and walked all through it and also an interesting little alley that has a number of shops.  I guess the brick buildings there are made from bricks that were used as ballast in ships.  Some interesting signs:  Chinese Canadian Cultural Association,  Chinese Freemason Society, hum… things I’d never thought about.

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Saw this really interesting old brick building built in 1821… that is vacant waiting to be earthquake retrofitted… and it’s prime real estate.  The Janion Building -

In an almost unprecedented move, Victoria council has voted to start a process that will give heritage designation to the Janion and Morley’s Soda Water Factory buildings even though the owner hasn’t requested it.

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Sandy treated us to a lovely lunch in a nice restaurant we would not have found on our own, and then dropped us back off at the waterfront.  Sandy, you are a gentleman and a scholar… and a gracious host. Thank you for your hospitality.  Next time, I’ll bring the van across and drive the two hours to come and visit your home/shop.  Thank you for coming so far to see us on such short notice.

Gary and I drooled over these old roadsters that were for rent. 

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We walked the waterfront looking at all the craftsmen and musicians.  I loved this Orca made of glass mosaic.  I guess there are a bunch of these all around… like the pigs in Seattle. This was the only one we saw.

Artist: Sara Gifford, Jane Van Sickle & Michael Hofmann
Sponsor: Prince of Whales Whale Watching
Location: Lower Causeway - adjacent 812 Wharf Street

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Other things I enjoyed: these coins that had background carefully sawed out… beautiful work, the tiny little boats, the mimes that looked like bronze and plaster statues, and the sculptor Klaus Emmaneel – Merlin Arts.

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That evening we caught the last Ferry back to Port Angeles, passing a number of sea planes, a large freighter, but saw no whales on the return.  It was a good day.

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Another small and unimportant thing I noticed… RESTROOMS are called Washrooms in Canada.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.