Tofino to Victoria

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 22, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yesterday, we travelled from Tofino to Victoria.  Victoria is a small city (pop. about 300,000), much smaller than Vancouver, but it is the capital of the province of British Columbia.  There are lots of old buildings and interesting architecture in Victoria and it's very easy to walk around so I plan to do some exploring over the next couple of days.  The first thing you notice about Victoria though is that there are flowers everywhere - in hanging baskets, on traffic islands, in window boxes on buildings - and this is in the centre of town.

I'm staying at another backpackers hostel and I'd have to say this one is a bargain.  It's quite a bit cheaper than the other two I've stayed at and I have my own bathroom.  The building is old and the common areas are not nearly as nice as the hostel at Tofino but my room is very clean and bright - orange feature wall, other walls lime green and blue doors. Sounds atrocious doesn't it but it actually works.  I even have a TV but there's nothing worth watching although I believe Sydney had a very big dust storm.

On the way to Victoria yesterday, we stopped at Schooner Cove and walked through the forest to a beach at Incinerator Rock.  This is all part of the Pacific Rim National Park.  After that we stopped at Sproat Lake which is the largest lake on Vancouver Island.  There were petroglyphs here believed to have been done thousands of years ago by First Nations tribes.  A couple of the group went for a swim but I was too chicken particularly after one girl described the water as "stop your heart" cold.

After lunch we stopped at Cathedral Grove which is a small section of old-growth forest including 800 year old Douglas Firs, 3 metres or more in diameter.  This is very like the old growth forests I saw in Tasmania.  Of course there were hordes of tourists walking around but the quiet was very noticeable.

 Today, I got a bus to the Saanich Peninsula, about 35 minutes from Vancouver and went to the Buchart Gardens.  These gardens were created by the Buchart family a hundred years ago.  Originally, Mrs Buchart created a Japanese garden near her house.  Then when her husband's limestone quarry stopped producing usable limestone, she created a sunken garden in the quarry.  Now there is a rose garden and an Italian garden.  The gardens are beautifully done, all different.  I thought a lot about Mum when I was wandering around - the rose garden was past it's best but there were still lots of flowers and the smell was divine and there was a big show of dahlias, all different types.  Mum loved dahlias, loved all flowers really, and she would have loved this garden.

Whale watching to see Orcas tomorrow.
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