The British in British Columbia

Trip Start Jan 03, 1976
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, September 4, 2006

There is a very pretty building in Victoria that is used on all their tourism brochures and on arrival into town we discovered it is their Legislative Building. You can take a free tour of it and so we poked about the place. At night the building is lit up with hundreds of fairy lights and creates a stunning picture. It turns out that this was the first building in Victoria to have electricity so to celebrate, or as I consider rub it in everyone's face - they lit the whole exterior up. Inside the building we saw the old version of British Columbia's crest. The old version has a setting sun on top of the Union Jack, it had to be changed and the sun placed underneath the Union Jack as the "sun never sets on the British Empire".

We took a wander out to Point Ellice House, an old home right on the water. The family that had lived here were quite wealthy and had led the life with dinner parties, croquet on the lawn and fancy things purchased in England on shopping trips. After a tour of the house we were unable to resist the high tea offered on the lawn overlooking the water and sat ourselves down to be surrounded by large plates of cakies and treats. Tracey managed to eat almost all of hers and I asked the waitress if many people managed to finish. She said it was rare and Tracey beamed with pride.

On the way back to town we caught a mini ferry, these little twelve seater ferry boats that look like they belong in your bathtub. As we had to pick someone else up we got a free trip just a bit further up the river and watched the scenery in the sunshine. As the boats were so tiny I was a bit worried about that extra cake I had consumed but we managed it back safely.

There is a definite British feel to Victoria, perhaps just that the buildings are older or because its the capital or just because there are a few royal stories about. We saw the gate that only the Queen and two other people are about to use (apparently I am not one of the two) and we took a walk out to the Governor Generals House where the Queen and other Royals stay when in town. As we wandered through the lush gardens I wondered aloud if the Queen knew how many paths we had trodden together. The general thought was probably not..

Stopping off at the old style and somewhat fancy Empress Hotel I was unable to resist the buffet lunch. Seriously we did do other things aside from eat, we also went to a museum, Emily Carr's House and the Fringe Festival but for now we were content to sink into soft leather couches and stuff our faces under elegant fans and high ceilings. The life.

On the way back to catch our Ferry we stopped off in the little town of Sidney and so in one long weekend we had managed to find ourselves in both Victoria and Sidney (sounds better when said out loud).

Walking around the city on Sunday we noticed a few signs out the front of Whale Tour offices saying that a pod of Killer Whales had been spotted nearby. After we had been on our ferry back for about half an hour the Captain announced that we were approaching them and our ferry sailed past five killer whales frolicking in the sea. If only they could have realised the fuss they caused as they merrily swam around with small leaps out of the water and we all craned our heads over the side of the boat, taking photos even though surely every one on board knew that it was pretty unlikely our photos would come out halfway decent, still we clicked.
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