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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blacktail Doe

Well, today I kept my camera around my neck as I cycled through the forest near Fort Rodd Hill and there she was again, a beautiful Blacktail doe.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cricket

After yesterday's foray into the local fauna I thought it might be appropriate to post something more civilized today. And what could be more civilized than a game of cricket? Above is a small sample of a game that was played today at the cricket oval in Beacon Hill Park.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Animals

Today I cycled out to Esquimalt Lagoon because I wanted to photograph some deer and I saw one near there when I was out at Fisgard Lighthouse a little while ago. Esquimalt Lagoon has an odd history: At the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago a big chunk of ice about 100 meters thick was left by a receding glacier. Sand and gravel piled up around its edges and when it melted it left a depression that is now the lagoon. The lagoon is also the site of the first European landing in this area. Spanish explorer Don Manuel Quimper anchored here in 1790. The birds in the photo above are the indigenous Great Blue Heron and...a Mute Swan. The latter is not indigenous but is native to the UK and has naturalized itself here and in a few other nearby coastal locations after escaping from Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. However, what first attracted my attention to the lagoon was the little fellow below.I thought it was a Sea Otter and had visions of how I could ramble on about the history of the fur trade but when I checked it out, I realize it must be a River Otter, which species often inhabits coastal areas and is a known resident of the lagoon. He was very shy and I had to follow him along the shoreline for some time before I could get close enough to snap the above shot. That was when I saw the other swan, below.Deer - yes, on the way back from the lagoon, there she was posing beautifully by the roadside and my camera in its bag. Pull up, peacefully assemble apparatus, and catch a last glimpse as she disappears into the bush. Ah well, still a splendid morning on the outskirts of Victoria.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Landscapes and Figures

In Africa people love to have photo albums and they will bring them out and show them to you when you visit. Almost invariably, all the pictures are of people. No scenery, except perhaps as a backdrop to people. When I showed my pictures to people I found they flipped through any scenery/sunset/animal/flower shots until they found shots with people in them. I have grown to be a little like this myself. I always want to have some people in my landscapes. The couple above is strolling along Dallas Road where it borders Beacon Hill Park.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Camosun - "Place to Gather Camas"

Pictured above is a Camas Lily (Camassia quamash). This indigenous wild flower gave Victoria its original name of Camosun or "place to gather camas." The bulb was regularly harvested by the Songhees Nation. Their harvesting and cultivation practices for this plant resulted in the beautiful meadows that inspired Hudson Bay Factor James Douglas to build Fort Victoria on the site of the modern city. Some remnants of these meadows, known now as the Garry Oak Ecosystem, may still be seen in Beacon Hill Park. Were it not for this flower there might well not be any modern city of Victoria.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Leviathan

On May 25th I posted a photo of this cruise ship turning to enter the harbour. It looked big then but when it docked again at Ogden Point recently I was boggled by just how big these things are. And how amazing it is that it doesn't just fall over on its side. It must have been my afternoon for walking around with my mouth hanging open because it also seemed incredible that something so big could float so close to shore like this.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Victoria West Skate Park

Skateboarding is a sport that seems to have popped into existence in the sixties and become very popular. My son-in-law skates and here is a photo of him today at the local skate park.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Craigdarroch Castle

This 39 room mansion was built in 1890 by Robert Dunsmuir, at that time the richest man in western Canada. Dunsmuir initially made his fortune from coal mines in Nanaimo but later developed the E & N Railroad and many other business ventures. Dunsmuir never got to live in this splendid castle since he died before it was completed. His widow and daughters, however, did occupy it for many years. One of Dunsmuir's sons, James, later became Premier of British Columbia. The castle is open to the public and well worth a visit if you are in Victoria. Click here for more information about the castle and its history.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dallas Road

Dallas Road follows the oceanfront around most of Victoria. It is much enjoyed by joggers, walkers, cyclists and, because of the nearly constant ocean breezes, kite flyers and riders. I photograph some part of it several times each week since the ever-varying combinations of sky, cloud and water colors make for a different photo every time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Before the Parade...

Just before the performance of the marching bands last Saturday I noticed this still life on the legislature lawn.And here's an example of one of the young marching band members.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fisgard Light House

This fine old lighthouse, the oldest on Canada's west coast, was built in 1860 and is still operational, although it is now automated. Fisgard Lighthouse and the adjacent Fort Rodd Hill Park are only a short drive from Victoria's downtown and I propose to visit them again when the weather is a little less forbidding.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wisteria

I keep trying to get a good picture of the beautiful purple wisteria flowers in the back yard......but something......keeps getting in the way.Must be something to do with that new trampoline.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Parade

One of the features of the Victoria Day Weekend is high school marching bands - about 40 of them perform and march in the Victoria Day parade. This year almost all of the bands were from the states of Washington, Oregon and California. These kids put on a terrific show and helped to make this weekend a success. I'll probably be posting pictures of some individual bands and performers over the next week or so but for now, above is a sousaphone's view of the parade.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Victoria Day Weekend 1

Victoria Day is a nation-wide holiday in Canada, now celebrated on the last Monday before May 24th, which was Queen Victoria's birthday. Probably nowhere in Canada is it celebrated with such fervor, however, as here in the city that bears her name. There are so many events that it is difficult to know where to go or what to look at and photo opportunities are everywhere. Today we have the Highland Games and to celebrate that as well as to doff my hat in memory of Queen Victoria's long time Scottish companion, John Brown, I offer a photo of a bagpiper playing above the Inner Harbour Causeway. Click the video below to hear a sample of his music.

video

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Joggers

The Ogden Point Breakwater marks the start of Dallas Road waterfront walkway and protects a deep water port capable of harboring those big cruise ships such as the Infinity. The mountains in the background are on the Olympic Peninsula in the USA.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Retirement

A very hot afternoon (at 7 pm just now it is still 26 degrees C - about 80 degrees F) and I took a long bike ride along Dallas Road, which follows the coastline all around Victoria. The ocean is just behind and below the trees in the background. This peaceful scene, on Dallas Road a few minutes from downtown, suggests all that is best about retirement.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Infinity

I mentioned before that much of Victoria's prosperity depends on tourists. Many of them spend a few days here while cruising on a ship such as this, the Celebrity Infinity. It carries about 2,000 passengers. I took this photo this afternoon from Macaulay Point in Esquimalt, a suburb of Victoria, just as this big ship was turning to enter the harbour.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Lees Benevolent Association Building

This is one of my favorite buildings on Fisgard Street in Victoria's Chinatown. Above is what it looks like to me. Below left is what it photographs like. When I "improve" the perspective of the building however, the man and the cars begin to look squashed as you can see in the side by side comparison below. Which do you prefer? Opinions and explanations gratefully received.

OriginalPhotoshopped
***For those of you who may be interested in this sort of thing - thanks to Jack's suggestion (see comments) I messed around a little more with this and was able to rectify the squashiness (below). When all's said and done, however, there is a loss of sharpness.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Style

I enjoy the way young people decorate and dress themselves these days. Compared to fifty years ago they have much more freedom and use it, often, to dress with real taste and wit. The young lady in this photo, for instance, is dressed and coifed in a unique fashion that makes her look both attractive and interesting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Everything Mural

Expert Victorian author Ross Crockford describes this mural as "appalling" and quotes another source who suggests this may "very well be the worst mural in Canada, perhaps even in the world." Please click on it for the LARGE picture in order to enjoy many of its splendid details. I am particularly fond of the mountain lion's expression as he eyes the juicy young violinist.

As our Willits correspondent would say, now that we've discussed the elephant in the room we can move on to more important things.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

5 Seedlings Telling a Joke to the Buddha

As well as gravel, you can also buy cement sculptures at the Gravel Mart. They have row on row of these Buddhas, and also the serene God or Goddess below.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mount Douglas

About a quarter hour's drive from downtown Victoria is Mount Douglas Park. Although it is only 213 meters high it provides spectacular views of Victoria and the surrounding seascape.

Mount Douglas is named after Sir James Douglas, the factor of the Hudson's Bay Company who founded Victoria when he built the first fort and trading post. He later became the governor of British Columbia. Victoria's main street, Douglas Street, also bears his name.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Trompe l'Oeil Trivia Quiz

On the corner of Blanshard and Pandora in downtown Victoria is the Ocean Island Backpackers Inn & Hostel and on its rear wall is this fine bit of trompe l'oeil. While the two gentlemen in the windows were instantly recognizable to me I wonder if any other CDP viewers can tell me who they are?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Skyscaper

Victoria doesn't have any really tall buildings - only a few over 20 stories. This building at the corner of Douglas and Herald Streets is not the tallest but it has a mysterious monolithic appeal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Impeccable Tourist Observing Tatty Photographer

Here we are on the Inner Harbour causeway once again. As well as musicians it hosts artists and craftsmen. When I took this photo I was so focussed on getting the artist, Dean Lewis (back to camera), his caricature in progress, and his subjects in the frame that I didn't really notice this tourist observing me taking the photo. Dean Lewis is a talented artist who does caricatures. Click here to visit his website. I'm sorry I don't know the name of the lovely lady in white and gold but I hope she enjoyed her visit to Victoria.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Johnson Street Bridge

Who can pass up a rainbow? The blue tangle of girders on the left is the Johnson Street Bridge, the first bridge over the Gorge as it leaves the Inner Harbour. It is a double span bridge, one span for the E & N Railway, cyclists and pedestrians and the other for cars. Both spans can be raised for ships with high masts. It was built in 1924 and is a bridge of the Bascule type. The photo below shows the large counterweights that enable the spans to be raised easily and are characteristic of this type of bridge.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Point Ellice Bridge

The Gorge, an inlet of the ocean leading out of the Inner Harbour, is crossed by several bridges as it winds its way through parts of Victoria. This bridge crosses it in an area that is still largely industrial although progressively more of it is being developed as condominiums. For years I called it the Bay Street Bridge since Bay Street is both the sole entrance and exit to the bridge. However, it does cross the Gorge very near to a historic site we shall be visiting soon, Point Ellice House, so I here give the bridge its proper name, the Point Ellice Bridge.

The first bridge over the Gorge at this point collapsed on Victoria Day in 1896 when a streetcar bearing 120 holidaymakers attempted to cross. Fifty-five lives were lost. The current bridge was built during the 1950's and still seems sturdy enough for the traffic it bears.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Chinese Public School

Another visit to Victoria's Chinatown, starting with two paintings by Victoria artist Jeff Maltby. The painting above depicts a Chinese Immigrant family in 1905. The painting below of the children arriving at the Chinese Public School is like a fast-forward through the decades for this family. The little boy on the left looks like he's dressed 1920's style. The little girl in her saddle shoes and pony tail is from the 1950's and the boy on the right, with his skateboard and crash helmet is definitely 1980's.The Chinese Public School, below, has been a part of these changes since it was built in 1909. The two paintings grace the outside walls of the Victoria Police Station, directly across Fisgard Street from the Chinese School.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chancery Lane

This short lane is really a part of Bastion Square. Its name comes from the law offices that used to occupy this brick building when the adjacent building was the first courthouse in the province. It still houses law offices and the Blue Carrot Cafe - great for soups and sandwiches. Sometimes Victoria is simply picturesque and there is nothing to do but take the picture and post it. Still, on a day like today when I'm suffering from an ear infection and it's raining, it's nice to have gaslamps and old bricks at hand.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Barnacles

Barnacles have a lovely vocabulary associated with them. Here's some of what Wikipedia has to offer. Barnacles are: "sessile suspension feeders, and have two nektonic larval stages." We are further told that barnacles are "encrusters" and that most are hermaphroditic although a few are "gonochoric or androdioecious." I won't go further into their kinky sex lives. Their real estate sense, however, cannot be faulted. These particular barnacles reside beneath the wharf at Victoria's Inner harbour, surely one of the most pricey locales in a city with notoriously high property values.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hopscotch

According to Wikipedia, "Hopscotch originated in Britain during the early Roman Empire. It was initially designed as a training regimen for Roman foot soldiers who ran the course in full armor and field packs, as it was thought this would improve their footwork. Roman children imitated the soldiers by drawing their own boards and creating a scoring system, and 'Hopscotch' spread throughout Europe." However it began, children in many different countries now play some form of hopscotch.

When I was in school girls used to have to draw their own in chalk or use a stick to outline the squares on the playground dirt. I wonder why modern schools feel compelled to provide these permanently painted versions?

Thanks to my granddaughter for her participation in this month's theme day photo for "Numbers."

Check out other City Daily Photo Bloggers take on "Numbers."
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.