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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Giant Seaplane

Quite aside from the artist's refreshing disregard for scale and perspective, there is something appealingly sinister about this giant seaplane mural. The black windows remind me of that cult movie classic about the crazed trailer truck that pursues a poor motorist (Dennis Weaver?)across a nightmare superhighway landscape.

Thanks to our Willits correspondent for the title of the above film, "Duel"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Young Violinists - Bastion Square

Bastion Square seems to attract violinists. These two, while providing excellent entertainment, were probably not licensed because of their youth. However, it seems a good and harmless way for young performers to earn a little spare change and gain some experience in the challenges of playing for the public (see short video below).
Below is a 40 second sample of the music these kids were playing. It seemed particularly appropriate for the nautical flavour of Bastion Square (that's an old light house light beside them and the Maritime Museum behind them on their right.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Visitors' Information Center Tower

Rising above Victoria's Inner Harbour is the modestly art deco tower that marks the Visitor's Information Center. I don't believe this tower has any function other than decorative. The clock is clearly no longer working. The lower portion of the visitor center can be seen in context in the background of an earlier post. Victoria derives much of its income from tourism.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I mentioned the other day that I enjoyed the chips at Red Fish Blue Fish on the wharf below Bastion Square. They were so good (and cheap - $2.50) that I had to return for a second helping. Crispy on the outside, not greasy, soft and fluffy within. I always call them chips, but others prefer fries or French fries although the correctness of the last name is disputed by the Belgians, who claim to have invented this superb method of preparing potatoes. I refer you to the Belgian Fries website for more information on this important controversy. Whatever the name, I am very fond of them and these "Kennebec Chips," as they are called on the menu, are some of the best I've ever had. Bon appétit!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Violinist - Bastion Square

Downtown today to photograph one of Victoria's mechanical street clocks but got sidetracked about three times on the way there. Bastion Square was decked out for spring and this street musician was seated in front of his home at the Lighthouse Gallery. He can be seen in the broader context of Bastion Square at the bottom right of the photo below.
The second digression today was a visit to the Maritime Museum, just visible through the branches of the tree on the left. I was stunned by the range of interesting artifacts and information there AND one can take photographs so....

Bastion Square is not so much a square as a series of pedestrian-only open spaces running from Government Street down to Wharf Street (two blocks). At this time of year craftsmen and artists stalls here mingle with art galleries, sidewalk cafes and bars. It is the site of the original Fort Victoria and is intimately associated with the history and development of the city. We'll be visiting it often over the next months since nearly every building has a story to tell.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Goldstream Park - Fawn Lily

Seventeen kilometers (about 10 miles) from Victoria lies Goldstream Park. This park, largely original coastal rainforest, is a beautiful place and I propose to visit it often during the coming months to try and capture some of the indigenous plants and animals of this area. As well as a seasonally changing flora, the Goldstream River is the scene of a large salmon run every autumn. The salmon apparently attract record numbers of hungry Bald Eagles as well as the occasional bear....

The lovely spring flower pictured here is a Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) There are quite a large number of species of this lily and my identification may not be correct. Any taxonomists out there please inform me if I'm wrong.

I am guessing it is called a fawn lily because the mottled leaves (see photo to the right) are reminiscent of the dappled coats of fawns.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


On Yates Street in downtown Victoria.


One of my ulterior motives for doing this blog is to hone my photography skills. The photo above is interesting but after posting it I began to think it too busy, too much information...or something. Anyway, here is a second version of the same photo that I prefer. What do you think? I welcome any criticism or suggestions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jean Bedard - Musician

The Inner Harbour Causeway has become such popular (and lucrative) venue for buskers and musicians that performers must now audition before they are granted licenses. This musician's name is Jean Bedard. You can get some idea of his music from the video below, although the sound quality is poor (I'm working on it!) I take this opportunity to thank Jean for his permission to use this photo. I hope he gets his license because I'd like to hear more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forest Spirits

Earth Day 2008
Goldstream Park

Monday, April 21, 2008

Captain Cook

Another statue graces the Inner Harbour, as prominently displayed as Queen Victoria's, facing the Empress Hotel, that of Captain James Cook. Victoria must be excused a bit of shameless name-dropping here. The famed explorer did not actually stop at Victoria. However, in 1778 he must have passed nearby on his way to Nootka Sound, further up the island. He was looking for a western exit to the fabled northwest passage. Not finding it, he turned around and went back to the South Seas, where he met his untimely end.

Travelling with Cook on this voyage were two other later-to-be-famous sailors. Midshipman George Vancouver, who later returned to these waters as Captain Vancouver, has the honor of having Vancouver Island named after him as well as two neighbouring cities, one in British Columbia and another in Washington State, USA. The other famous seaman on Cook's last voyage was the Master of one of Cook's two ships, the Resolution, one William Bligh, later captain of the HMS Bounty when her crew mutinied.
I am particularly fond of this period of nautical history and am looking forward to the Tall Ships Festival later in the year (June 26-29), when Victoria will host sailing ships from many parts of the world. This year we have been promised a visit from the replica of HMS Bounty that was commissioned especially for the film, "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring the late Marlon Brando. I am looking forward to photographing it from stem to stern.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Duet for Daisies and Dandelions

Well, it was a real challenge getting all these guys to sing together but well worth it in the end. I hope you too had a splendid, sunny day today.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Queen Victoria

No blog about Victoria would be complete without some reference to the Queen for whom the city was named, so here is a photo of the statue of Queen Victoria that stands in front of the Legislative Assembly Buildings. This is a young Queen Victoria, quite different from the aged queen we are more used to seeing (below), but when the city was founded in 1843, Victoria had only been 6 years on the throne and, at 24 years old, may have been very like this statue.Below is a photo of the statue overlooking the Inner Harbour with the Empress Hotel on the right. The Empress Hotel, built shortly after her death, was named after the Queen in her role as Empress of India.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Beacon Hill Park

Just across the street from South Park School is Beacon Hill Park, a favorite weekend walk of Victorians of all species, including this Mallard duck. His mate was nearby but was much too coy to allow a photograph. This, I promise, will be the last cherry tree in bloom you will see until next spring.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Urban trompe l'oeil

First, a tip of the hat to my fellow City Daily Photo Blogger from Willits, California, for drawing my attention to urban trompe l'oeil as public art through her post "Dog with Koi Pond." I suspect most cities have some instances of this style of art. The example above is on the front of a shop here in Victoria that sells mobility devices such as electric scooters and stair assists.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Luncheon Date

On the wharf directly below Bastion Square is a stand that sells delicious french fries and seafood (Red Fish Blue Fish). While I waited for my chips to be cooked this gull kept me company - not, I suspect, for my sparkling personality, but in hopes of sharing some of my meal. When he saw there were only chips on my plate, however, he uttered one dismal squawk and flew off in disgust.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bastion Square

As soon as the first hint of spring hits Victoria the Bastion Square restaurants and coffee bars blossom with umbrellas. This square has lots of interesting places to eat and drink, many craft stalls selling local artisans' works, the Maritime Museum and good live music. This photo was taken from the lower, Wharf Street side of the square. Directly behind me when I took it was this splendid Buick Special Convertible (1958?), and the Inner Harbour, as viewed by the sidewalk cafe patrons above.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And you all thought it was in Colorado

It's not - the real South Park Elementary is in James Bay, Victoria. I waited around to see if I could get Eric, Kyle, Stan and Kenny to pose for this but they were busy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

James Bay - Emily Carr House

Emily Carr is one of Victoria's more famous personages both as an artist and as a writer. The house where she was born in 1871 and where she spent much of her life is in James Bay and is open to the public. Many of her paintings, including the two below, are in the collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Metro - Ukrainian Dulcimer

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Metro, a street musician playing on the Inner Harbour causeway. He plays the Ukrainian Dulcimer, an instrument I had never heard before. Below is a video I took to give you some idea of what a dulcimer sounds like and how it is played.

Friday, April 11, 2008

James Bay - Summer's coming

I have to post this now because the trees are greening up so fast that these cherry tree photos will be out of date soon. I have mentioned Victoria's benign climate and we are chortling complacently today reading about our Canadian neighbours in Calgary who got 25 centimeters of snow yesterday (that's almost 10 inches).

This photo was taken in a part of Victoria known as James Bay. It is the oldest residential neighbourhood of the city and is home to many fine heritage houses.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Galloping Goose Trail - Mural

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail has more to offer than trees and birds and flowers. This mural improves the underside of a bridge. Below are the left and right side views - next time I'll have to try the "panorama" function....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fisherman's Wharf - Harbour Seals

Some Victoria residents such as the harbour seal above prefer to live under Fisherman's Wharf, thus avoiding costly moorage fees while yet retaining easy access to tourists for research purposes. The three seals below, for instance, are attempting to find out if it is possible to communicate with these migratory creatures. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fisherman's Wharf Houseboats

Just a few minutes from downtown is Fisherman's Wharf, where some of Victoria's residents moor their houseboats.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Galloping Goose Trail

The Galloping Goose trail is about 55 kilometres long so this is only a tiny portion of it. More to come.

Spring is bursting out all over. On the trail you can practically hear the rush of sap pushing catkins and buds like these from the ends of branches.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


With so much water around, Victorians engage in practically every water sport including, of course, rowing. (Or is this paddling?) In the background of this photo is the Provincial Legislative Assembly Building. The low white building on the left is a tourist facility called Pacific Undersea Gardens, where you can take the kiddies down under the surface of the Inner Harbour. The tall multi-columned building to the right is another tourist attraction, the Royal London Wax Museum, and if you like wax museums, this will be right up your alley.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Transportation Orientation?

I'm bicycual. Victoria is quite a compact little city with much of its residential area within a half-hour's bike ride of the downtown. One day soon we'll take a tour down the Galloping Goose Trail that winds its way around and through Victoria and is used by an increasing number of two-wheeled commuters.

It's hard to believe that bicycles were invented about the same time that Victoria was coming into being (mid-nineteenth century). The silhouette above is my bicycle - a modern 21-speed model with hydraulic front shock absorbers that provides me with both transportation and exercise. Below is the first true bicycle in that it had two wheels, a handlebar for steering, and pedals. It was called a velocipede or "boneshaker." This one dates from 1868.
During the next 20 years many inventors worked to improve the bicycle and by 1887 they had developed something very like what I ride today, called a "safety bicycle" (below) because it was relatively stable in comparison with earlier models. The photos and information above are from the Owls Head Transportation Museum and pictures and information about other early bicycles can be found in the bicycle section of their website.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Custom House

Wharf Street runs from the Inner Harbour along an inlet known as The Gorge. The Customs House pictured above is on Wharf Street and the plaque below will tell you all about it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mundane Mysteries

So why do kids throw their shoes (or maybe their friends' shoes) over the power lines?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Here's another old house I enjoy whenever I pass. One of many things I like about these heritage houses is that they often have verandahs. To me a verandah suggests a style and pace of life quite different from today. A verandah is much more than a porch in that it extends right across the front of the house and often around the sides as well. It is quite different from a patio or a deck or a balcony and comes from a time when activities that required good light were best done outdoors. I remember a summer once when I travelled as a boy through the mid-western states of America. For a few glorious days we stayed in an enormous old house with a verandah on all sides that overlooked stretches of the greenest lawn and was shaded by towering oaks. As I drifted into sleep those summer nights I dreamt I'd one day have such a house.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The theme day this month for City Daily Photo Blogs is water. Fern Long took this photo of water here in Victoria. Click on it to see the larger version - this photo is so wet you can practically go for a swim in it. BM

There are currently 178 blogs participating in this theme day:

Adelaide, Australia by Gordon
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen
American Fork (UT), USA by Annie
Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie
Ararat, Australia by Digger
Arradon, France by Alice
Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine
Athens, Greece by Debbie
Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar
Austin (TX), USA by LB
Bandung, Indonesia by Guntur Purwanto
Barton (VT), USA by Andree
Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Paja
Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Bibi
Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA
Bicheno, Australia by Greg
Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah
Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre
Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston
Boston (MA), USA by Fenix - Bostonscapes
Brighton, UK by Harvey
Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham
Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt
Budapest, Hungary by Isadora
Canterbury, UK by Rose
Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne
Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff
Chateaubriant, France by Bergson
Cheltenham, UK by Marley
Chicago (IL), USA by b.c.
Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle
Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01
Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01
Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish
Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic
Cypress (TX), USA by Riniroo
Dallas/Fort Worth (TX), USA by A Wandering Soul
Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01
Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow
East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide
Evry, France by Olivier
Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie
Greenville (SC), USA by Denton
Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange
Guelph, Canada by Pat
Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady
Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi
Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Haninge, Sweden by Steffe
Helsinki, Finland by Kaa
Hobart, Australia by Greg
Hyde, UK by Old Hyde
Inverness (IL), USA by Neva
Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon
Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy
Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005
Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait
Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria
Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn
Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin
Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine
Lake Forest Park (WA), USA by Azure
Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale
Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo
Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl
Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João
Lodz, Poland by ritalounge
London, UK by Mo
London, UK by Ham
Mainz, Germany by JB
Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan
Marseille, France by Alex
Mazatlan, Mexico by Kate
Melbourne, Australia by John
Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo
Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart
Menton, France by Jilly
Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol
Mexico City, Mexico by Poly
Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch
Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg
Minsk, Belarus by Olga
Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith
Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly
Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann
Monterrey, Mexico by rafa
Moscow, Russia by Irina
Mumbai, India by Magiceye
Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu
Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia
Nancy, France by yoshi
Naples (FL), USA by Isabella
Nashville (TN), USA by Chris
Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben
New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser
New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless
Niamey, Niger by Dinabee
Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Norman (OK), USA by Chad & LaCresha
Norwich, UK by Goddess888
Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man
Odense, Denmark by ania odense
Omsk, Russia by Nataly
Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla
Oslo, Norway by Lothiane
Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen
Paris, France by Gordio
Paris, France by Eric
Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay
Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise
Pont-à-Mousson, France by Tintin-j
Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar
Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam
Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf
Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo
Portland (OR), USA by NWgal
Portland (ME), USA by Corey
Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03
Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston
Riga, Latvia by Prokur
Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke
Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter
Saigon, Vietnam by Simon
Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes
Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate
Salem (OR), USA by jill
Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric
Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc
San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia
San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson
Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck
Seattle (WA), USA by Kim
Seguin (TX), USA by Thien
Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound
Sequim (WA), USA by Eponabri
Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia
Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa
Shanghai, China by Jing
Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny
Singapore, Singapore by Keropok
Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia
St Francis, South Africa by Sam
Stavanger, Norway by Tanty
Stayton (OR), USA by Celine
Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo
Stouffville, Canada by Ken
Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC
Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge
Sydney, Australia by Sally
Sydney, Australia by Nathalie
Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo
Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv
Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas
Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K
The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard
Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine
Torun', Poland by Torun Observer
Toulouse, France by Julia
Turin, Italy by Livio
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy
Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger
Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison
Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2
Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin
Washington (DC), USA by Rachel
Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich
Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb
West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria
West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara
Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto
Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl
Willits (CA), USA by Elaine
Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn