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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Loner

I took so many pictures of idyllic summer scenes yesterday and yet, this is the one I find most interesting somehow. - Fern

Saturday, July 30, 2011


In the mountains above Osoyoos in the southern interior of British Columbia is a fragile grasslands. It is a beautiful place, windswept and open to the heavens. I was happy to see this splash of mauve among the Sagebrush, Bunchgrass, Yarrow and Black-Eyed Susans. Locally it's called the Mariposa Lily. Wikipedia idenifies it as one of many species of Calochortus, probably Calochortus gunnisonii

Friday, July 29, 2011

At Rest

On the West Bay Walkway.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Closer Look II

Continuing the series of photos looking at some of the details of the BC Provincial Legislative Assembly Buildings, above is another view of the portico of the Legislative Library at the rear of Legislature. And below are two more of the historical figures who stand in elevated niches on various corners of the building.

To the left is Chief Maquinna, identified on the plaque as "The Nootka Chief who welcomed the first white man landing on Vancouver Island in 1778." The First Nations people now occupying this area (Nootka Sound) are now more properly called the Nuu-chah-nulth. The white man in question was Captain James Cook although there is some doubt as to whether Cook and Maquinna actually met. Maquinna was later a central figure in events that are known as the Nootka Crisis when England and Spain went head to head in this area and Captain George Vancouver and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra sat down to sort it out. Captain Vancouver's statue now adorns the very top of the Legislative Assembly. A bust of Quadra can be seen in Quadra Park on Belleville Street, overlooking the Victoria's Inner Harbour.
To the right is Sir Francis Drake. According to the plaque, "British Activity in North Pacific began with his voyage in 1579." Drake is probably better known for his circumnavigation of the globe - only the second time this had been done - and for his many other naval exploits and conquests. Drake is not perhaps quite so politically correct these days since among his many activities he was a pioneer in the slave trade. It is only fair to note though that Chief Maquinna was also a slave owner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Street Whales

On the corner of Humboldt and Government Streets is this fanciful bit of topiary art, an Orca (Killer Whale) and her calf shaped in plants. That's the Fairmont Empress Hotel in the background.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Sunday was HOT. In fact, according to my personal calendar it's the only summer day we've had so far this year. We were out on the Saanich Peninsula for an art show and stopped at this lovely little beach afterwards. It was also the disembarkation point for this group of kayakers in their colorful little boats. This has become a popular sport here. The word "kayak" comes from the Inuktitut language to describe the boat developed by them and other northern peoples. Wikipedia has an interesting article on this HERE. The low mountain in the background on the left is Saltspring Island, one of the Gulf Islands.

Monday, July 25, 2011


On a lovely Sunday afternoon we headed out to North Saanich and found a beautiful little beach. I love these rock formations and their incredible shapes. -Fern

Sunday, July 24, 2011


What exactly is going on in these photos you ask? Apparently it's a world wide phenomenon, and even qualifies for a wikipedia entry, if you can believe it. I think it's sort of interesting, in that the activity itself is a non-action (is that a word?) but by taking a photo of it which you then share on the web, it becomes a statement.

Thank you to Rosie and Aya for allowing me to share these on Victoria Daily Photo. -Fern

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

Though my recent trip to the neighboring province of Alberta was quite brief I saw a remarkable number of interesting things, not the least of which was the Pronghorn pictured above. This animal was high on my list of things to see because we have nothing else like it on this continent and it has been many years since I saw one. Wikipedia has a good article on the Pronghorn and here is some information I found interesting. This is the fastest land animal in America and has been clocked at 80 kmh, making it the second fastest land animal in the world. Only the African Cheetah is faster and then only for very short bursts. It is not an antelope (as I had long thought) but a separate zoological family that evolved independently of old world antelope.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blue Nile Rose

On a morning walk recently I noticed this lovely rose in the garden entryway of an apartment building. When I stopped to take a photo of it the caretaker came out and told me a bit about it and encouraged me to smell it. It's only one of many different types of roses he grows. He prefers those that, like this one, called "The Blue Nile", have a rich scent. I too am partial to old-fashioned roses like this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Closer Look

Causeway Artist Dean Lewis suggested to me some time ago that I take a closer look at the Legislative Assembly Buildings that form so prominent a part of the scenery of the core of Victoria. So today begins a series I'll add to from time to time that will look at some of the details of these splendid buildings. At the rear of the legislature is a structure that is often ignored by visitors to the city, the Legislative Library, pictured above. It is adorned by numerous statues of important historical figures set in niches and plaques of low relief. Below are two.

On the top right corner of the above photo you can see the statue of one of my favorite people from our early history, Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken. Long ago when I was a grad student I had occasion to spend one summer reading all the issues of the Victoria Colonist Newspaper up to about 1900. While there were many colorful characters, the one whose remarks always made me want to meet him in person was Dr. John. His kindness and tolerance often seem out of step with his contemporaries and I am sure he made this province a better place than it would otherwise have been.
In addition to figures important to our particular history, the library also bears a number of reliefs of important literary and philosophical figures. In today's top photo, below and to the left of Dr. John is the relief on the right. This somewhat sour looking personage is the poet Dante Alighieri.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

For Sale

If you've ever had a hankering to travel around in your own paddle wheel steamship, here's your chance. The vessel pictured above while moored at Ship Point is a replica of the SS Beaver, the first steamship on this coast and it's up for sale. You can read a little of the history of the original SS Beaver by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rhapsody of the Seas

While I'm back now from my holiday in Alberta, it may take me a few days to shift gears and get back into Victoria. In the meantime, here's a photo from a few weeks ago of the Rhapsody of the Seas being towed into her berth at Ogden Point. Amazing power in those tiny tugs. This photo was taken from my favorite walk along the West Bay Walkway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome to the Wet Coast

For all of our green gardens and lush wilderness, we sometimes feel a bit grumpy on the Pacific Coast when it's supposed to be summer and it's raining...AGAIN. This is a hasty photo I took while racing through Waddington Alley, but the rain puddling on the wooden paving blocks was just too lovely not to stop and admire. Here is another post on the same subject from Benjamin Madison, and much to my chagrin, his photo, posted in August of 2008, also shows Waddington Alley looking very damp. -Fern

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Victoria International Buskers Festival 2011

On Friday the Buskers Festival began in downtown Victoria and yesterday we ventured out to see some of the brilliant performances being offered on six different stages throughout the city center. Victoria, of course is already home to some very top notch street performers, as showcased here by Benjamin Madison, and I only hope that this event brings more people downtown to enjoy all the local talent as well as our special guests this week.
Starting top left, going clockwise is Byron Bertram, Both Sides of the Coin, Flame Oz with a member of the audience in the x-lg underwear and cape(!), Flame Oz again, and Lindsay Benner entertaining the love of her life whom she pulled from the crowd, of course.
The Festival runs through to July 24th. If you can, get down there and enjoy some great entertainment! -Fern

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Alberta Landscape

Alberta has a lot of different kinds of landscape but much of the time what is remarkable is the simplicity and purity of what you see as you drive along roads that stretch to the distant horizon without a curve or turn.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Old Homestead

Here's another shot from my visit to the old family homestead in southern Alberta.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Star Car

I know you're thinking this doesn't look like Victoria. And you're right, it's near a place that is now little more than a junction, called Cappon, in the province of Alberta. I visited there a few days ago for a family reunion and took this photo on the old family homestead. It's a car I'd never heard of until I saw this one and a friendly cousin gave me a little of its history. It was called the Star Car and was produced by the Durant Motor Company during the 1920s. I'm now on the road heading back towards Victoria but I won't be back until the weekend so you'll have to bear with my vacation photos for a few more days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coffee Bean Canada

On Canada Day I saw this in the window of Murchie's Tea and Coffee shop on Government Street. Murchie's has been selling fine teas and coffees in Victoria for more than 100 years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yellow 2

Just trying out a new feature of my camera here - it has a selective color function that allows you to select one color and renders everything else in black and white. As well as yellow one can select red, blue or green. It's an interesting effect that I wish I had remembered to try when photographing the crowds dressed in red on Canada Day. Oh well, there's always next year.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Western Speedway Swap-n-Shop

Throughout the summer, on Sunday mornings you can go out to Langford to the Swap-n-Shop held outdoors on the racetrack. Lots of great finds! - Fern

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Riding the Ferry

If you live on an island, as we do here in Victoria, you have to take the ferry quite often. It is really a lovely ride through the smaller southern gulf islands. Between Galiano and Mayne Islands there is a narrow passage where the ferries often pass each other providing a nice photo op. -Fern

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Corner of Seneca - "Somewhere Saturday"

Last year I visited the city of Seattle in neighboring Washington State, USA, and there is so much to like about that city that it is hard to pick out details. One thing that really made me realize how small scale and low-key Victoria is was the skyscrapers. Downtown Seattle soars into the sky and mostly they are very attractive buildings. I just about got a crick in my neck from staring upwards like a country bumpkin as we walked around.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pink 2

Here's another wildflower I haven't been able to identify though they are found in many places around here. This one was photographed in Mount Douglas Park and I hope someone will be able to tell me what it is.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taoist Tai Chi Demonstration

The Taoist Tai Chi Society recently held a national workshop here in Victoria and one of the events was a demonstration of Taoist Tai Chi on the West Song Walkway. I've recently begun to learn Tai Chi through the activities of this volunteer organization and am enjoying it very much. Our weather on this Saturday morning was cold and windy and this group has my admiration for their wonderfully coordinated performance under these difficult conditions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dubble Bubble

This flower in the Abkhazi Garden reminds me of candy - particularly some kind of juicy pink confection like those lovely slabs of Dubble Bubble I used to enjoy when I was at the bubble gum chewing age. Dubble Bubble was the best (at two cents a chunk) and it was a multimedia experience since one could read the adventures of Pud, a micro-comic that was wrapped around each piece of gum, while enjoying that juicy sugary chew.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Otter Family

While I occasionally catch a glimpse of a Northern River Otter here and there as I walk along the West Song or West Bay Walkways I have not before seen an entire family. This group of five was busily catching something in the seaweed along the shoreline. I particularly like that about 30 seconds into the video you can see they all take notice of me and while they don't panic, they nevertheless disappear fairly quickly shortly after. To see such abundant wildlife here in the city always seems like a privilege to me and something we should treasure carefully. Below is a brief video of this group of five.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Tonight at dusk we went out for a beautiful walk through the park and along the water. I took 74 pictures it was so nice out and yet all the time, some little warning bell was going off. Yet I ignored it, so lovely was the dusk light. Now though, looking through the pictures I realize the ISO was set at 1600 and the pictures are all a little bit grainy...however this one of our new puppy is a nice portrait and now I have an excuse to go out and try again! - Fern

Sunday, July 3, 2011

James Bay

Friends from out of town are staying at the lovely Oswego Hotel on the seventh floor and have this beautiful view looking out toward the Olympic Mountains. -fern

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canada Day Fireworks

Canada Day would not be complete without fireworks! And like old barns and sunsets, if you have your camera in hand you can't help but try and take a few shots. I like this one with the totem pole silhouetted by the fireworks, it's a nice juxtaposition. -Fern

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canada Day

Today's photo is where our local Canada Day celebrations will center, Victoria's Inner Harbour. If you can imagine this scene with about 40,000 additional people you will have a pretty good idea of what it will be like later today. Happy Canada Day!