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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time Marches On

On yet another lovely September afternoon I took a walk through Vic West and couldn't deny any longer that the leaves are beginning to change, the air is cooler and the days shorter. We have been enjoying such a fantastic September that I have been firmly in denial. Anyone else? - Fern

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mahatma Gandhi and I

This is a "Somewhere Saturday" post when I take a break from Victoria and look at some of the other places where I have dwelt or visited. One of the highlights of my visit to India in the spring was to have lunch at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. Above is the imposing entrance to the hotel and to the left is one of the marble-floored hallways in this most luxurious of 5 star hotels. The dining room was superb and the lunch was a memorable meal. As we were leaving the maitre d' approached me and asked if I was aware of the history of the table where we had dined. When I said no he went on to tell me that discussions for the partition of India between Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Mountbatten were held at this hotel. After the day's negotiations the men often sat in the chairs and dined around the very table where we had just lunched. It still gives me a little thrill to think I sat in a chair that once may have held Mahatma Gandhi.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lonely Tomatillo

Here's an attractive plant from our backyard garden this year. It's especially popular in Mexico and Mexican cooking and is called a Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica). Ours grew into a large healthy plant and bloomed profusely but inside those lovely lantern-like pods there are very few fruit. Now I discover from Wikipedia that the tomatillo is very "self-incompatible", meaning that it doesn't like to pollinate itself so there should be at least two plants for it to set fruit properly.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Garden

Fern planted a vegetable garden this year and whether it is the long hot spell we had or the generous layer of compost she used I don't know, but the tomato plants are gigantic and loaded with tomatoes so delicious that there is no comparison with the tasteless red styrofoamy things that go by the same name in the supermarkets.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Mosque Nearing Completion

This interesting looking new building nearing completion will soon be Victoria's mosque, the Masjid Al-Iman. The city has a small (about 1,200) but growing population of Muslims. Until the construction began here the Muslim community was meeting for prayers in two adjacent houses that formerly occupied this site on Quadra Street directly opposite Crystal Pool. The new building has separate prayer areas for males and females and a large basement area that will be used for other activities. You can find out more about the Masjid Al-Iman Project by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Summer

Victoria had a cold wet spring and early summer - locals referred to June as June-uary. July was better but summer didn't really arrive until August and has carried on through September this year. Here's a sunny September scene on the Inner Harbour where musician Ian Bennetts is entertaining passersby with his one man band.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bike Ride Through Saanich

While cycling along the Galloping Goose Trail we came across this idyllic scene with Mt. Doug in the distance. - Fern

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Evenings Golden Glow

On a quick little get away, we spent some time at St. Mary's Lake, on Saltspring Island. It's a short ferry ride away from Victoria but feels like a different world. See more here and here. - Fern

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Friday, September 21, 2012

Victoria International Chalk Art Festival

Last weekend the Victoria Downtown Businessman's Association sponsored the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival and invited street artists from all over the world to participate in producing artworks in 3D in chalk on the pavement. Several blocks of Government street were blocked off from traffic and artists covered the pavement with their work in chalk. The most impressive display however was inside the Bay Center Mall and is pictured above. The 3D effect is quite striking - it really looks like there is a chasm yawning in the floor of the mall.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vic West Community Corn Roast 4

You may wonder why I'm posting such a disorganized, uncomposed motley crowd scene here. Well this blog is about Victoria and the crowd above are my Victoria. I've lived in a lot of different countries and experienced many different kinds of community from small African and Indian villages to modern mega-cities like London and Mexico City. I found something to like in all these places but I am happy that I have ended up here in Vic West. The people in the photo above are my neighbours, people I see from day to day in the stores and streets and occasionally in their homes, and I like them. Of course, we're Canadians so we don't live in each other's pockets but there is a good sense of community here, nurtured by events like the corn roast. I'm glad to see it growing and I tender my thanks to the organizers and volunteers who make this event so special.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vic West Corn Roast 3

Yesterday we had a closer look at the Zucchini Nascar event at the Vic West Community Corn Roast. Today we feature the food: Free Ice Cream cones, Corn roasted in the ovens of the new artisanal bakery next door to the Spiral Cafe, and Apple Pies entered in the pie-baking contest, and later eaten.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vic West Corn Roast 2

Fern posted some photos yesterday of my favorite annual event here, the Vic West Corn Roast. It's been happening every September for the last 10 years and just gets more popular and better every year. Free Ice Cream, Free Roast Corn, good live music, and Zucchini Races - what could be better? Today's photos focus on one of the major events, the Zucchini NASCAR Races.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vic West Corn Roast

Every year, for the last ten years, in September the community comes together to celebrate and what a party! This is one of my favorite events with live music, zucchini car races, art making and of course corn on the cob. - Fern

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fleming Beach

I never tire of this lovely stretch of coast in Esquimalt. In the spring the municipality put up fencing to protect the indigenous plant life in the area and I think it creates fasinating shadows as the hill curves up and around. - Fern

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sir James Douglas, KCB

Since my last visit to Government House there's another new addition to the garden opposite the entrance. The Hosaqami Totem Pole I posted a photo of yesterday stands in the garden to the west of the entrance. Equidistant to the east is this new statue of the first governor of British Columbia, Sir James Douglas, KCB. Sir James was also the founder of the city of Victoria. The bronze statue is the work of sculptor Armando Barbon and was unveiled here on the 21st of May, 2012.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Hosaqami is the name of the new totem pole erected on the grounds of BC Government House last weekend. It's a lovely pole still so new that you can smell the cedar shavings when you get up close. A great deal of history is represented in the way this pole was created and erected. Read HERE what the Globe and Mail has to say about it.

Government House is the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the local representative of Her Majesty the Queen. We'll have a little closer look at Government House and its grounds over the next few days.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Once the kids go back to school (during the second week of September here) it seems like things begin to wind down in the Inner Harbour. The weather has been good (hotter than June or July) but there's not so many tourists and autumn's in the air. Victoria is not famed for its colorful or dramatic sunsets but there are brief flashes of splendid color such as in this shot. Five minutes earlier and five minutes later these were just gray clouds. But for that little ten minute window they were as you see them above.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Murmuration at Rest

Currently the tallest perch in Victoria, this Farmer Construction crane played host to an immense murmuration of starlings yesterday. Their awesome group flight patterns are reflected in the apparent precision of their seating on this crane, each bird equidistant from the one next to it. Click here to see a viral video of a murmuration in flight over Ireland and the interesting article that grapples with the physics of how they do it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chemainus Murals

Last week we made some posts about our recent day trip to Chemainus. One of the main reasons for that trip was to see the "World Famous Murals". Fern posted one picture of a mural and here are a few more. They really are very striking and the town boasts nearly 40 of these immense paintings. Most deal with the early history of the area and focus on logging. Others, such as the one above pay tribute the the earliest residents of the area, the Chemainus First Nation. I also enjoyed the way that murals have become a part of even the fast food purveyors storefronts such as Subway.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post by Rosie Long

Today's lovely photos were taken by my daughter who, while having been featured on Victoria Daily Photo has never before contributed her own photos. These were taken on her IPad. She and her father picked the blackberries. The apples and tomatoes are also out of our garden. It was most definitely a fruitful day! - Fern and Rosie

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer Evenings

Strolling through town I couldn't help but enjoy how everyone's shadows became longer and longer as the sun set. - Fern

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Classic Boat Festival 2

Hot sunny weather (September has been more like summer than July was) and the harbour full of beautiful boats combined with a large and enthusiastic sailing community brought out the crowds last weekend to enjoy the Victoria Classic Boat Festival.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Victoria Classic Boat Festival

As well as the Saanich Fair, the long Labour Day weekend brings the annual Victoria Classic Boat Show when the Inner Harbour is crammed with classic wooden boats of all sizes and descriptions. The overal impression though is masses of burnished teak and mahogany and gleaming chrome and brass. This is the original eye candy. I always end up taking a dozen photos of the boat to the left, a classic Chris Craft.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kinsol Trestle 2

Regular visitor to this site, JoJo, asked yesterday how the trestle restoration had fixed the upper deck of the Kinsol Trestle. So, for you, JoJo, here is a photo of the deck that now covers the top of the trestle. And here's a bit of trivia - the name "Kinsol" was derived from the name of a nearby mine - King Solomon's Mine. Unfortunately the mine did not live up to its fabled namesake.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kinsol Trestle

On our trip to Chemainus we stopped on the way back to Victoria to see the recently restored Kinsol Trestle, an old railroad trestle that is no longer used for rail traffic. It is now a part of the Trans-Canada Trail. The trestle is an amazing piece of wooden engineering - the largest such trestle in the Commonwealth and one of the highest in the world. It is 44 meters (144 feet) tall and 188 meters (617 feet) long. The photo to the left is taken from the trestle looking down to the Koksilah River far below. To get some sense of the height of this trestle note the size of the picnic tables on the upper right.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Saanich Fair 2

Well, the Saanich Fair has lots of horses and cows and agricultural events but the midway has an especially robust selection of rides compared to the urban midways we usually attend (Esquimalt Buccaneer Days and the Oak Bay Tea Party). And of course there is always cotton candy and a range of junk foods that makes the local McDonalds look like an organic salad bar. The shop below is offering "Chicken Fingers" - I never knew chicken had fingers, but then I never knew buffalo had wings until I saw some offered on a local bar's menu.