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Monday, August 31, 2015

Esquimalt Lagoon - Late summer

I often find late summer landscapes to be a bit frowsy - everything is worn out, blown and gone to seed - but at Esquimalt Lagoon on Sunday it just seemed that the green of spring and summer grasses had been refined and smelted into gold.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sidney Spit Provincial Park

There is a little island off the coast of Sidney that is truly a tiny bit of paradise. The only access is by water and there is a small passenger ferry that runs daily to the island from the end of the pier in Sidney and takes about 25 minutes. The ride itself is quite nice in fact. The above picture is taken from about half way down the spit but the tide was on it's way in and so we didn't linger too long for fear of getting stranded out on the point. It's a great spot for a day trip or for the more adventurous there's camping. Well worth a visit! - Fern

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Las Vegas?

Well, it doesn't quite look like Caesar's Palace does it? Here's a local attraction in View Royal I pass often but have never stopped to photograph before, probably because the building has such a neutral, institutional appearance. Gamblers in this province don't get to experience the architectural extravagance of gambling parlors such as those in Las Vegas. I suspect there are several reasons for this - not the least is that there is no competition. There is only one casino here and this is it. Another reason probably has something to do with the rather prudish history of this province in relation to alcohol and gambling both. I can still remember when beer parlors had two entrances and two sections: one was labeled "Men" or "Gentlemen" and the other was labeled "Ladies and Escorts". Drinking in public (sidewalk restaurants) was strictly banned. Gambling, aside from that which took place at Race Tracks, was completely illegal. The only lottery was the Irish Sweepstakes and you had to know somebody who knew somebody in order to get a ticket for that once a year event. Well, times have changed. There are many lotteries now and most of the money goes to charitable causes. Tickets are sold in every supermarket and other places as well. However, gambling with other games of chance such as card games, roulette and slot machines is still limited to the casino (or online). Laws governing alcohol use have loosened up also although you still can't buy alcoholic drinks in a grocery store here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Funk Cannon Up Close

One of many reasons I like photographing street performers is that it gives me a chance to practice making portraits. Here's some of the group featured in yesterday's post, Funk Cannon. My apologies for neglecting to get the names of the newer members of this group.

Thomas Daudlin - Saxophone
Max Stover - Saxophone
Rhythm Guitar

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Funk Cannon

After watching a bit of the cycle race on Dallas Road (yesterday's post) on Sunday afternoon I strolled down into Cook Street Village and caught one of my favorite busking groups, Funk Cannon. This is a bunch of high school kids whose high energy music always draws (and holds) a crowd.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Not what I planned, but....

I went down to Dallas Road hoping to capture one of those cycle race photos with burly riders shoulder to shoulder pumping at breakneck speed as they lean into a curve, but...above is what I got. No reflection on the two riders here - it's a 140 km. race and I shouldn't have expected that adrenaline charged rush on this part of the course. The race is called the Tour de Victoria and took place on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chinatown Architecture

Before we leave this Victoria Chinatown series, here's a couple more of the unusual and distinctive buildings in the area. Above, though it lacks the pagoda style roof trim, the third floor balconies seem to be characteristic of other Chinese buildings nearby. See, for instance, the two narrow buildings below, The First Chinese Empire Association (on the left) graced with two balconies. The Yen Wo building on the right actually has a balcony on the top floor that is walled in. The Lee's Benevolent Association building featured here a few weeks ago has a similar top floor balcony over looking the street.

Monday, August 24, 2015


I mentioned a few days ago how I appreciated that even the details in Chinatown contribute to the ambiance. Here's two examples, a bike rack and a trash container, both painted the bright red that is an auspicious color in Chinese culture.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Something Strange Is Going On In James Bay

This tree on the corner of Oswego and Simcoe has some new 'limbs' and it certainly was a bit of a surprise to come across. Is this a experiment with GMOs by a mad scientist? - Fern

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Venus Sophia

Yesterday's window seat photos were taken while I was waiting for my lunch to be served in Venus Sophia, a delightfully comfortable restaurant/tea parlor in the heart of Chinatown. It manages to hold its own though surrounded by a dozen Asian restaurants, probably because it is as good as it is different. You can see my lunch below and it was delicious. I eat there fairly often and am never disappointed.

Friday, August 21, 2015


There is a constant flow of pedestrians and other traffic along Fisgard Street in Chinatown and the best way to enjoy it is to find a good window seat.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dragon Alley 2

Dragon Alley has quite a different character from Fan Tan Alley though they both begin with very narrow entryways from Fisgard Street in Chinatown. While Fan Tan Alley exudes a foreign/Chinese atmosphere throughout its length, Dragon Alley is chic and modern - boxy pastel condos and boutiques dominate though there's lot of old brick as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dragon Alley

Fan Tan Alley (yesterday's post) is only one of Chinatown's two exceedingly narrow passages. Across the street and down the block is another, Dragon Alley, that passes northward from Fisgard Street to Herald Street. We'll take a walk down Dragon Alley tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fan Tan Alley 2

While it's narrower at both ends Fan Tan Alley widens out in the the middle of the block. There are shop entrances on both sides.
Photographers love doors and this one in Fan Tan Alley has got to be the most photographed door in the city. It's got everything - color, texture, location (fractional address), nice lozenge-shaped panels and brass fittings. Fittingly, it's the entrance to a photographer's studio.
There are shops of all kinds but for me the most fascinating are those selling Chinese artifacts and curios. Here's one room of a favorite shop of mine that has about 7 or 8 similar rooms connecting to it in a winding maze that eventually leads to Fisgard Street. I could spend hours here (this shop also has some interesting artifacts from the history of Fan Tan Alley on display.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fan Tan Alley

Our Chinatown has some interesting architectural features that include some very narrow passages between buildings. Fan Tan Alley runs right through the block from Fisgard Street to Pandora Street and is barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. We'll have a closer look at it tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Bad Day for Sailing

Recently my mum(Fern)and I were invited to go out sailing. However it was TOO windy, how ironic. At least I managed to get one good picture out of the trip. -Rosie (Want to see more of my pictures? Follow me on instagram! chosen1414)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Eternal Summer

I've got nothing fresh here today so here's one from the archives - 5 years ago I posted this photo taken at the Sooke Potholes, just west of Victoria.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chinese Stone Lions

Though parts of Chinatown are on all sides of the Gate of Harmonious Interest, the gate really marks the entrance to Chinatown proper since lower Fisgard Street is the heart of the district. Since the gate marks the entrance it is fitting that it is guarded by the two Chinese stone lions that traditionally guard the entrance to important areas. As you can see in the photos above, the two lions are not identical. They are yin and yang, female and male. On the left above is the protective female with her cub under her paws. On the right is the male with a globe (the world, the universe) in his paws. He protects the district and she protects those who live within it. Like the gate itself, these lions were a gift from Victoria's Chinese sister city, Suzhou .

Thursday, August 13, 2015

West Bay Walkway

Here's another from a recent walk along the West Bay Walkway, the westernmost portion of a footpath that encircles the entire Inner Harbour. Here we are looking westward towards Work Point (on the far right), one side of the entrance to the Victoria Harbour. Those distant peaks are on the Olympic Peninsula in the USA.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jewel of the Seas

I haven't been walking the West Bay Walkway lately so I took a stroll down there a few days ago. It's still as lovely as ever. The cruise ship in the distance is the Jewel of the Seas.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More Chinatown

Here is a close-up of a building you can see in the background of yesterday's post. The tall part of the building is identified as "The Lees Benevolent Association". The shorter part of the building is signposted as "Shon Yee Benevolent Association". These associations occupy the upper floors with the street level devoted to businesses. Like the building housing the Tam Kung Temple, this double building is very narrow and the four doorways visible yield two fractional addresses (614½ and 612½).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bright Pearl

Here is a family enjoying the Bright Pearl, a large stainless steel globe of the world that can be rotated by hand in its cool water bath. It is located where Centennial Square (home of Victoria City Hall) meets Chinatown, just opposite the Gate of Harmonious Interest. The plaque beneath it reads:
As the centrepiece between Centennial Square and historic Chinatown, the Bright Pearl honours the many people who immigrated here from the Pearl River Valley in China. The Bright Pearl welcomes citizens and visitors alike to this civic square, especially those from our twin cities around the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Country Roads

Growing up a city kid I am always enamored with idyllic scenes like this one in Metchosin. - Fern

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer Sunstars

I endlessly enjoy how my old Takumar lenses produce these wonderful star shapes when something sparkles.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chinatown Phone Booth

One of many things I like about our Chinatown is the attention to details. Bike racks, lamp posts and pedestrian benches are all designed with Chinese motifs and color. This phone booth (almost an historical artifact these days) on Fisgard Street fits in perfectly

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tam Kung Temple 3

Above is the altar of the Tam Kung Temple. Here devotees may perform a ritual to receive answers to problems that are troubling them. Behind this altar is a niche where the statue of Tam Kung is located. You can see this in the photo below. The University of Victoria has an interesting page on Tam Kung and this temple, the oldest Chinese Temple in Canada.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tam Kung Temple 2

Many of the buildings in Chinatown are so narrow that they have fractional addresses. The entrance to the Tam Kung Temple is one such address. I hope you enjoy the funny looking photographer reflected in the doorway's glass.
The architectural oddness continues once you enter the red door. You face three flights of stairs but they don't go back and forth like most stairwells but continue in a long straight line up the side of the building. While it makes perfect sense, it contributes greatly to the feeling of entering another world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tam Kung Temple

If you stand on the corner of Fisgard and Government Streets in Victoria's Chinatown and look northeast you will see this large dragon on the side of a narrow building. The dragon mural is by artist Robert Amos assisted by the children of the Chinese Public School and commemorates Chinatown's 150th anniversary a few years ago. But the building holds another treasure, the Tam Kung Temple. That tiny sign on the upper left corner of the above building says, "Chinese Temple Top Floor". Come along with me tomorrow to explore this a little more.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Looking West...

...towards the Metchosin Hills. Saxe Point Park sunset.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


In August the light changes and takes on a different quality altogether. This stretch of country road becomes a sheet of silver winding though the forest. The part of the scene not shown here is the black bear that had just ambled across the road in front of us. Too quick for a photo but amazing all the same! - Fern

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Another Maltby in Chinatown

Yesterday's Maltby mural was a group portrait. Today's, barely a hundred meters distant, is a striking trompe l'oeil that invites the passerby into 19th century Victoria.