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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ross Bay Villa

The beautifully restored house above is the Ross Bay Villa. It is directly across the street from the Ross Bay Cemetery and is one of the few remaining buildings in this area dating from the 1860s. It is now owned by the Ross Bay Villa Society and is open to the public. It's a beautiful old cottage and well worth a visit if you are interested in Victoria's early history and heritage buildings.

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Bridge Update

Work continues on the foundation for the new Johnson Street Bridge. What I notice most about it now is how much larger (both wider and higher) the new bridge is than the old bridge. While I'll be sad to see the old Blue Bridge go, I am getting ever more eager to see the new one.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Off Season 2

The cute little harbour ferries that are so busy in the summer hibernate during the winter here in the Upper Harbour, just below the Canoe Brewpub pictured yesterday. Without their busy to-and-fro-ing the waters of the harbour and the Gorge seem much less cheerful and busy and I'll be happy to see them come back in the spring.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Off Season

From May til September these tables at the Canoe Brew Pub are likely to be crowded with people eating, drinking, laughing and generally enjoying themselves. But now we are in the off season - the kids are back in school and the cruise ships have headed down south. It's a quieter time of year but it has its pleasures as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Bargain!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ross Bay Cemetery - Terry Reksten

While most of the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery are of historical figures from the 19th and early 20th centuries, here is the stone that marks the relatively recent grave of a writer very important to Victoria's heritage and history. This is the grave of Terry Reksten, who deserves a place alongside the historical figures that lie nearby because she actively worked to preserve what they created and wrote about it so feelingly. Her books of BC and Victoria history were and still are very popular. Much of the little I know of our local history comes from reading some of her numerous books.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I cant really claimed to have met the woe-be-gone donkey made famous by Winnie-the-poo as this little girl was, well a girl and even on a cold rainy afternoon she was quite happy to have some company and a few apples. - Fern

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mushroom Bouquet

Here's another from our recent mushrooming trip to Mount Douglas. I like these bright warm colors now when the skies are so often gray.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ross Bay Cemetery - John Dean

John Dean was a pioneer businessman active in many areas of life in 19th and early 20th century Victoria. He had a house in Esquimalt but in later years he bought a hundred acres in Saanich and built himself a cabin there on Mount Newton. Later he donated much of the land to the province (its first donated parkland) and it became the basis for John Dean Provincial Park. It is home to the last surviving old growth timber on the Saanich Peninsula. John Dean was a colorful character and had his tombstone made to order before his death. Here are the words he had inscribed there:

"It is a rotten world, artful politicians are it's bane. It's saving grace is the artlessness of the young and the wonders of the sky."

John Dean Provincial Park is a splendid wild park and we are very indebted to John Dean and other early Saanich settlers who also donated lands for this park. I did not get a chance to visit the park this year but here is post about it from a few years ago.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Toothed Jelly Fungus

Here's another of this year's crop of fungi, one of my favorites, the Toothed Jelly Fungus (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum). These look good enough to eat and you can, though they are reputed to be very bland. I love them because they always seem to be lighted from within.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fluted Black Elfin Saddle

On our most recent excursion to Mount Douglas Park I was happy to see a few of these weird little mushrooms with the fanciful name of Fluted Black Elfin Saddles. They really look like the perfect food for all those zombies we've been seeing lately and I understand they are probably edible despite being a little bit poisonous.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Zombies Visit the Legislature

Hard to tell whether this couple are legislators having a rest from a hard committee meeting or simply visitors taking a break on the Legislature steps. Below, these zombies ride such cool vehicles!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunny Saturday

The sun peeked out from the clouds on Saturday. Many Victoria families took advantage of its benign rays for an afternoon stroll around the Inner Harbour.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Industrial Landscape

Anyone who knows Victoria and southern Vancouver Island knows we don't have alot of factories or industry so the few places where it does exist really fascinate me. This is a animal feed manufacturing plant outside of Duncan on the side of the highway. For as long as I've had a camera I've wanted to stop and take pictures of this place and finally had an opportunity. I don't know that I've 'gotten the shot' but it was satisfying none-the-less. - Fern

Saturday, October 17, 2015

West Coast Morning

Saxe Point Park on an autumn morning.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mushrooming Part 2

Benjamin and I were discussing our recent outing to Mount Doug Park and how it is that we can go out together to the same place with very similar equipment and yet our photos are very, very different. It's an interesting meditation on the creative process. He would say this for more eloquently as well. I enjoy his perspective as much as my own so I feel it's a win-win situation. Happy Birthday Dad, thanks for taking me out on so many great adventures. xo Fern

Thursday, October 15, 2015


It's been a couple of weeks since I last checked this year's mushroom crop so Fern and I went out to Mount Douglas Park for a few hours on Wednesday to see what has popped up out of the ground. The Coral Fungi pictured above is one of the beauties we found.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ross Bay Cemetery - Emily Carr

I was touched to see the perfect mementos devotees have used to decorate the grave of one of Victoria's best known and best loved artists and authors, Emily Carr. The pens and paintbrushes are just one expression of how much she is remembered and revered even today 70 years after her death. At times her grave is adorned with children's drawings. Like many great artists her paintings and books are probably more popular now than when she produced them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roderick Finlayson - Father of Victoria

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Ross Bay Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Victoria's important early residents and above is the grave of a man sometimes called "The Father of Victoria", Roderick Finlayson. While Sir James Douglas selected the location for Fort Victoria the actual building of the fort was the work of Charles Ross, who the first resident Hudson Bay Company factor. He died in the first year and Roderick Finlayson, his second in command, continued as Chief Factor and completed the construction of the fort. After Ross's death, his wife Isabella, a M├Ętis woman, bought the land surrounding Ross Bay and became, incidentally, the first female landowner in the colony. After her death her farm became the Ross Bay Cemetery. Finlayson was active in many areas of early Victoria's life and in later years became Mayor of the city. His memory is enshrined in the many local landmarks that bear his name - Finlayson Arm (off Saanich Inlet), Finlayson Point (between Clover Point and Holland Point on Dallas Road), Finlayson Street and Mount Finlayson to name a few.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ross Bay Cemetery

Regular visitors here will know that I often like to browse among the graves in our oldest colonial cemetery on Ross Bay because so many of the city's founding citizens are buried there. I spent a few hours there on Sunday and passed a part of the time with this splendid Blacktail Buck. Some people consider deer in the city to be a problem. I love to see them, especially when they are as calm as this one. He seemed quite unperturbed by passersby even when they approached quite closely.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The 'Hat

This is a long and winding road up and over the Malahat (or the 'Hat to many locals.) It's the main conduit for travelers going north or south on Vancouver Island and with the summit being 356 m (1,156 ft) the weather often changes quickly. It's quite enough of an adventure for me. - Fern

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Alyssa Jean

While the tourist season begins to die down once schools open and the cruise ships head south with the birds, Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway continues to hum along as long as the weather stays warm enough to draw people out. Here's a fine young musician I recorded last week - Alyssa Jean. Check out the video below for a sample of her repertoire.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fungi Friday

Here's another couple of this year's mushrooms from Mount Douglas Park. It's been cool and rainy for the last couple of days and I'm looking forward to my next mushrooming excursion.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Now that fall has arrived we are seeing more different birds visiting our back yard bird feeder. Above is one recent visitor, an American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Autumn 2

Yesterday's photo was taken looking northwest up the Gorge. In the above photo we are looking south down the Gorge towards downtown, visible beyond the Bay Street (Point Ellice) Bridge.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


We're still having lovely warm, sunny days but there's a nip in the air in the mornings and as this photo of the Gorge shows, autumn colors are tinting the landscape.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Little Crow

I've had some mobility problems this summer that have prevented me from enjoying the musicians on the Inner Harbour Causeway as much as I usually do. However, I was able to get down there on the weekend and listen to some good music. Here's a couple I listened to with pleasure on Saturday. They are Michael Nicholls and Rhonda Lou and call themselves Little Crow. I recorded the video below of one of their original songs that will give you some idea of their music. The song is called Jordan River.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Row Row Row Your Boat...

On a beautiful sunny Sunday morning there are many many people out in all kinds of boats on the Gorge Waterway. It looks like such fun. - Fern

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Summit Path

Just to close the week off, here's another from near the summit of Mount Douglas showing the pathway that leads to the top. Here we are looking southeast. Today's photo and those of the last two days were all taken with a Takumar 17mm fisheye lens that is about 50 years old.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Looking Northwest

Yesterday's view from the summit of Mount Douglas was looking westward and south over the city. Today's view is looking westward towards the north, up the Saanich Peninsula with the San Juan Islands on the right.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

From the Top

A few days ago I posted a photo of a couple enjoying the view from the summmit of Mount Douglas. Looking southwest, the above photo is the view they were seeing.