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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Evening Walk

I love the silhouettes created by the setting sun. - Fern

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Orb Weaver

About a year ago I posted a photo of a common house fly so this year, in order to honor the equal time for opposing parties rule, I am posting a photo of a spider. This particular spider built and maintains his web just outside my door so I see him every day. My spider identification skills are rudimentary at best but it appears this is a member of the Orb Weaver family. However since there are over 3,000 species in this family I will not attempt a more specific identification. Whenever I focus in on insects I am amazed at how hairy they are!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Funk Cannon

Here's a group that never fails to draw an enthusiastic crowd with their high energy music. This is Funk Cannon - two saxophones and a drummer. They are a local group though here they are performing as part of the Victoria International Buskers Festival. They put on a great show
Thomas Daudlin
Maxwell Stover
Hunter Ellis (drums)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pierre St. Pierre

During the recent Victoria International Buskers Festival I was pleased to see that the organizers included some of our local buskers in the program. Anyone who looks at this blog regularly will know that I have a special fondness for our local street performers who are out there sharing their art with us for many months each year and enlivening our streets with their talents. Pictured today is one such, Pierre St. Pierre, who never fails to mesmerize children with his clockwork mime and nostalgic French cafe music.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Irish Melody

Amidst all the hurley-burley of the last weekend's activities I enjoyed a few moments or peace and tranquility listening to this lovely young woman playing her Celtic Harp on Government Street just in front of a shop selling Irish merchandise.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Northwest Deuce Days

While Northwest Deuce Days is meant to display restored and customized 1932 Ford Deuce Coupes, it also includes other cars from that era. In all there were over a thousand cars on display on blocked off streets around the Inner Harbour. Over 500 of the cars were actual deuce coupes. There were so many cars on display that some were even accommodated in the Legislature entrance driveways (above). If you were anywhere in Victoria on the Friday or Saturdays you would have been treated to a drive past of many of the display vehicles as their owners explored the city.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Busy Sunday

Sunday saw the final day of the Victoria International Buskers Festival and of the humongous car show, Northwest Deuce Days. Between the two festivals the Inner Harbour and most of the downtown area became one giant party area. Though there were lots of people it seldom felt really crowded because many events were taking place in a dozen different locations. Above is where the crowds were thickest, along Government Street in front of the Empress Hotel and directly in front of the Legislature, from the steps of which the above photo was taken. We'll have a look at some of the performances and events over the next few days.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Follow Me...

Bright summer days mean deep shadows in the woods. - Fern

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rejean Bussieres

The Victoria International Buskers Festival has taken place this week. It attracts buskers from all over the world and they perform at a half dozen different venues in the downtown and Inner Harbour area. One of the stages is in Bastion Square and it was there that I encountered the above performer, Rejean Bussieres. He's a very talented singer/guitarist and is a part of the festival that specifically celebrates Francophone culture. He's performing again on Sunday at Bastion Square (4pm) so if you're in town then stop by and listen. You will certainly enjoy his repertoire of French music, both from France as well as from La Belle Province, Quebec.

Friday, July 22, 2016

St. Ann's Schoolhouse

On the eastern side of Royal BC Museum is a brick courtyard called Heritage Square. On one side of this square is Helmcken House, the subject of the last two days' posts. On the other side of this square is the above building, St. Ann's Schoolhouse, the oldest building in the province that is still in use. It was built in the 1840s and purchased in 1858 for use as a convent for newly arrived nuns. Later they re-purposed it as a schoolhouse. You can get some idea of its solid construction by looking at the interior log wall pictured below. In the center of that photo is one of the original little desks.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Helmcken House 2

It's easy to see from yesterday's photo how Dr. Helmcken added to his house as his family grew, adding rooms as children arrived. He was married to one of Governor James Douglas' daughters who unfortunately died when the children were still quite young. So, as well as his many duties to the new colony (as a medical doctor, an elected representative and a high level Hudson's Bay Company employee) the doctor was also a single parent. The dining room of his house looks quite comfortable. In the center at the rear is the actual desk where Dr. Helmcken did much of his work when at home. One thing I learned about the doctor is that if the sitting room below had that wallpaper, that rug, and that sofa when he lived there then he was a much stronger man than I.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Helmcken House

Above is Helmcken House, still on the original plot of land where it was built, now adjacent to the Royal BC Museum (visible on the left above). The house belonged to John Sebastian Helmcken, the colony's first doctor and an important early resident in many other ways. I went to Helmcken House yesterday because I realized I have never looked inside closely. We'll have a look at what I found within, tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Backyard Boss

We get a lot of House Sparrows to our backyard feeder. I've only recently learned that there is a hierarchy within sparrow flocks. Above in the center is a male House Sparrow, easily recognizable by the black bib under his beak. His place in the hierarchy is reflected by the size of that black bib and since the above bird's is the biggest I saw this morning I am assuming he is the boss. However, variations in the size of the bib may also only reflect age. The other birds in the picture are female House Sparrows or juveniles.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Swimming Hole

This is my new favorite spot, Killarney Lake. It is a beautiful little lake up arounf Hartland Road area. It seems to be a hang-out for eagles in particular with 3 or 4 sitting in the near-by trees or swooping down for a drink. Of course I didn't bring the right lenses to capture them in pictures but next time for sure. - Fern

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Country Life

On the way to our favorite swimming hole we passed this beautiful horse grazing in the field and it was just so dream-like I almost wasn't sure it was real. - Fern

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Gorge

One of the nicest aspects of living in Victoria is the waterway known as The Gorge. Thanks to the Gorge, Victoria is not only surrounded by water but is penetrated by it so that no matter where you live in the city you are never more than a few minutes away from the sea. As you can judge by the photo above, many people take advantage of the sheltered waters of The Gorge to paddle around in a wide variety of boats. Many prefer to go it alone or in pairs in kayaks but there are many other who prefer to do it in groups, as in the photo below. Big canoe groups like this are probably practicing for the Dragon Boat Races, coming up in early August.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Amazing Thailand 3

Here's a little more of the Amazing Thailand presentation on Tuesday evening. After the introductory dances by mythological creatures, five splendidly costumed dancers provided us with a sample of the grace and beauty of Thai culture. Every movement was stately and graceful, especially the intricate hand gestures. Their performance inspired one little girl to mimic them in the background.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Amazing Thailand 2

After Garuda had finished his opening dance (see yesterday's post) this large many-headed serpent danced through the audience and up onto the stage. It is the traditional adversary of Garuda, sometimes referred to as Naga. They had a dance conversation and conflict which appeared to temporarily resolve their differences.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Here is a Thai dancer representing Garuda, an important figure in Buddhist and Hindu mythology. It was the opening performance of an evening's entertainment provided by the Thai Ministry of Culture called Amazing Thailand. It all took place on the steps of the Legislative Assembly Building on Tuesday. We'll a look at some of the other performers in the next few days. It was a wonderfully colorful and exotic spectacle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pride Parade 2

Quite a few religions and churches marched in the Pride Parade and I was particularly impressed with this light-footed member of the clergy.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pride Parade

Last week was Gay Pride Week in Victoria and the boisterous Pride Parade was held on Sunday. Just about every organization and business was represented in the parade and there were thousands of spectators to enjoy this annual spectacle. The lovely ladies pictured here are from the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Copper Cowgirl

Here's another perennial performer on Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway, the Copper Cowgirl. Her mime never fails to amuse and entertain passersby, especially kids. While other mimes here generally cover their eyes with masks or sunglasses, Copper Cowgirl makes good use of a pair of striking blue eyes.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Government House Costume Museum 3

I realized yesterday that despite two posts devoted to the Costume Museum I had not included any photos of actual costumes. Here are a couple. Above is a striking ensemble worn on official occasions by a former female Lieutenant-Governor that incorporates First Nations motifs. Below is a closeup of a jacket worn by a former male Lieutenant-Governor that uses a lot of gold braid - real gold braid - and there is so much of it on this jacket that it weighs in at thirty-five pounds (about fifteen kilos).

Friday, July 8, 2016

Government House Garden

Government House is perched on the crest of a steep rise overlooking the Strait and there are lovely views from extensive gardens that surround the main building. Here is a view looking southwest towards the Olympic Peninsula. The gardens are open to the public and are well worth a visit.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Government House Costume Museum 2

As you can see by today's photo and yesterday's, the Government House Costume Museum has a lot more to offer than clothing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Government House Costume Museum

Fern and I went to Government House in the early spring and we returned there about a week ago to take lunch in Cary Castle Mews on the Government House Grounds. Lunch was good but the real treat was a visit to the Costume Museum, also located in the Mews. As well as many of the Lieutenant Governors' ceremonial costumes it has period costumes from the 19th century and several dioramas from the same era, two of which are pictured here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Canada Day on the Gorge - Street Hockey

In many countries where I have lived, if there was a game going on in the street it was usually soccer (or football as it is known everywhere except in North America). But here in Canada the game is more likely to be street hockey. The match pictured above was taking place on Gorge Road as part of the Canada Day on The Gorge Picnic and it was a very vigorous game.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Canada Day on The Gorge - Canoe Rides

If you ever wanted to know what it was like to paddle in a traditional style canoe you had a chance on July 1st. Canoe rides were available to the public for a mere $2 and there were lots of takers.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Pick

Benjamin picked the beautiful red car (that is how much I pay attention to these things) but I do love this one; the rich patina of rust and weathered paint is just perfect in my opinion. - Fern

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Canada Day on The Gorge

Hands up everyone who recognized this car from the picture above? Yes, you're right, it is a splendidly sumptuous 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, a car with no environmental conscience whatsoever but a thing of beauty nonetheless. Love those tail fins! It was one of many immaculately restored classic cars on display on Canada Day on the Gorge. There were lots of other interesting things to see and do there on Canada Day and we'll have a look at some next week.
I was curious as to how much a car like this is worth nowadays - online I found an identical car sold at auction in 2012 for $88,000 - probably 2 or 3 times the original price!

Friday, July 1, 2016


Our weather lately is still very much a mixed bag - a little of everything every day. But when the sun does come out it's hot and bright. I like this photo of the entrance to Bastion Square because the blown out highlights on the sidewalk suggest very nicely just how bright and hot it was.

Happy Canada Day!