30 August 2018

Northwest Passage - Pt. 3: Victoria: Imperious Flora

Victoria is the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia. A small, lovely city, it inhabits a peninsula on the southeast corner of Vancouver Island (which is, I might add, across the Strait of Georgia from the city of Vancouver). It is walkable and bikable. It prides itself on being the most English city in North America, and, indeed, we made a point of having high tea at the Empress Hotel. Charming.

The weather, they claim, is moderate year round—more so than the larger city of Vancouver and the mainland. Victoria receives very little snowfall and rarely gets freezing temperatures because it nestles in a weather shadow of the high mountains that make up the spine of Vancouver Island and take the piss out of the violent Pacific storms that winter tourists flock to Tofino, on the Pacific coast of the island, to view. Likewise, while we were there, the city was cooler and clearer than Vancouver city and the rest of the inland areas (other than the highest mountains). We saw no trace of smoke or haze from the vast, record-level wild forest fires that plagued the mainland.

(Click pics below to embiggen.)

The Fairmont Empress Hotel presiding over the harbour from the ferry arriving from Seattle.
The imperial façade of the Parliament Building.
Every block of downtown was adorned with flower displays.
Flowery view of the Empress from the Parliament.
The Harbour bounded by flowers.
More harbour.
You may no know this but Canada has only one road, and this is Mile 0 of the TransCanada Highway.
Inside the Empress where we had high tea (the British kind, not the Seattle kind).
A totem bear eating a totem salmon inside the Empress sunroom.
Beach wrack.
Gateway to North America's oldest so-called 'China Town'.
Adorable harbour taxi.
Red Bark of the Pacific Madrone tree (Arbutus menziesii).
Found art along the harbour quay.
Butchart Gardens, touted as one of the finest in the world.
The Gardens. Just go. 
Monkey Puzzle tree

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