Visit to Victoria – The Garden City

Listen to this while reading…

KILN – Airplaneshadows

I was looking at photos when I visited Victoria and realized how long it has been because of date stamps on the pictures. Seriously though, whoever invented date stamps back then, are a genius. It really does help to refresh your memory of when the picture was taken, especially when the photograph ends up in print with no saved electronic copy of it afterwards.

Back when I went to Vancouver during the winter of 2008, we decided to do a day excursion to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Victoria is situated on the south of Vancouver Island; an island which is located off the west coast of Vancouver.

That December morning was a rather nice day with the winter sun slowly rising in the sky. There were zero drops of snow on the ground at that time despite it being winter in December – there was already snow back in Toronto. We took a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. The ferry was called BC Ferries and they make daily trips from Tsawwassen, Vancouver to Swartz Bay, Victoria and back. The ride was about 1.5 hours long and I recalled that the ferry I was on was fairly large (compared to other ferries I’ve been on), with all sorts of amenities. It had a few restaurants and souvenir shops, several lounges for people to work in, and some entertainment areas for kids to play. I remembered I went to one of the shops and browsed through magazines most of the ride because I loved reading.

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We headed to The Butchart Gardens once we arrived in Victoria. Fun fact: Victoria is actually known as the City of Gardens. The Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Sites of Canada and are recognized for their lovely landscapes and striking floral displays. According to an information plate about the garden, it was established in 1904 by Jennie Butchart to showcase the period of Victorian style through aesthetic scenic displays. There are also seasonal activities depending on when you go in the year – fireworks during the summer and ice skating during the winter. There weren’t as much people there that morning so the atmosphere was pretty tranquil and serene. It would be nice to enjoy a morning walk or evening stroll on any given day.

DSCN0095DSCN0094DSCN0123DSCN0181DSCN3822DSCN3825One of the most popular displays was the Sunken Gardens. Story had it that before it was a garden, it used to be a limestone quarry. Occasionally, I heard birds chirping and the light tune of music playing in the background. The garden has a winding path, an iron-railed staircase, freshly cut greens, and an aura of mixed pine and wood. The scene of this was really picturesque and that if I could, I would sit here for hours and create a painting of this. I recalled at one moment, the sun’s rays casted a glow upon the garden, making it look enchanting.

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This is called the Ross Fountain and was named after the Butchart’s grandson Ian Ross.

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In the afternoon, we made a stop by the Parliament Building of British Columbia. You have the option to do a self-guided tour or a tour with a tour guide. This historical and grandeur legislative building has spectacular stone and wood architecture. I’ve heard that when the lights that line the building come on at night, it looks majestic. The interior of the building was just as beautiful as the exterior. Inside, there were gorgeous stained glass windows, stunning décor, numerous artifacts, and lots of intricate detailing that lined the walls and ceilings. It was very impressive and I really admire the workmanship and time it took to build this. I feel that once you enter this or any types of these buildings, there is a shift in atmosphere as if you’re stepping back into and getting a glimpse of the past.

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The Fairmont Empress Hotel (located behind the Parliament Building) is on the right, and overlooks the Inner Harbour.

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Other shots of the day.

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Victoria was a beautiful place to visit. It embraces a lot of remarkable scenic traits of British Columbia, from water and mountains to flowerbeds and trees, and I can see why people call it the City of Gardens.

-Jessica

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