Leaving early in the morning we boarded the MV Coho to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca on to Victoria BC.
It is a passenger and vehicle ferry owned and operated by the Black Ball Line. No frills but a comfortable 90 minute ride.
We arrived in Victoria Harbour. Here they use the Queen's English and I loved finding the differences in pronunciation and spelling.
Victoria Harbour is a harbour, seaport, and seaplane airport. It serves as a cruise ship and ferry destination for tourists and visitors to the city and Vancouver Island.
As I scanned the shoreline it seemed almost every building was a hotel or condo or apartment building.
Leaving the Coho we needed to make a plan.
I usually have some sort of a plan in mind but today I really didn't. We had been to the Butchart Gardens when we had a stop here on our Alaska Cruise so that wasn't on the radar.
I knew I wanted to see Fisherman's Wharf and the Parliament Buildings but that wouldn't take up a full day. This yacht had been docked in Port Angeles a few days ago. Curious as to the owner. We couldn't figure out what the flag was and there are no identifying names or marks anywhere. Aaaah Privacy.
We could take one of these cute little water taxis.
We could take a carriage ride.
We could just plan a walking route.
Walt made the decision. A hop on hop off bus that allowed us to see much of the city combined with some walking destinations.
Right in the heart of downtown are the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia.
On top of the central dome is a gold covered statue of Captain George Vancouver. Vancouver commanded an expedition charged with exploring the Pacific region. He was among Britain's greatest explorers and navigators and named many of the mountains and other features in the Northwest.
A contest was how the designer of the beautiful buildings was chosen. Amazingly the young man who won, Francis Rattenbury, was only 25 years old.
It also was designed by Francis Rattenbury. It opened in 1908. This is where Englands Royalty stays when it comes to Victoria.
The roses were sheer perfection. If you want to partake in High Tea the Empress is where to go. Wish I would have had girls along and I would have gone. High tea wasn't on Walt's list. Plus we didn't come dressed appropriately.
Sophisticated, smart casual.
And $75 Canadian to take part in the ritual.
The buildings cultivate an image of genteel civility within its natural setting along the shore.
My perception that there are a lot of apartments, condo's and hotels continued as we toured around the city. Victoria has a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and cool, dry and sunny summers. This has made it a desirable retirement area. The bus driver said that 1/3 of Victoria's population is retired, 1/3 semi-retired because they work for the government (Canada seems to have the same feeling about their government) and the other 1/3 doing the actual work in technology, food products, tourism, and education.
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel that opened in 2012 was built on the site of the original that was built in 1927 and destroyed by fire in 1930 and then an exact replica was rebuilt. The aged building finally reached the end of its functioning life in 2006 and was torn down for this new one to be built.
Victoria has a thriving Chinatown. It is the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's.
Fan Tan Alley through that little red gate is the narrowest street in Canada. Some places it is only 35 inches wide but it leads to a barber shop, art gallery, Chinese cafe, apartments and offices.
This is the new Johnson Street Bridge. It opened in March 2018 to the tune of $96.08 million (Canada $)
It replaced the bridge that had been built in 1924. Massively over budget and years behind schedule the bus driver said it was a major subject of controversy in Victoria.
Victoria is known as "The Garden City." The flowers around the city are bright and colorful and they say they bloom year round. Our bus driver said that there are over 1700 of these blooming baskets throughout the city.
Every neighborhood has a park and every park is filled with flowers.
Enough was completed in 1929 that they started to use it but building and renovations have continued to this day. The stained glass is amazing and Prince Charles and Camilla have attended church here.
We passed by The Victoria Golf Club.It was founded in 1893 and is the oldest 18-hole golf course in Canada in its original location and the second oldest in North America.
We walked a path along the shore to Fisherman's Wharf.
We had no idea how far we had to go. The signs were all in kilometers. Metric challenged.......yes we are. I know, I know we could have checked it out on our phones but that would have spoiled the fun.
Yummy crispy fish and chips was at Barb's.
We hopped back on the bus. This totem pole is the World's tallest totem.
After a long day it was time to head back to the ferry for the trip back to Port Angeles. My head was spinning with all the sights we had seen and all the information we had gotten that will hopefully be retained in this old brain for awhile.
Farewell City Beautiful.