Exploring Victoria and its Vicinity

Another perfect day with beaming blue skies, great temperatures and no humidity greeted me yesterday. After a lovely strengthening breakfast and some business issues, Clare and I set off by car to explore British Columbia’s capital Victoria.

We started by parking our car pretty close to “Mile Zero”, right next to Beacon Hill Park. This expansive city park is right next to the waterfront and at its southern end you have a perfect view across the Juan de Fuca Sound to Washington State’s Olympic Mountain range.

Beacon Hill Park has beautiful landscaping, hundreds of flower beds, a petting zoo with screaming peacocks, serene shady ponds hosting various families of ducks, an assortment of totem poles and a great variety of shade trees, many of which I have never seen in Toronto. The whole waterfront around Beacon Hill Park reminded me very much of California and seeing the odd palm tree just reinforced that image. I had to remind myself that we are still in Canada here.

Beacon Hill Park flower beds

Our next step was to explore the waterfront to the east along Beach Drive. We moved past lovely well-kept houses and various inlets and bays and about 3 km east of downtown we arrived in the Oak Bay area. When we saw the Tudor-style gables of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel we decided this needed further exploration. We stopped the car, went through the lobby and outside the back door and saw one of the most beautiful patios and backyards on the ocean. The hotel, just like so many other places in Victoria, has gorgeous landscaping and a multitude of brilliantly coloured flower beds, right next to the Pacific Ocean.

Coming up next we checked out the Oak Bay Marina and then turned inland towards the quaint Oak Bay shopping area, bedecked in hanging flower pots, and featuring many outdoor patios. We knew an exploration of the Empress Hotel and the Provincial Parliament Buildings was on our menu, so we started heading downtown on Yates Street. We turned right at the waterfront and to find a parking spot in this bustling neighbourhood, we ended parking on Johnson Street, right in front of a retail store that had large mechanical doll dressed up as an old lady with a big hat in front of it. The doll was able to open and close its eyelids and move its head from side to side, much to the fascination of the local tourists.

Oak Beach Hotel

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