A Vancouver, Victoria, and Capilano Story. Part 2: Victoria in Two Days

How did we spend two days in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada?

We strive to see as much as possible for our weekend trip. Of course, we had to pick and choose, and we chose a few favorites such as Inner Harbor, the Parliament House, and Beacon Hill Park.

December 2018

As we ambled on that cloudy, sprinkling day, we saw a gorgeous park right by the water and the mechanics of Johnson Street Bridge. The white single-leaf bascule bridge can open up and let boats pass. It looked like a leaf from the side with its round contour and tapering formation at one end.

Downtown & Market Square

After entering Market Square through an obscure hallway hidden by a leafy green tree, we were surrounded by a three-level brick building with one of the top floor’s balconies covered with glass as if it were a greenhouse. A fountain of vines stood at one end and a giant polar bear wearing a simple red scarf surrounded by four small Christmas trees at another. The ambiance charmed us so much that we stayed until Santa had walked in to entertain guests.

We exited at the Market Square entrance where a Christmas choir of men and women in dark garments sang. Two large pillars held a black arch with the sign “Market Square” with a missing “A” in “Market”. The colorful buildings nearby are rather ornate and to me, looked Victorian. Each step towards a new direction, we’d come across something unexpected, like a garden in the alley or the Bastion Square and a holiday festival with games, and a photo booth with dogs dressed for the holidays. While walking, I spotted an interesting white, sea green, and brown building, and upon closer inspection, it was a building that had been demolished from inside out! It was tragic, disturbing, yet somehow artistic to see how everything look and how the walls are now supported from the outside.

Inner Harbor

The best part of downtown was near The Empress hotel on the waterfront where you can see Parliament House, which looks like a khaki castle with sea-green domes. The building is huge, and the grounds included fountains and memorials. At night, it lights up with Christmas light as if it was a castle at the Disney parks.

Down the street sat Huntingdon Manor, which was brightly decorated and had two British flags hanging at the entrance. It had a pond that sprouted water and was surrounded by green fern. A horse named Judge, trimmed from a leafy hedge, pulled a sled.

It quickly grew dark as we head back down the road, satisfied with viewing the buildings and interesting Christmas decorations. Back at the marina, I found an orca sculpture covered with colorful tiles, a 3D mosaic. We had a $1 oyster that night-an amazing find since oysters usually cost more in the US. Later, we went to another mall, the Bay Centre, where strings of lights hung from the ceiling and Christmas trees were every meter away.

That night, we took the bus to the small homemade caboose cabin. It was a neat little rental with very basic amenities-two beds on top of wooden cabinets and a bucket toilet we avoided using. It had lights and electricity, and it was a find considering it was the cheapest place to stay.

Beacon Hill Park

The next day, we woke up relatively early and had to catch our bus. We’d have to limit our exploration to the same area or risk not catching the bus in time and getting stranded on the island, and hopefully, my friend’s car wouldn’t be towed in Vancouver or we’d really be stranded in Canada.

We decided that Butchart Gardens was too far… but Beacon Hill Park seemed interesting and was free. On our way, we pass by the Royal BC Museum with Dinosaur Footprints outside. The totem poles at Thunderbird Park rose above the trees, touching the light of the early sunrise.

A block away, Beacon Hill Park has ponds and mossy green rocks. It’s so green that it seemed as if it was Scotland. The park is home to many beautiful, curious, blue and green, iridescent peacocks. The moss lady was a surprise… you’d need to see it yourself… the rock sculpture sleeps on the earth and is covered with moss. There are many ducks in the ponds, black squirrels hopping from trees, and waterfalls cascading off rocks. The World’s Tallest Free-Standing Totem Pole stands 127 feet high in the middle of a clearing. The biggest difference between this park and other parks is its enormous size.

We walked toward the beach to Finlayson Point. It was a cloudy day, but many people were out and about, hiking on the trail near the beach. The people here loved walking their dogs, and overall, there was a sense of calmness different from the busy life in LA, and people seemed to care about living a peaceful, happy life. Time slowed at the rocky beach.

We hurried back to the city at noon, and we were hungry and cold. The cold had never stopped, and I’m thankful that I was wearing my pink and white sweater (with a British flag in silver rhinestones) and my olive green jacket with faux white fur lining.

Royal British Museum

After coffee and lunch, we went to the museum we had passed, and it was worth it. From Egyptian to mammoth and many other historical exhibits, this museum had everything and was probably one of the best I’ve seen yet. It was artistic and informative, and the details on the animals or Canada life rooms were fascinating. The old rooms had a sense of British royalty, and it was interesting to learn about the Native Canadians, which is a little different from Native Americans.

I’d recommend this for people who love museums. A couple of hours later, we had to catch the bus or risk being stranded. I had was basically stranded on an island last year when my friend left me to drive his car back so he didn’t have to pay the parking fee. Turned out the lane was one way, and he had to go to downtown before figuring out how to come back.

We caught the bus and napped as approaching winter darkened the sky by 5pm and the bus rounded many roundabouts. We boarded the ferry around 7pm, and an hour later, were in Vancouver.

In Surrey, we grabbed dinner at Browns Social House where they served fusion food, which I hadn’t experienced in California despite how diverse it is. We had soft fried calamari, fish and chips with coleslaw, and beef and sushi.

I don’t know how my friend drove back that night because I fell asleep and barely woke up to hand over my passport at the border.

Last Day

For those who want to go to Canada for cheap, it’s helpful to live in a state that borders Canada. Back in Seattle, it wasn’t until noon when we stopped by the West Point Lighthouse as the sun shone brightly on the ocean, dropping sparkles. I am relaxed. I had been inspired by my journey to Victoria from Vancouver.

Author’s note: I haven’t posted in a while because many life goals had to be accomplished during the COVID 19 pandemic, and it felt almost inappropriate to write about traveling during a time when most people could not travel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s