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Scarborough, England, United Kingdom
August 28, 2011
From journal Victoria...a home away from home
Brooklyn, New York
November 29, 2001
The building was designed by Francis Rattenbury, the same man who designed The Empress Hotel, the back entrance to which is on the other side of the street next to the bus station. It opened in 1925 as a saltwater swimming pool and glamourous night spot, a glass and metal version of a Roman spa. Over time the salt water caused the deterioration of the support beams. The pool was closed and for a long time the building was deamed unsafe.
Today it has been rehabilitated as a conservatory for tropical plants and animals many of which are on the endangered species list. The former deep end of the pool is now a waterfall that cascades into jungle accented by flowering orchids. There are some signs, but most of the plants are so entwined that it is difficult to see where one ends and another begins. Therefore it is impossible to tell which plant the signs refer to.
The animal population is also fascinating. There are macaws, coral flamingos, and other less recognizable birds flying freely under the four-story high glass roof. There is also a small zoo with cages where diminutive 4" monkeys delight adults and children with their playful antics.
On the upper level a corner has been walled off and double doored entry halls have been installed to create a butterfly room. Inside the there is a colorful flower garden that contrasts with the flying inhabitants of this space. Tiny bright green wings flitted across the tops of the blossems, big winged multi-colored butterflies strolled on the ceiling, a butter-yellow landed on my wrist and tickled me.
Although it is no longer a nightspot for flappers and their beaus, people rent the building for private catered events in the evenings. The day I was there tables and chairs were being set up. It was not hard to imagine that I had traveled back in time.
From journal Victoria City of Simple Pleasures
Victoria, BC Canada, United Kingdom
August 9, 2000
From journal Victoria, a little piece of england?
New York, New York
April 16, 2002
This wonderful glass hall was built by who else but the famous architect of Victoria, Francis Mawson Rattenbury. When it was first opened in 1925, it boasted the largest saltwater swimming pool in the British Empire. Now, there are also a restaurant and shopping area with interesting shops selling maple syrup to handcrafted souvenirs. More often than not, there are wedding parties and other elaborate events held.
Like the rest of Victoria’s main attractions, Crystal Garden is conveniently located across from the Royal British Columbia Museum and behind the Empress Hotel. I think this is a wonderful stop after the Empress Hotel, and especially welcoming on a less than beautiful weather day.
Check out their website at:
www.bcpcc.com/crystal or call (250) 381-1213 for more information.
From journal Beautiful Victoria
March 25, 2004
It is a neat place to see, but I wish it was bigger. The cages seems almost cruelly small, with nowhere for the animals to hide from people. Also, the world's tiniest monkeys were a bit of a letdown . . . they live in tiny glass enclosures with almost no cover or toys to play with. I would recommend a visit if you need something to do, otherwise save your money. This is not a reason to go to Victoria.
From journal Victoria is for Lovers!