Victoria Journals

Adventures in Lotusland: Victoria

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A May 2007 trip to Victoria by moatway

The British Columbia Legislature Photo, Victoria, British Columbia More Photos
Quote: Victoria has managed to maintain its small-town provincial feel despite the fact that it has drawn so many to share its blessings.

Adventures in Lotusland: Victoria

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Overview

The British Columbia Legislature Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
Victoria is a typical small port…its centre-city is focused around the waterfront. That does not mean, however, that you’ll be able to walk to all the places that you’ll really want to see. While one highlight of Victoria is the inner-harbour itself, you’ll need some kind of transportation to get to Craigdarroch Castle, the magnificent 1890 mansion built for Robert Dunsmuir and definitely a Victoria highlight. The other "must-see" is Butchart Gardens and they are closer to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay than they are to the city proper. You might even consider seeing them on your way in from the ferry on route 17; the turn-off is clearly marked. The last "must-see" would be the Roya...Read More

Harbour Towers Hotel And Suites

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Hotel

Harbour Towers Hotel And Suites Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
With a location close to ideal for a visit to Victoria, the Harbour Towers turned out to be an excellent choice. It’s a block back from the inner harbour and in a five-minute walk you can visit the Wax Museum, the Undersea Gardens, the Parliament Buildings, and the Royal British Columbia Museum; and although it has its own restaurant (Impression), there are a number of other restaurants nearby. If you want to walk 10 to 15 minutes, you can access much of downtown Victoria. It’s actually in an area with a lot of hotels, so why this one? We were looking for a non-smoking two bedroom suite and your options in Victoria in a reasonable price range are fairly limited. There is this hotel and the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Harbour Towers Hotel And Suites
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8V1W4
(250) 385-2405

Ric's Grill

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Restaurant

Quote:
There are a number of Ric’s Grills in Western Canada, and they tend to get good reviews (according to the write-ups provided to the customers). This establishment, in a second floor location on one of Victoria’s most interesting streets, is a feast for the eye. It’s an extremely stylish room done in dark browns from the attractive wood tables to the fabrics in the booths to the walls. The latter are hung with a display of smart, attractive abstracts in which the reds dominated. Add some stained glass, marble tile and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street and it’s all good. The lighting is subdued with small fixtures hanging above the tables. The décor is 10/10. The service was also a 10...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Ric's Grill
910 Government Street
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 381-7427

Swans Brewpub

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Attraction | "Swan's Brewpub"

Swans Brewpub Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
Brilliant! A brew pub located in the ground floor of a building that was originally a feed and grain warehouse (1913). It was converted into a boutique hotel/ bistro/ brewpub and Buckersfield Brewery in 1988. Its award-winning brewery offerings have made it the best micro-brewery in B.C. and in the country at various times over the years. We would try the Arctic Ale (a light Canadian lager), the Raspberry Ale and the Bitter, and we cannot argue with the brewery’s excellence (Pint $6). The pub offers breakfast; the menu for the rest of the day includes soups and salads (to $10), snacks and food to share (avg. $8), pub fare (about $10), burgers, sandwiches, and wraps (about $11) and entrées of salm...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Swans Brewpub
506 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1N6
(800) 668-7926

Miniature World

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Attraction

Miniature World Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
You know, sometimes you walk into a place and you think, "tourist trap"? It wasn’t; in fact, it was charming. The attention to detail, the skill and the imagination kept assaulting us. It wasn’t just that the dioramas in miniature existed, it is admiration for the modellers who created them. And, of course, it’s fun. Upon entry, there are a number of war scenes…Canadians taking Caen in 1944, the Battle of Saratoga (1777) and the Battle of Bull Run…but then the really interesting displays begin. Follow the Great Canadian Railway on its journey from Vancouver in 1885 through the Rockies, past the scene of the driving of the last spike and on to the Red River and soldiers marching against Louis Riel...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Miniature World
649 Humboldt Street
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 385-9731

Maritime Museum of British Columbia

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Attraction

Maritime Museum of British Columbia Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
The Maritime Museum is particularly noticeable for the building in which it is housed. A handsome, Italianate design; it was once the Provincial Courthouse (1887) and while the building is attractive, it has an operating birdcage elevator (1889) and on the third floor, the Court of Vice Admiralty has been lovingly restored. But, I’m ahead of myself, so back to the first floor. Your wander through this museum begins with a discussion of the native use of the sea and then the coming of the Europeans. In 1789, we find that the Spanish Viceroy established a fort at Nootka to stop incursions of Russians, Britons, and Americans… it resulted in agreements to share the west. Russia would claim rig...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Maritime Museum of British Columbia
28 Bastion Square
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1H9
(250) 382-2869

Butchart Gardens

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Attraction

Butchart Gardens Photo, Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Quote:
When Jennie Butchart decided to turn her husband’s limestone quarry into a garden, she had a few things on her side. Obviously, she had money, but she was also able to borrow workers and equipment from the cement plant, the tall chimney of which still rises just beyond the garden. In answer to the question of whether or not a garden admission could possibly be worth $23 (2007)… yes, don’t miss it. It is the one thing that you must see in Victoria. Our mid-May visit saw a profusion of tulips in every colour imaginable set in the midst of a number of other varieties of annuals and perennials. Near the beginning of the visit, we made our way into the sunken garden, and it is, indeed, sunken…in...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Ave
Brentwood Bay, British Columbia V8M 1J8
(250) 652-4422

Parliament Buildings

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Attraction

Parliament Buildings Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
Victoria’s inner harbour is actually dominated by the Empress Hotel which is at the head of the harbour. The Parliament is huge and occupies much more spacious grounds, but it seems to play second fiddle. A visit won’t take long because not much is open to the public. You can poke about the building on your own, but I have to recommend the free tour (every half hour). We started the tour at the building entrance and moved around the building to a side entrance to move to the atrium under the impressive rotunda. There, you’re surrounded by the provincial crest and large murals depicting major events in British Columbia history. We see Vancouver and Quadra defining the Spanish-British boundary, the arri...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Parliament Buildings
501 Belleville Street
Victoria, British Columbia

Royal British Columbia Museum

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Attraction

Royal British Columbia Museum Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
The Royal B.C. Museum is a massive building next door to the British Columbia Parliament Building overlooking Victoria Harbour. Its modern exterior is in sharp contrast with the rambling classical legislature on one side and the clan house and totems on its grounds on the other side. There are two permanent collections in the B.C. Museum: the second floor is devoted to natural history; the third floor has an excellent indigenous peoples display and a modern history gallery. The natural history section starts with a little intensity, a lot of information, first on pre-history and then on climate change. (Sorry, when I’m in tourist mode, it’s hard to turn on my let’s-learn-about-science mode.) From...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Royal British Columbia Museum
606 Douglas Blvd.
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 356-7226

Royal British Columbia Museum

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Attraction | "Royal B.C. Museum Titanic Exhibit"

Quote:
My name is Masabumi Hosono, 42, a Japanese passenger travelling in second class. At least that is what my boarding pass indicates, and I will find out whether or not I survive the sinking at the end of the exhibit space. We have just seen "Titanica" in the museum’s IMAX theatre space and it has given us a vision of the wreck of a once-great-ship now on the frigid ocean floor. In 45 minutes, it tells the story of the search for the Titanic by an international crew in a Russian research vessel. There is a bit of drama and it is a suitable companion for the exhibit, but it doesn‘t come close to the power of the exhibit itself. The journey through the exhibit space takes us through design to the ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 8, 2007

Royal British Columbia Museum
606 Douglas Blvd.
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 356-7226