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 arrival of Sir James Douglas of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1852, and the building of Fort Victoria in 1853.
At that point, we were interrupted by Amor de Cosmos (played by an actor, of course). He had been lured to the California gold fields from his home in Windsor, Nova Scotia and it was there that he had his name changed from the more prosaic William Alexander Smith to Amor de Cosmos. Arriving in Victoria in 1858, he started a newsletter in which he was highly critical of Douglas (How could Douglas be the premier and the head of the HBC at the same time? Conflict of interest.) and his cohort, the "Hanging Judge", Begbie.
Amor de Cosmos would sit in the legislature and push to have British Columbia made a part of Confederation (1871) long before either Saskatchewan or Alberta. One of British Columbia’s most colourful figures, he was a true eccentric. Actually, perhaps a little too eccentric; he was declared insane two years before his death in 1897.
The rest of the visit was somewhat less exciting…a look at the stained glass windows celebrating Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee and Victoria’s 60 years. The Legislative Assembly was in session, so only the galleries were open, and the security is intense enough that I was not inclined to go in. So the visit was somewhat limited, but of course, the actor made a piece of British Columbia history come to life.