Victoria Stories and Tips

Traveling West in Style

My cousin's house, Victoria Photo, Victoria, British Columbia

I had a huge amount of air miles so for my second visit to Canada's west coast, i decided to book Business Class. That gave me access to the Maple Leaf lounges in various airports in Canada and very cushy seats on board! I left on October 31.

How much *fun* is it to travel on Halloween! I got to the airport by 7:30 a.m. for a 9 o’clock flight and spent a quiet half hour in the Maple Leaf lounge. At the gate waiting to board, I saw a woman in a chicken outfit, complete with yellow tail and orange legs/webbed feet! The first flight attendant on the plane that morning had bright sparkly sunglasses and the other one had big green "Mr. Spock/alien" ears! Everyone got on the plane with a smile!

On the flight out of Toronto, the attendants had bright orange hats on, one pointy like a witch’s hat and one like a felt pumpkin. Lindor chocolates wrapped in orange pumpkin paper were distributed as well. While waiting in the Victoria airport, I saw a tall person dressed in a long cloak and rubber alien mask, and another man in a business suit hurrying through the airport, sporting a long bright pink wig under a fedora!

Anyway, all the flights were fine. I was tickled to see Niagara Falls from the air as we prepared to land in Toronto, that was the closest I'd been to them! The Prairies were covered with a blanket of snow from Manitoba right across to the Rocky mountains which were pretty neat to fly over as well. Vancouver had quite a bit of smog as well which really took me by surprise but apparently it does have smog which nestles against the mountains in the Fraser Valley. The flight to Victoria only lasted 10 minutes, blissfully short after sitting in airplanes all day.

I’m staying with my aunt and uncle who live in a flat in their son’s house in Victoria. My cousin was busy carving pumpkins with his two kids and they were excited to be going out in costume. We had a light supper and an early night because even though it was fairly early by west coast time, I was still running four hours later.

November 1, 2003

It’s unusually cold apparently. Low single digits, overcast and a bit rainy. Feels just like November in NS! We spent the afternoon at a town just outside of Victoria, Sidney By The Sea. Sidney is where the Victoria airport is and also where the ferry to Vancouver and Seattle docks. There are lots of little shops and restaurants in the town center. Our main goal was a fish restaurant that had been getting good reviews from locals. It’s called Fish on Fifth, being on Fifth street. It’s a little blue wooden building with a patio on the front and on the back though of course, too cold to sit outside today! The walls inside are painted a bright periwinkle purpley blue and there are prints all over the walls of fish and mermaids as well as fish outlines stenciled on the ceiling. They have lovely fresh seafood as well as other items. My fish and chips were very good though my aunt’s curry chicken on a bun wasn’t quite as satisfactory. They also make French fries out of sweet potatoes and they’re very good!

Sidney has waterfront condos and nice houses, quite a prosperous town. The main street is Beacon Street and there are a few benches with sculptures of people sitting on the benches! Sidney is well known for book shops, especially for used and antique books. I spied a few pottery shops as well which I always enjoy.

My favourite store was the Haunted Bookshop, on 3rd street. It’s Vancouver island’s oldest antiquarian bookshop and I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of there "alive" lol! It was very well organized, with lots of wooden bookshelves and lots of old books, hardback and paperback. I found some interesting old travel guides to London, one from 1941 and one from the 1950s and I bought a two volume set of Peyps’ diaries from the early 20th century. The owner is also very well versed in British History among, I suspect, many other things. We had an interesting chat about that. The name of the store refers to a passage referring to the ghosts of authors passed and past in an old book called the Haunted Bookshop. Someone get me out of here before I spend all my money! Sidney has a lot of bookshops, new and used and we got some books for my cousin’s kids in the Children’s Bookstore as well, on Beacon Avenue, the main "high" street.

We browsed antique shops, a travel shop, a very funky apparel and accessory shop found on a side street, more book shops, and finally, when the rain had started to fall a little, we decided to call it an afternoon. My aunt and I were too full from lunch to bother with supper and later, we and my cousin’s wife went to see a movie.

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