Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

August 5, 2007

Victoria Day: Thursday, 7/25/07

After my big day on Wednesday, I let myself sleep in a little later on Thursday morning. I was planning to spend the entire day in downtown Vic, so I parked my car in the "parkade" (they don't call them parking garages in Canada) on Broughton Street - centrally located so that I could drop off my parcels as the day went on and then go back out again.

My first stop on Thursday morning was the Victoria Harbour Ferry tour. I'd been wanting to do this for years but never had the time. So I paid for the combo Harbour & Gorge tour, each lasting 45 minutes. I boarded one of these adorable tour boats with a family of 3, who were from Sacramento. I felt really bad for the woman though, because we hit several boat and float plane wakes so we were rocking from side to side quite a bit, and she kept having to get up to spit out the window. It didn't appear that she was seasick, but, obviously embarassed, she was apologizing profusely to me. I felt so bad for her discomfort so I offered her a mint sucking candy which she gratefully took. They had to disembark at one of the stops so that her stomach could settle down. Some of my pics have the glass reflection, which I couldn't help because there were only 3 open-air windows, and the family from Sacto was sitting on that end of the boat so that she could get the benefit of the fresh air. The flowers spell out "Welcome to Victoria". Artists set up along the promenade below the flower sign and sell their wares. There are musicians, and people that stand still like a statue till you pitch a "Looney" or a "Toonie" ($1 and $2 coins, respectively) into the kitty, then they'll do robot-like moves and change position.

This is the Johnson Street Bridge, or as Victorians call it, "The Blue Bridge". It's a drawbridge an the big cement counterweights lift the bridge when a tall boat needs to travel underneath. In all the times I've been in Victoria, I've never seen it open. The thing that surprised me a lot is that the tour boat driver said that Joseph Strauss designed this bridge....Mr. Strauss' other claim to fame is his design of that beautiful bridge we know as The Golden Gate Bridge.

These are some of the delux "float homes" built on the Esquimalt side of the Harbour. The steel pilings keep them from moving around too much in a storm. Aren't they beautiful? One of the houses had a cute sign that said "H2-ome".

After we cruised around and crossed the main shipping channel, we went over to the funky float home area called "Fisherman's Wharf", which is a lot different than the one in SF. Over here are the more artsy homes, which I liked better because they were more colourful and fun.

This is a popular stop for people at lunchtime because you can get off the Harbour Ferry and have fish-n-chips at one of the stands, then get back on the ferry later on when one comes by. I liked this sign, "Grilligans, Where Buoy Meets Grill". Cute play on words, no?

After we left Fisherman's Wharf, our ferry driver decided it'd be cute to try and race the Coho into the harbour. It was coming in behind us at an alarming rate of speed, blowing it's horn.....I was laughing so hard because I'm sure the Coho Captain is used to the harbour ferry drivers playing chicken with them. Our driver said, "well, I guess I should let him have the right of way, eh?" and we moved off to the side, where I was able to shoot the Coho from water level. The opening is where the cars will disembark once in to port. But of course, being the silly tourist that I am, I had to wave enthusiastically to the people on the Coho looking down and laughing at our little putt-putt ferry chugging along merrily beside this massive ship.

L'Oreal - I took this one just for you. You might have mentioned that you had your very own delux hotel in Victoria! lol

My next venture after the harbour tour was the Gorge Tour. This time we crossed under the Johnson Street Bridge, up past the industrial area and into the gorge which was very pretty with lovely homes on the water, private docks and boats. There was no shortage of birds to watch, including huge herons.

This photo is of the least expensive float home in all of Victoria. Apparently one of the industrious local homeless people cobbled this together from discarded gas pipes and other flotsam and jetsam that washed ashore. When he goes in for the night, he erects the tent on top. He uses the top of one of those "Yakima" car carriers as a canoe to get from shore to the float home. He spends his days fishing or panhandling downtown.
My water tours ended at 11, so I stopped at Sam's Deli for a tuna sandwich on wheat. I'd read a lot about Sam's Deli, that their sandwiches are fresh-as-can-be and delicious. They were right. After lunch I started walking around and shopping at my fave stores. I apologize for the lack of photos of downtown. I've been to Victoria so many times now that I have had to force myself to stop shooting pictures of things I've shot on past trips - like the Empress, Chinatown, Market Square, Fan Tan Alley, Parliament, Trounce Alley, etc.

But I did luck out when I was on Wharf Street, and heard sirens going off. When I looked toward the sounds, I finally saw the Johnson Street Bridge lifting to let that sailboat pass under. There are 2 sides of the bridge that need to lift - the train tracks side and the vehicle/pedestrian side. I have several shots of the bridge in black & white in various lift positions. I'll blog them later on.

This is the most amazing Christmas decorations store I've ever seen. 3 stories of nothing but decorations from all over the world. Because we have run out of room to store decorations, I have had to exert willpower to keep from going in this shop because I know I'll come out with stuff we don't need and for which we have no room. Still, the Santa on top is cute.

This pretty scene was in an alley off Johnson Street, across from Market Square.

Johnson Street is just one of the many reasons that Victoria reminds me of San Francisco.

I shopped till I dropped this day. I visited my fave store in Trounce Alley and got some a beaded basket and beaded amulet bag, both made in Nepal, and a beaded card by a local First Nations artist. I collect her beaded cards and buy one each time I visit the city. I got some souvenirs at my fave souvenir shop, Nootka Traders, including a t-shirt designed by a Vancouver First Nations artist. It's called "Wolf Moon" and is in the style of the Pacific NW Indian art. Do you know how hard it is to find a t-shirt actually designed by a local artist and made in Canada?! I also visited Woofles: A Doggy Diner in Market Square to pick up homemade doggie treats for the furkids. They love their Woofles!!! I did not venture into Chinatown & Fan Tan Alley this time, preferring to stay around the waterfront.


  1. Those float homes are beautiful. They are a bit like SF's Painted Ladies,a ren't they? Couldn't live in one though!

  2. Anonymous9:48 PM


    OMG. All I can say is Beautiful!!