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

February 11, 2007

Victoria - Olde and New

I've been collecting old postcards of places I've lived and/or visited since Junior High, maybe even earlier. I always make it a point to check out the postcards at antique shows and shops. Last weekend, I went to the antique show in Puyallup and for the first time, I found old linen postcards of Victoria, British Columbia. I am absolutely in love with Victoria; I almost feel about it as I do San Francisco and in fact, the 2 cities are very similar, except in Victoria, it's got a much more British flair.

One of the city's best known places is the Empress Hotel. I was shocked to see this postcard because the Empress is about twice this size now. This particular postcard came from someone's personal collection because the author dated it "October 28, 1910". I shot this picture of the Empress Hotel in 2004. It wasn't until I saw the above postcard that I noticed the difference in the roof colour, showing the original old part. The Empress is an absolute wonder!!! They serve high tea each day at 4:00, although I've never been because I just don't travel with dressier clothes, and there is a dress code for high tea. I have walked through the Empress and it's gorgeous.

Here's an old postcard of the British Columbia Legislative Buildings, aka Parliament. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. Here is the part that confuses people: Vancouver is on the mainland of BC, and a lot of people make the mistake thinking that Vancouver is the capital. Victoria is located on Vancouver Island, accessable by ferry from Washington State and mainland BC (and just to confuse people even more, there's also a Vancouver, Washington, which is in the southern part of the state, across the river from Portland, Oregon).
Judging from the cars parked along the street, I'd have to guess this postcard dates to the 1920's or early 1930's.
I can sit and look at both the Empress and Parliament all day. I can't stop shooting photos of them, even though I have tons. It's gotten to be a joke - before I leave for my annual trip to Victoria each year, Brian says, "And try not to come home with 20 rolls of pictures of the Empress and Parliament..."
I wish the sky was darker in this picture, but overall I was pretty pleased with the photos I shot of Parliament at night, considering I was standing as still as possible w/ the shutter open.

I can't tell what year this postcard could be from, but the Empress has already been expanded and there's ivy on the front. But Inner Harbour is still undeveloped. Now there's a bunch of boat slips and piers, and a waterfront walkway where artists and musicians set up in the summer.

Here's a great shot of undeveloped Inner Harbour and Parliament. The ferries still come into Inner Harbour where that large boat is, on the right.

This is Inner Harbour today. That building with the columns is a museum, and the hotels have built up around it.


  1. JoJo, as a Canadian it is nice to receive your praises and amazing knowledge of our country. the pictures are super. I think that our BC Government should hire you on at our tourist bureau. Can you fit that in ?? Cheers Don W.

  2. Don - I would LOVE to work for the tourist bureau!!! I absolutely love Canada and have made an effort to learn about it.

  3. Oh how lovely! And what a great find. You obviously know your way around the antique shops:)

    i luv the one of parlament at night. that's beautiful.

  4. I bet you could take high tea at the hotel - at the Savoy in London (about as posh as you can get) the only rule used to be, men must wear jackets, not even ties, I don't think there were any rules for women. Of course, I haven't been there for 30 years, but surely it couldn't have got stricter?

  5. The Empress requires appropriate attire - no jeans and sneakers or shorts and tshirts. I could probably get away with nice slacks, a blouse and shoes, but I don't own any!!!

  6. You're certainly selling the place to me... it looks absolutely wonderful.

  7. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Beautiful photos as always...