Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cassia and I go to Victoria, BC

What has become a well beaten path for Cassia and I in the spring and fall - we headed over to Vancouver Island to stay with my mom and visit with my sister - Diana and her husband - David. 

Sit back and enjoy the visit - I took A LOT of pictures this trip! I was feeling a bit bad that I hadn't been  really showing our great province of BC to it's fullest! Our trip to Victoria was a chance to set that straight.

Last fall, Cassia and I drove from the cabin down through Vancouver, onto the ferry and into Victoria. We were going to repeat this adventure except that our truck is not doing so well these days and I didn't want to take the chance of breaking down with just the two of us. Instead, Derek's mom drove us to the ferry from Chilliwack where upon Cassia and I got on the ferry as foot passengers. Not a bad way to go and much cheaper without a vehicle. For me it was $15.75 and Cassia is still free.

A beautiful spring day for a sail.

As Cassia played I took this picture out the window - we are on a similar ferry. 

As we do each time, Cassia and I spend the 1 1/2 hour sailing time in the little play area for kids under 5.

The first thing we did when we boarded the ferry was to find the bus ticket stand. To make things easier I had decided that Cassia and I would take the Pacific Coach Bus to Victoria rather than public transit. With our bags to carry and Cassia to direct it was much easier to board the bus on the ferry with a quick 30 minute drive to Victoria. The bus stopped right in front of my mom's building - thankfully!

My mom and Cassia doing the dishes. Of course Oma is all smiles about having us to herself for an entire week. Especially since she hasn't seen us since last September.

Last year when I brought the truck I was also able to bring Cassia's stroller which we put to good use spending the day touring downtown Victoria. This year no such luck with the stroller - so I took an afternoon to myself to do the tour leaving Cassia to nap and spend time alone with her Oma. 

You may not know that Derek and I used to live on Vancouver Island - actually we met and married there - oh - a whole 10 years ago now. We lived further up the Island but I commuted to Victoria to work in several architecture firms as an Intern Architect from 2002 until we moved off the island in 2006. Although ultimately not really enjoying the firms I worked for, or the 2 hour plus commute each day, I did enjoy the downtown and window shopping during my lunch break. 

Victoria is a VERY pedestrian city and a very popular tourist destination. You should visit some time!

Here's a glimpse!

I was thinking that this is the old Eaton building but I can't find any info on it. Anyway, it is now a great example of revitalization and reuse of a building - it is now residential.

A new infill I spotted along the way - love it!

Victoria has a great Chinatown - here is the Chinese Gate.

Ahhhh - so miss seeing produce sold on the street. Open air farmers markets with locally grown produce - open year round - is certainly one of the things we miss about Vancouver Island.

Many of Victoria's streets are very colourful - this is one of the best examples.

I walked further through the city to reach the harbour. This is a view looking out of the bay.

A beautifully pained dolphin statue outside of the main visitor centre.

Another view of the harbour looking towards the Parliament Building. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia.

Of course - no tour of Victoria is complete without a picture of The Empress Hotel. What luck for me that a horse drawn buggy was going by just as I was lining up the shot.

A complete view. The Hotel dates back to 1908 and still serves a classic Victorian afternoon tea in the Tea Lobby. It must be some tea for $60 per person. 

On the Hotel grounds stands this huge Arbutus Tree -  only found in BC on the Island and a small area on the west coast around Vancouver.

During my tours of downtown Victoria, certain stores are a MUST STOP AND SHOP. But not this year! I am proud to say that I finally realized that I did not need to purchase from these stores this trip. It was tough but I did it. I have a real soft spot for soaps and essential oil items and so places like Escents and Lush are my top favourites. I did wander through the Silk Road Teas but didn't make a purchase there either - I couldn't exactly justify a splurge since I knew I still had tea from there from last years trip.

I knew that if I went into Lush I'd be a gonner - so I just walked on by - but took a picture first.

I worked in an office on this street for 3 1/2 years - the top floor of the white building center right.

LOVE Trounce Alley - with a very European flair.

Ahhh - the benefits of the city - nope - just took a picture!

Bastion Square - one of my favourite places to sit for lunch.

As I stood and took this picture I recalled the time Derek and I spent the weekend here selling our ornamental grasses - our business at the time - at the Victoria Plant Sale. It was a cold couple of days but we enjoyed it none the less.

On the edge of the downtown is the great store - Capital Iron - also one of my favourites - although a little more mainstream these days it used to offer more quirky items.

So happy to be surrounded by all the blossoms!

One of the things I love about downtown Victoria - and one of the reasons it is as great as it is - is that there are quite a few urban residential buildings. LOVE this main entrance.

This is one of my favourite residential - live work - projects close to Chinatown. 

With neat little courtyards.

Looking towards downtown from my mom's buildings roof top deck.

Dinner with the family - Diana - mom - David and of course sweet Cassia.

Me and my girl!

Me and my sis!

I final picture with Cassia and my mom. Cassia's yellow hand knitted sweater was a gift from Rietje, my mom's childhood friend back in Holland.

Of course our seven day stay just flew by and soon Cassia and I were heading back to the ferry. For the return trip I opted for the transit bus that also stopped just outside of my mom's building. Much cheaper at $2.50 instead of the $15 for the Pacific Coach ride on the way in. 

A view of the ferry out the window while we were waiting to board.

Following another visit to the play area aboard the ferry, Cassia and I were met by her other Grandma on the other side who took us back to her place for the night and then up to the cabin the next day. 

Derek was sure happy to see his girls return safely!

See you in the fall again - Oma, Diana and David - and Victoria!

Victoria - nice eh? You should go.

Hey! We passed over the 20,000 visit mark to our blog today! Very exciting for Derek and I - so THANKS to all of our faithful followers - those that have been with us from the start and all of you that have just found us!


Today's Interesting Link: Ok - so I KNOW this link is certainly off topic. However, it is an important issue that I would like to ensure gets out. Derek and I are of course dealing with this issue at the moment. I have been a bit nervous because of Cassia's lack of interest in our interest in potty training. I was so happy to read this article that popped up on facebook the other day. Here is the link to   the article Don't potty train your Baby. Perhaps there are parents in your life that you can forward it to.


  1. Thanks for the tour of Victoria, have not been there for 37 years now , hopefully again in a year or two.

  2. Great pics!! Never been up there, maybe someday.....

    1. I hope you can Blacksheep! Try this summer or next and you can come visit us at our Park!

  3. What a great post, Teresa !! Teresa and I LOVE Vancouver Island, and Victoria is one of our favourites.

    We were both smiling ear to ear, reading your entry today. Your Mom and Sis must have been in heaven to have you for a whole week.

    Congrats on the 20,000 milestone for your blog, you deserve even more than that !!

    Take care ... TnT

    1. Thanks TnT! I'm glad you guys have been there! The Island sure is great .... in the summer! We never could get used to all the moisture and grey skies in the winter months. Still - many things we miss about it.


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