Sunday, 2 June 2013

Oh look! it's Dora the Knitting Explorer

totem pole outside the Parliament Buildings
Yes....On our way from Tofino to Victoria we were driving through (well almost) Duncan.  Jean one of my dear knitting friends (yes, a close knit bunch) warned me about "The Loom"  a spinners' and knitters' haven.  The tiny shoppe absolutely stuffed to the ceiling and every nook and cranny with all types of wool, yarn and everything in between.  Yep!  I was warned.  The car took an automatic left hand turn, directly into a parking spot reserved just for us.  Even Bob knew we were in trouble.  Here we met Dora.
Dora is Dutch by decent.  She began teaching knitting at the Loom 40 odd years ago.  She was offered a job at the shoppe.  Dora said she would work only 2 days a week.  That was over 30 years ago.  I think she has knit every sample and swatch in the shoppe.  A lovely lady.  Under complete control, I browsed around (I needed more time, but we have a destination to arrive at and before midnight)  I came across a merino/silk sliver.  (a batt of roving)  A very large one indeed. Now, I just need to find room in the suitcase.  (should have thought of that before I purchased it)  And, of course, Bob picked the colour.  He is partial to blue!
Fisgard Lighthouse

After our diversion, we headed towards Victoria where the sun was shining. Here we will spend 2 days wandering around the most southern end of the Island and the capital of British Columbia.
The drive was enough for the day.  We needed a nap as playing tourist is very tiring.  We tried to resist sleep even though the temptation to go out on such a bright and sunny day,  (Unusual for May), but we were succumbed by the fluffy pillows and warm blankets. A quiet evening for both of us.  And, besides, the hockey game was on TV.

Did you know:  Southern Vancouver Island has the mildest climate in Canada.

Victoria was named Canada's fittest city by Statistics Canada in 2006. 

Victoria is known as "The City of Gardens"

Victoria has the 2nd highest number of restaurants per capita in North America.  San Francisco is # 1.

The Empress Hotel serves 750,000 cups of tea each year.

It is home to the world's tallest free standing totem pole, in Beacon Hill Park.

Our first order of the day:  Parliament Buildings.  We caught the 11:00 am tour.  And of course, I am taking photos of the stained glass windows.  As I lag behind the tour, I have 2 guards eyeing me.  Better Catch up,  and no, I don't look like a sly rebel plotting against the government.
Our guide

Next morning: Fort Rodd Victoria,  A coastal artillery fort built in the 1890's as a first line of defence  for the Esquimalt Naval Base.
Fort Rodd

 Time to catch the 12 o'clock Ferry from Sidney to Vancouver proper.  Perfect time for a realaxing lunch and watch the boats in contrast to the ocean waters with the Rocky Mountains in the back drop as we sailed the Strait of Georgia. 

Ferry ride through the Strait of Georgia
With many attempts, I Tried to take  photos on board and outside.  The boat was swaying from side to side as gale force winds blew me backwards, along with other photographers trying to catch that perfect shot. It was Comical watching the hair stand on end as everyone on deck was clinging to the rails and walls.

Once in Vancouver, we quickly toured Chinatown (Canada's largest) Gas town, and Grandville Island.  A full day....
 Our last dinner of our trip was at the Boathouse in Richmond.  A surreal experience, much like a "Buck Rogers" episode.  We had jet planes above us taking off and landing every few minutes, float planes in the distance, highway overpasses on one side and boats of all sizes in the marina on the other as we sat outside at sunset viewing all the activity.
Bob and I have eaten salmon almost every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner on our trip, as it is so tasty and fresh.  Steelhead, sockeye, blackened, poach, benedict and sliders. Vancouver's official fish.    All delicious!

Tomorrow we fly... 11:00am from Vancouver to Toronto, to Thunder Bay.  We arrive the next morning in the wee hours of the day. 

And one more comment:  I did make the statement that B.C. was home of the Inukshuk.  I was incorrect:  It is  home of the Totem Pole.  The home of the Inukshuk is Inuvik (home of people)Northwest Territories. Thank you Pam! (once a teacher, always a teacher,  hugs from Bob and myself)
Great trip!  Thank you to all the people we met on our travels.  Canada is such a welcoming and friendly place to play, dance and live.

Just thinking....6 months to ski season!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Botannicals of the west coast

Our last breakfast at Harvey House. 
Of all the places we have stayed, Chris and Nicky have spoiled us, made us welcome and feel at home.  They built this house 7 years ago (all local contractors and materials)  It has become a beautiful home with all their hard work,  nestled within tall cedars, redwoods on Chestermann's Beach.  Again, Thank you!

Chestermann's Beach, Tofino
Thank you Nicky and Chris


Our last day in Tofino before we head south to Victoria.  The Island is bigger than we thought.  Six hours to our next destination.  Mind you, there are NO straight roads. 

Winding, climbing and descending through lush forests (I will call the forests "Land of the Ewok") Mysteriously thick with green.

Old Man's Beard

We spent our last full day visiting the Botanical Gardens in Tofino.  Mysterious.....Hidden creatures among the trees, wood carvings, chickens manicuring the organic herbs.


We couldn't get enough of Cathedral Grove. So, back again. 
This time we hiked the south side.  Well worth the return trip.  Here we came upon the biggest Douglas fir in the park.  800 hundred years old, 9 meters in circumference and 76 meters high. (the Leaning tower of Pizza is 56 meters high) We are dwarfed by the majestic king of the forest.
Largest Douglas Fir

After lunch, we did the tourist trail around the town of Chemainus.  It is know for the beautiful murals painted on all the buildings throughout the town.  Funky and quaint at the same time.
The Japanese community of Chemainus consisted of 300 residents who settled in the valley from 1900 - 1942. Some were mill workers, fisherman and businessmen. 

Their homes were from Maple Street to Esplanade Street.  The Okada settlement was at the south end of the Bay.  In the summer of 1991 a reunion was held to welcome back the former residents; the Japanese Canadian Redress foundation and Communications Canada sponsored some of the murals.

The first recorded export of lumber from Chemainus was on September 25, 1863.  Hard labour was the order of the day as the Chinese bull gangs moved the timber on a 2 wheeled cart from the yard to the sailing vessel.

Chemainus is well worth a visit.  Small things come in great packages!

So, after a long travel day, we landed in Victoria.  Here we will stay a couple of days, as we are coming to the end of our travels to the West Coast of Canada.

An early nite.....we're getting tired.

Chemainus Harbour:  Logging Ship