Capital of British Columbia


September 3rd, 1998

   Map name   Continuing our circumnavigation of the Olympic Peninsula, we spent several nights in Crescent Beach. On the second day, we wandered back along the famous Highway 101 to Port Angeles, Washington. Our intention was to make a day trip to the old world city of Victoria. We considered the time we would have to sightsee and the cost of the ferry ride. We found the best buy in an organized tour of the City through the Royal Victoria Tours which included a roundtrip ferry ride, a drive through historic downtown Victoria, the campus of the University of Victoria as well as the exclusiveVancouver-112 residential areas of Marine Drive and Beacon Hill Park. It also included a drive up to Mount Tolmie which offered a breathtaking view of Victoria, the Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands. Although somewhat expensive, we found it very worthwhile. After a short ride across the Straight, we sailed into Victoria harbor. James Douglas of the Hudson Bay Co. first discovered Vancouver Island. Fort Victoria was established in 1842 and named after England's Queen Victoria. The waterfront is like a scene out of Hans Christian Anderson. The stately buildings, which have    Vancouver-105   existed for years, were surrounded by an array of flowers and plants. Small sailing boats and re-created frigates bobbed gently in the water along the cement boardwalk that lay at the bottom of the seawall. Musicians and spray can painters applied their talents, creating a cacophony which mixed with the sound of traffic from above. On the landing leading to Wharf St. stood a lonely piper, playing the old tunes from Scotland. The scene from the top of the stairs takes    Vancouver-102   several minutes to comprehend. Across the street is the landmark Empress Hotel, stretching almost a whole city block. A 20 ft. sidewalk spreads from the seawall to four lane Wharf Street. Everywhere there are people of all nationalities jabbering in a multitude of languages. To the right, along Government St. are the prestigious buildings that make up the Parliament. Diagonally leading down Belleville St. stands the World-renowned    Vancouver-107   Royal British Columbia Museum ( It is safe to say that our time downtown was a case of priorities. I doubt that we could have seen all that there was to see in a week, much less the two hours allotted on the tour. We couldn’t resist a walk through the magnificent Empress Hotel and peruse the menus of the restaurants. We found out that "High Tea" cost around $35 US dollars.    Vancouver-100   We decided we weren’t that thirsty so we then continued on to one of my reasons for making the trip. The Royal British Columbia Museum which was built in 1886. It is world renowned for its displays on the history of the North West. Both animals and people. It has the best selection of totem polls and tribal masks assembled anywhere. Through three unique galleries, the museum showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia. There are highly realistic and inviting displays, such as the Ice Age and Coastal Forest dioramas. One could spend many hours here without repeating what you have seen.


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