My last visit to Canada was over 5 years ago and at that time I found it very difficult to leave. I had so many close friends and very fond memories. I wanted to go back.
The majority of my time was spent in Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is a quaint city surrounded by copious amounts of greenery, dark green ocean and looks directly across from the Olympic mountains in Washington, USA.
The empress is the feather in Victoria's cap
Victoria is quite beautiful with its sensational sea views mixed in with traditional style architecture. I have to admit the 'feeling' of the city was one of warmth and happiness. Coffee shops abound and the different pockets of the city offer many nuggets of intrigue and interest. The beauty of it all is that is very pedestrian friendly.
Orcas are quite common in the waters and tributes to them are present throughout the city
The legislature with first nations totem
Elegant to say the least
The inner harbour downtown has a great strip where artisans sell handicrafts, buskers sing, smells waft and artists paint, all this against the backdrop of the Empress hotel as well as the legislature building and the BC museum.
Travelling around you will see that Victoria has a character that is simple yet colourful. In China town there is the narrowest street in Canada, known as Fan Tan alley. At 0.9 meters at its narrowest point it is cosy! Its history is associated with illicit practices such as gambling and opium markets.
Fan Tan alley
Interesting and quirky at the same time.
Walking around and just taking in the place is one of my favourite things to do in Victoria. The art scene is quite active in Victoria and the culture is very relaxed.
Downtown art work
Little jewels abound in the back streets
Although Victoria is a wonderful sea side city, British Columbia is well known for its natural beauty. I had the opportunity to head up island for a couple of days and marvel at the old growth forest in this province. It was quite a change from the deserts of the UAE!
Keeping an eye out
Dawn in the Walbran Valley
Funky spider in the forest
A day at the beach in Parksville Resort, one our haunts on the island
Ready for consumption
I had forgotten how much natural beauty British Columbia had to offer. I strongly suggest anyone going there to take the time to get out of the city and really interact with the natural wonders there. Given, there are dangers present such as black bears and cougars so caution should be taken, but the likelihood of any encounters with these animals is unlikely.
Hummingbirds were plentiful
The BC coast, French Beach
Natural gems everywhere
The most purple sea stars that I have ever seen
Right place at the right time
Typical BC sunset
My first garter snake
My return visit to Vancouver island was not disappointing at all and I look forward to returning soon.
A beautiful place with friendly people and good coffee. Sounds like a big thumbs up from me.