Spot the difference…..well, OK, my brother is in the first photo and Jean Robert in the other, but the main contrast is the time of year. The first photo was taken May 2013, while the other November 2011. Victoria, BC’s capital city, is a truly lovely place to be in sunny weather, with it’s stunning ocean-side location and pretty architecture. In November, it was so quiet, grey and felt somewhat restrained. We don’t usually return to places much (so much to see and do after all!) so it was interesting to return to Victoria.
We actually came back to the city twice in May with each of our respective families, and there was a difference just between those two visits. We visited first before Victoria Day and then shortly after; this holiday is the non-official start of the summer, and you could really tell, what with the faux-Victorian tour guides (complete with faux old English accents!) stalking tourists around the Empress Hotel/Legislative Assembly area. Tour guides aside, the pub ‘n’ patio culture in Victoria is great, we definitely missed out on this back in November!
We went into the Legislative Assembly this time, and I was surprised at how beautiful the building is. It’s such an impressive looking building, very grand, especially for it’s time. I’m still amazed how you can just walk into a government building here; you can’t even get particularly close to the House of the Commons in the UK! By the way, the statue above is Captain Vancouver, and stands right on the top of the Assembly building.
Canada is sometimes accused of not having much history of culture, but Victoria disproves that. The most obvious examples are the Empress and the Assembly buildings, but there is also Chinatown, the oldest in Canada (2nd to San Francisco in North America). Although it is now much smaller, it is a buzzing area, with well preserved buildings and features, such as Fan Tan Alley, Canada’s narrowest commercial street.
I’ve decided that I like a bit of deja vu sometimes!