PROVENANCE WEB MAGAZINE Spring - Summer 1997, Vol.2 No.2

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Day and Overnight Trips - CONTINUED

Victoria

By Teresa Murphy

Victoria was established as a fort by the Hudson's Bay Company and named Fort Victoria in 1843 after England's Queen. It is the capital city of British Columbia. It has an international reputation for being more English than England, from the cozy James Bay cottages, to replica castles, and for its magnificent gardens which bloom year round in the balmy climate, which averages almost 2200 hours of sunshine each year.

Although the population is just 300,000, comprising mainly government employees, students and retirees - hence the nickname "God's waiting room" - the city is surprisingly sophisticated, and has infinite offerings for tourists.

Getting to Victoria

Black Ball Ferry makes daily trips between Port Angeles and Victoria. Washington State Ferry 250-381-1551 makes daily trips between Anacortes, Washington and Victoria. The Victoria RIA clipper 250-382-8100 sails daily between Seattle and Victoria. BC Ferries sail from Tsawwassen ever two hours on the odd hour. 604-669-1211.

Attractions

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

This full-sized replica of Anne Hathaway's thatched cottage can be found in an English village typical of Shakespeare's time. Don't miss the antique filled Olde England Inn which serves daily afternoon tea. 429 Lampson St. 388-4353.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

On the way to Craigdarroch Castle, the Gallery features an extensive collection of Asian and Canadian Art. 1040 Moss Street.

Bastion Square

Bastion Square, the original site of Fort Victoria, is now the site of the Maritime Museum. Corner of Wharf and View Streets.

Beacon Hill Park

Offers serenity at the edge of the City in James Bay. Here you'll find one of the world's tallest totem poles, a rose garden, gardens that bloom year round, a wildlife sanctuary at Goodacre Lake, and much more. Dallas Road, James Bay.

Butchart Gardens

Internationally renowned 50 acre gardens, originally begun in 1904 by Jennie Butchart, overlooking Tod Inlet on the Saanich Peninsula. Afternoon tea served. 13 miles from downtown Victoria at 800 Benvento Ave., Brentwood Bay. 652-4422.

The Carr House

The birthplace of one of Canada's most famous artists - Emily Carr. The historic site dates back to 1860s. 207 Government Street. 383-5343.

Craigdarroch Castle

Castel

Built by Robert Dunsmuir for his wife Joan, in 1887, this wonderful small castle offers guided tours by knowledgeable staff (Jean is the best) through slightly faded elegance. There's a good gift shop. Just a 20 minute brisk walk or a short bus ride from downtown. 1050 Joan Crescent. 592-5323.



The Empress Hotel Lobby

Empress Hotel

After an extensive restoration, the Empress is again one of the grandest hotels in Canada. The sheer immensity of the rooms coupled with its hardwood floors, oriental rugs, and chateaux style architecture, make this worth a visit. Make sure to see the mirrored ballroom. Tea is served in the lobby. Children and collectors alike will enjoy Miniature World, located in the lobby. 721 Government Street. 250-384-8111.

Parliament Buildings

B.C. Legislative Buildings at nite

Victoria is BC's capital city - and the stately Provincial Legislative Buildings are worth a visit. By night it is all lit by thousands of tiny lights. Government Street.

Royal British Columbia Museum

Exhibits depict scenes from BC's often colorful history. Opening April 18, 1997: Whales: The Enduring Legacy. 675 Bellevue 387-3701.

Whale Watching

Seeing a whale in the wild is a gift that you won't forget. But research increasingly indicates that crowds of people in loud, fume-belching craft, are not good for these family-oriented mammals. If you decide to go whale watching, try Seacoast Expeditions. This company is dedicated to marine wildlife preservation, and takes care that mammals are not distressed in any way. Seacoast offers boats that are custom built for the tours, and guarantees your safety, making the 3 hour tour well worth the $75 adult and $50 child rate. For more information contact Seacoast Expeditions at 250-383-2254.

Shopping

Government Street, just down from the Empress Hotel, between Humbolt and Johnson, is lined with restaurants and shops. My favourites include Roger's Chocolates, at 913 Government Street, and Munro's Books, which is found in one of Victoria's finest heritage buildings at 1108 Government Street.

Walking along Government Street, turn east at Fort Street. You'll be at the start of what is known as Antiques Row. If you head back down Government Street and turn left on Johnson Street, you'll come to Market Square, which has over 40 restaurants and shops in an historic building.

Hotels

The Bedford Regency, known as Victoria's small elegant hotel, offers luxuriously appointed rooms, some with fireplaces and Jacuzzis, starting at $69 per night. A member of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World. 1140 Government Street, Victoria. V8W 1Y2 1-800-665-6500.

Clarion Hotel Grand Pacific offers good service at reasonable prices in nicely appointed rooms and suites. Ask for a sea view, and don't be afraid to bargain on room rates. Restaurant and bar. Great health centre including a lap pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, fitness classes and equipment. 450 Quebec Street, Victoria. 250-386-0450.

Dominion Hotel has been completely restored, and features tastefully appointed rooms at bargain prices, beginning at $59 per night. 759 Yates Street Victoria. 1-800-663-6101.

The Empress, a Canadian Pacific Hotel, offers outstanding service and stately Victorian luxury in one of Canada's grandest hotels. Afternoon tea in the lobby, wonderful meals in the Garden Restaurant and the Bengal Lounge. Don't be afraid to bargain on room rates. 721 Government Street, Victoria. V8V 1W5. 1-800-441-1414.


Tofino: The Whale Watching Capital of BC

This little town, on the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island, offers an unparalleled wilderness experience as the gateway to Pacific Rim National Park and Clayquot Sound.

To get their you must drive to Parksville and take Highway 4.

Accommodations

Wickaninnish Inn

The new 46 room Wickaninnish Inn www.island.net/~wick opened to rave reviews in August 1996. An exclusive resort on nature's edge, it's at the doorstep to a myriad of soft adventure activities, including whale watching, storm watching, beach combing, surfing, and diving. Generously large rooms feature ocean views, fireplace soaker tubs, and balconies.

Chef Rodney Butters and his version of Coastal cuisine in the Pointe Restaurant, recently won the silver award for the Best Out of Town Restaurant in the Vancouver Magazine's Critics' Poll. 250-725-3100.

 

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