starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
[personal profile] starlady
I was in Victoria, British Columbia for a thing this past week, and while I'd heard the scuttlebutt about yoga on the beach et al, I was kind of blown away by how pretty Victoria is. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, of course, but Victoria seems especially so--something about how much water and blue sky there was everywhere, to say nothing of the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades randomly visible throughout the city. Victoria itself reminded me of nothing so much as a cross between Madison and Portland (the one in Oregon). It was all very different from Toronto, in interesting ways. (People here are so friendly. So friendly.)

I didn't get a chance to go whale-watching, but I did wander around the city a fair bit, and I also did check out the Royal British Columbia Museum. I knew nothing about BC and little about Canada (though more than 90% of U.S.-ians, since I can tell you when Canada started), and it was an interesting lok at the human and environmental histories of the province. I was particularly interested to learn more about the histories of the First Nations peoples of the area, which were presented in what seemed to me to be a pretty respectful and interesting manner. There's a great exhibit on the indigenous languages of the province and what's being done to preserve them, and a great mini-exhibit on the Nisga'a Treaty. Wandering through the exhibit "El Dorado in British Columbia," on the BC and other C19 gold rushes, certainly suggested reasons why, as friends of mine report, acknowledgment of the First Nations peoples with whom the settlers share the land is more assiduous than in other parts of Canada. I only wish we had similar habits in the States.

Anyway. I'm not sure I quite buy Victoria's reputation as "Little Britain"--nowhere did I see a chippy, for example, the scones were just okay, and they served my friend a Strongbow with a twist of lime at one of the pubs (!?)--but I had some great food, including a burger with pickled beets on it (!), and some great new Polish cuisine, and all in all, it was a really nice place to spend a rather intense week. I would love to go back.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-14 20:10 (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
"Little Britain" ≠ so much the UK now as (if you look at the downtown architecture, the Empress, etc) "little Britain of 1900". It's also undergoing a shift into a more modern gourmand thing.

BC has a very particular history with First Peoples that has a LOT to do with most of the province being unsuitable for mega-farming but hugely in demand for the fur, fishery and timber trades all the way up to the middle of the last century. One of the things that means is that people intermarried a lot more, and settled in Large Groups of White People a lot less (and even when we did the latter, it tended to be in cities: cf Vancouver, Victoria, etc): it was more "fort or timber camp or cannery or mine of white people in interaction and intermingling with surrounding FN peoples". We were also one of the much later provinces even settled at all, which means by the time we were getting things like institutions of higher learning and museums and such (even UBC is just this year a hundred years old, and UVic was founded in 1963) there was less (not no, BY ANY MEANS, but as compared to much of the rest of the country LESS) entrenched actively racist/eugenicist mindset in those institutions etc etc.

We were a frontier a lot more recently, too. I mean, the province's first Governor was black and his wife was FN. You wouldn't KNOW this unless you looked it up, because subsequent generations CLEARED THEIR THROATS and sort of obscured this, but we were the kind of frontier society where that kind of thing COULD happen less than a hundred and fifty years ago; over on the eastern sides of the country, the last time that kind of frontier existed was in the 1700s.

Which means our universities do things like acknowledge traditional land ownership as a ceremonial matter of course, as much because it's What's Done as any active ideology*: like, the police society thing to do at any university graduation ceremony is invite an Elder or other representative of the nation whose land the university is on to open the ceremony etc.

When you get up to where I grew up, which is basically the most northerly imperialism-as-major-settled-agriculture ever got, it's much more similar to the models of the rest of Canada and some parts of the states: big clumps of white settlement, reserves way out of town on land nobody else wanted, etc. (I went back six years after I'd left and discovered that there were actual FN support services IN TOWN now, and it was a Huge Step.)

. . . .AND THIS HAS BEEN YOUR DROP IN EDUCATIONAL MOMENT, hi, I did my degree in Vic and if I have my choice I will probably settle there someday.

*do not take any of this as me saying that the BC Coast does not have racism and specifically anti-Aboriginal-even-more-than-everything-else racism problems up the wazoo, because I'm NOT; I'm just saying, our context is different in these ways for these reasons and it really IS way different from other places in Canada and the US.

ETA: Effectively - I think my province has a SHITLOAD of work to do on this topic. And then I go to any other province [can't speak to the Territories] or to the US and while I STILL think my province has all that work to do, I am still going OH GOD I WANT TO GO HOME.
Edited Date: 2015-06-15 00:52 (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-23 02:42 (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
Technically mixed (father Scottish, mother "free-coloured" of Demerara), but yeah - it's another one of the frontier things, where the companies owned everything, and the company-men mixed comfortably with local women and frequently married them.

The gender-dynamics of the time are fascinating: Douglas' daughters were considered desirable matches and respectable, elegant young ladies, despite being mixed; on the other hand, his sons got hit hard with all the unspoken (because of their parents' position) but totally omnipresent racism and anti-mixed (specifically) racism - behaviour that was considered totally normal for their white counterparts marked them as "dangerous" and "wastrels" and so on, and you definitely didn't want them near your daughters. (I always felt bad for them.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-15 02:48 (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I remember (from 2007, around this time of year) being favorably impressed by the UVic bookshop, which unlike other campus bookshops I have visited had a visible book selection pertaining to First Nations people, cultures, and history. Like, you didn't have to wonder whether they had one in a back corner; it was easy to find and had interesting-looking titles. (Frowning at you, U Montana-Missoula.)

I also remember having eaten good food. :) Different hybrid traditions of E/SE Asian food from what I'm used to.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-15 05:37 (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
Maybe you ran into an Australian - we put beetroot (aka pickled beets) on our burgers!

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