Jun. 14th, 2015

starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
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.