Friday, 19 August 2011

Victoria BC …the perfect mix!

Vancouver Island and in particular the town of Victoria was a highly recommended destination during our trip to Canada. As Jules and I made our way over by ferry on a fine sunny day, we could begin to see why it was such a popular destination, as we viewed some stunningly beautiful coastal inlets. Upon arrival, the town was larger and busier than we had expected. After all, it was the height of tourist season and judging by the various accents, there were plenty of visitors in town enjoying what it had to offer. While there are a host of natural and scenic attractions, it was the considerable amount of eateries and microbreweries that had also grabbed our attention. In fact, Victoria boasts the second largest amount of restaurants per capita in North America and over the next few days we were going try plenty. As we walked down to the harbour, we were struck by the obvious European influence in the architecture with a couple of particularly grand buildings (the Empress Hotel and the Legislative Building) looking as if they had stepped straight out of aristocratic France. In the harbour area there were several impressive English style pubs that were located in streets lined with an abundance of hanging baskets each filled with brightly coloured flowers in bloom. There was certainly no shortage of stunning harbour views, which we enjoyed from no less from six different locations while dining during our stay. Every time we looked out, we could see a myriad of activities on the water front with boats heading out to sea for whale watching trips, high speed jet boats full of thrill seekers, giant cruise ships coming and going and water taxis scooting around as sea planes dodged them while coming into land. During our stay there was even a large three-masted Russian sailing ship that further added to the colour on the harbour. Along the docks, craft stalls regularly take up position and buskers enthusiastically entertain the passing crowd. Victoria is definitely a terrific holiday spot, but over the years it has also attracted its fair share of retirees, as we found out when we ventured out to leafy Oak Bay, which boasts some of the most expensive real estate in Canada. Yes, Victoria is a pretty good place to live or just visit for that matter. With the perfect combination of scenic beauty and sophisticated lifestyle and appreciation for good food, it simply has it all!

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