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Published: June 23rd 2019
Saturday 22nd June 2019
Our drive from the West Pacific coast to the east of Vancouver Island on Thursday was yet another sensational scenic and memorable journey. On the way we went to a Salvation Army “Thrift store” in a town called Duncan, which has a fair percentage of families in need (sadly a disproportionate number of these are First Nation communities). We spoke to the manager there who was delighted when we donated our tent, inflatable mattress and sleeping bags. She was so delighted with these useful items that it made our day.
We arrived at my cousin Kaye and Randy’s beautiful home in Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsular in the afternoon and spent a lovely evening with them. A speciality in the region is salmon barbecued on a cedar plank of wood. The cedar is soaked overnight and the flavour this cooking method gives to the fish is amazing. Canadian salmon is excellent anyway; cooked in this way transforms the salmon to a delicacy in gourmet’s heaven!
Yesterday, the four of us visited the Butchart Botanical Gardens which is just a five- minute drive from the house. This place is really special. We have always
enjoyed visiting botanical gardens and have been to several around the world. Butchart is “up there” with the best. My Aunt Doreen, Kaye’s mum, told Kaye to treat us to Butchart as a treat from her. “Thank you” dear Doreen, for treating us to a very special day!
Before spending hours soaking up the splendour of the gardens, we boarded a small boat, the four of us and a couple from Ross-on-Wye in England. We cruised around Brentwood Bay and the Tod inlet. A little river otter came to peer at us and eagles flew overhead. Magical!
The Butchart Gardens covers more than fifty-five acres of a one-hundred-and-thirty-acre estate. It was once a worked-out limestone quarry which provided the Butchart family’s nearby cement works in Portland. In the early twentieth century, Jennie Butchart had the idea to beautify the area by planting rare and exotic shrubs, trees and flowers collected on the family’s travels around the world. Thus, the Butchart Gardens one sees today were created. In 2004, one hundred years after its birth, the Butchart Gardens were designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.
From Butchart we went on to Sydney, a lovely little seaside
town at the end of the peninsular. The evening was rounded off with another lovely steak BBQ meal, eaten on the terrace on a glorious warm and sunny evening. Good food, good wine, a beautiful location and wonderful company. Very special!
Today after a leisurely breakfast, we had a Skype call from my cousin Chrissie (Kaye’s sister) in the UK. It was so great to chat to her! We also chatted to Abigail (girlfriend to Piers, Chrissie and Andy’s youngest son); nice to have met you, Abigail! We finally said our “Farewells” and headed down to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia for two nights before getting the ferry to Vancouver on Monday.
Victoria is fabulous! It has a really vibrant café culture and is hailed as one of Canada’s most pedestrian-friendly towns. We have only had a brief walk around downtown so far, booked up a whale-watching trip for tomorrow morning and have checked in to a hotel. Later, when we have posted this blog, we shall go for a longer stroll around to enjoy the city further. The sun is shining and the long evenings are perfect for city strolling.
The time is racing by
too quickly. In just one week from now we shall be in the air on our flight back to Europe. Oh, but what memories we have to treasure! Canada has proven to be so special.
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