Victoria: A day in Downtown and last day


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North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver Island » Victoria
September 22nd 2016
Published: September 23rd 2016
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Today is the last day of our holiday and we spent it on our feet - true to the TTATs philosophy!

After another rather large breakfast, enough to sustain us all day, we set off along the coastal trail not far from our accomodation. The trail runs along the shore towards the city and looks across the Strait to Mt Olympus in the US. It eventually goes to the Overseas Terminus for Tourist Ships and one huge ship had just docked spewing out large numbers of people onto tours, buses or local shops. I am so happy I'm not one of the sardines - so far.

Our trail took us to the Fishermans Wharf which we had not expected having not done our homework. It is at the Marina and has a number of colourful floating houses and various shops. A little girl was feeding fish to spotted seals and they were leaping out of the water to take them off the wharf. We toured the wharves then continued on the trail towards the city eventually arriving near the grand Empress Hotel. Here, we did some people watching and enjoyed the sun before setting off for a little shopping where Linds bought some new sandals and a Tilley Hat to replace his old ones.

At 1.30 we headed for the Imax Theatre to get tickets for the 3D session of the Titans of the Ice Age, all about mammoths, mastodons, large cougars and other past huge mammals of the Pleistocene Period leading up to the Ice Age. The IMax has the largest screen in BC and is 6 stories high. The film we watched was fantastic and the 3D imagery made it very realistic describing the rise and fall of large Ice Age animals. It was educational as well as being entertaining with huge mammals in life size living in their enviroment and showing their ultimate demise in tar pits, volcanic springs, fighting, climate change or through predation by other animals or humans.

Following the IMax we visited the Victoria Museum which is part of the same complex. We both agreed that it is the best Museum we have ever visited. We visited the Natural History section first which had the same Ice Age theme from IMax. The mammoth and other large beast fossils and replicas were incredible. They were true to scale, put in their natural
Floating houses at Fishermans WharfFloating houses at Fishermans WharfFloating houses at Fishermans Wharf

Along the jettys at Fishermans Wharf are colourful floating houses
setting and were so realistic. The best part of the exhibition was a separate area made up of trees in a real depth forest with taxidermied animals set amongst the forest. It was amazingly realistic, so much so that I wasn't disappointed that we had not seen a live bear or a moose in our time here. We were impressed. There was so much more to this area - sea life and bird life all in their natural settings as well as other fossils from past epochs.

Our next section was the humanities around the history of the First Nation people and colonisation. We didn't get too involved with the First Nation section as there were parallels with our Maori history and stone age history in general. There was a lot here about their history with BC and later history after colonisation through to today and their continuing association with the land and modern day history.

What we found really impressive was the portrayal of colonial history. A virtual town was set up with streets, business's, a hotel, industry, mining, fishing, discovery, immigration, travel and so much more from past times. It was the best portrayal of life and buildings that we've seen and you would have been hard pushed to find anything better presented and realistic. We were able to walk into the hotel and up the stairs to rooms such as we may remember our hotels from past times. An underground coal mine had also been recreated that you could walk into and have an underground experience. All of this was done within a building. There was so much more and of course more time could be spent there.

After so much time on our feet we sat in the sun by the marina and enjoyed the people traffic then made our way up Menzies Street to James Bay Village to a Bistro for dinner. Here we had some new experiences of crab cakes, a bison cabonara and a bread and butter pudding made with apple and cinnamon. It was the bison that we found most unusual. I thought bison was protected but by all accounts they are farmed locally. The taste was like beef but a bit more gamey.

Finally, back to the B&B to relax and pack after a day's walking. So ends a month's holiday in Canada and Washington State, US. It has been a very enjoyable experience and better than we expected. People have been incredibly friendly and helpful, lifestyles not unlike our own and the scenery quite lovely in many places. The greatest difference has been in scale. NZ packs a multitude of landscapes into a relatively small area whereas Canada spreads them out over vast distances.

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