Victoria, BC, 12 and 13 September 2012

Our last full day in Victoria included the Royal BC Museum in the morning and a walking tour of Old Town and Chinatown in the afternoon. The Royal BC Museum is situated next to the Empress Hotel and Parliament Building, just off Inner Harbour. We arrived right about when the doors opened and bought our tickets and were ready to go upstairs when the exhibits opened at 10am.

We cruised through the Dinosaur Feature Exhibit and Natural History Gallery. We finished those up and went downstairs to catch the guided highlights tour. The guide was a good storyteller and took us back through the Natural History Gallery, concentrating on the ecosystems of the forests and seashores (including the Frasier River Delta). He then took us up to the First Peoples Gallery, pointing out the differences between the coastal and inland people (including clothing and housing).

After the tour we took a quick trip back through the First Peoples Gallery to check out the sections the tour skipped, and then the Modern History Gallery. After we got out of that, we were more than ready for lunch, so we just grabbed something from the museum's café.

 Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus

 Beach diorama

Beach diorama

 Totem (divided into three parts to fit in the room)

Totem (divided into three parts to fit in the room)

Having sustenance, we proceeded to the start of our walking tour. We started out going north on Government street, walking by some historic buildings, including a brick building from 1858 which had a makeover in the 1930's to give it a fake Tudor stucco/half timber look.

We also saw the original location of Fort Victoria, denoted with a marker in the sidewalk and lighter colored bricks which denoted the fort's walls. After once again going through Bastion Square (which we did on the Inner Harbour walk) we took a peek in Market Square which used to be warehouses, mariner's hotels, and shipping offices.

 Fort Victoria marker

Fort Victoria marker

Next on the walk was Chinatown. We knew we arrived when the street signs, lamp posts, trash cans, and even bike posts were decorated. We wandered down Fan Tan Alley, which was very narrow near the street but opened up to a bunch of shops. The entry gate (called the Gate of Harmonious Interest) is relatively recent, being built in 1981 to commemorate the revitalization of Chinatown.

 Gate of Harmonious Interest

Gate of Harmonious Interest

 Fan Tan Alley

Fan Tan Alley

After having wandered through Chinatown we walked through Centennial Square (where the arts center and city hall are), by a Synagogue (across the street from our inn), and a poked our heads into a Catholic Cathedral. We also dropped by the public library and the convention center, after which were were worn out enough to be ready to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the room. Other than heading to the store to gather food for the morning and the trip home, we were ready to call it a night.

 St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral

St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral

 Sculpture at the Public Library

Sculpture at the Public Library

 Our route for the day

Our route for the day

After packing and eating breakfast in the morning, we checked out of the inn and headed towards the ferry terminal. On the way, we stopped by Bay Centre to check out the progress of a 3D chalk artist who's making a work in the atrium. The design looks like it will be a canyon with totems coming up on the inside of the rim. She had finished the outline and was starting to fill in the color and shading. It'll be a few more days before she's finished.

 3-D chalk art in progress

3-D chalk art in progress

We got to the ferry terminal quite early, and it's a good thing, since there was already a line waiting for immigration (even though they wouldn't open for a half hour). We went through immigration and boarded, once again choosing seats on the upper deck. During the trip we went through our packed lunch and got out the binoculars to look at the sights along the way. Once we got off in Seattle, we went through customs, caught our busses, and collapsed at home.