The Stinking Fish Studio Tour & Sale

Each year in the western part of Victoria (Metchosin & East Sooke) there is a grand studio tour called the Stinking Fish Studio Tour. There is art, crafts, woodworking, metal working, pottery, floral arts, mosaics, and much, much more. This is a great tour. All you need is a map and you are off and running. Some of the venues are also very special homes. You can find a copy of the map on their web site.

Metchosin and East Sooke are located in a beautiful coastal area of Vancouver Island near Victoria, BC. The artists and artisans involved in the tour and sale have chosen to live and work here because they finding inspiration in this special part of Vancouver Island. the tour features the best of fine art and fine craft on the southern island and the setting is incredible. Come out and enjoy it and meet the artists, view what they do and perhaps take something special home with you.

Craigdarroch Castle

In the heart of Victoria iies a magnificent castle. Craigdarroch Castle was built by a wealthy coal baron named Robert Dunsmuir. Located off Fort Street at 1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC, Canada, Craigdarroch Castle is a Victorian-era mansion, built in the late 1800s. It is a short drive from Victoria's inner harbour or a walk of about 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. It is owned and operated by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society. It iis 4.5 stories tall and has 87 stairs to get to the top. The house, furnishings and gardens are being restored to the way they were when originally buit. Take one giant step back in time to see just how well the rich and famous lived in Victoria before the 19th century. We should all be so fortunate.

Chinatown School

When you visit Victoria take in our Chinatown. It is the oldest one on the West Coast of North America and has a great history. If you travel East on on Fisgard towards Douglas Street you will pass by the Chinese School. It is a photo opportunity for sure. There is much more to see in Chinatown as well. There are shops, hidden alleys, and much more. Be sure to check out the Gates of Harmonius Interest.

French Beach in November

Just about 40 minutes from Victoria is French Beach Provincial Park. On Nov. 19th I went there to do some video. When I arrived, there were two young children playing near the water in their T-shirts. It was so warm and sunny for this time of the year. There were only two groups of people there other than me, so it was very peaceful. The water was gently washing against the shoreline and the sky was blue and clear. The water was sparkling blue and I don't think you could find a better day at French Beach. The tide was in and while I was there it started to recede uncovering the sandy beach. At high water only the rocky beach is exposed. There was a stream coming out of the gravel on the beach, which is common on these types of beaches. This is a favourite spot for locals. Check it out next time you are in Victoria.

Winter Has Its Drawbacks

When winter comes to Vancouver Island, one of the drawbacks is that we get some rain and every once in a while, we get some strong winds. Every year thousands of trees blow down and often the take out power lines leaving many people without power. I guess if this is the worst we have to deal with we are no so bad off. Here is one of those incidents that just didn't quite make the grade. Who knows, the weight of this tree might snap the line tomorrow.

`150 Yearts Old

This year the province of British Columbia is 150 years old. There have been celebrations all over the province. Just outside the BC Provincial Museum and across the street from the Legislative Buildings is a unique photo opportunity. You can take your picture with some of BC greatest personalities and celebrities. Many of them are there. That's me next to Bruno Gerusi (from the Beachcombers) and with my friends Cougar Annie (left), Rick Handsen (front row), Nancy Green-Raine, (front row), Chief Dan George (top row), Relic (from the Beachcombers). and more. Truth is, I grew up with Jackson Davies from the Beachcombers, but the rest of them, I never really met. Get you picture taken and you can make up your own story.

Fun in the Sun

On a glorious sunny November day I went down to Dallas Road which is the ocean front street along Juan de Fuca Strait. A young man was launching his parasail and his buddy was launching his sailboard. The parasail shot out into the Strait almost out of site, then back and forth to shore and out again into the strait. As his buddy moved out into the strait, I managed to catch the two of them passing each other. It looked like a lot of fun and the water was sparkling blue in the full sun. My sister lives on a prairie lake and it has frozen up. Not so in sunny Victoria.

Lest We Forget

I have been able to live the current portion of my existence on the planet in a free country with a democratically elected government and I have not had to go to war to protect that freedom. I owe that to those who have gone before me and fought to protect the "free" world and give us our freedom. When I decided to move to Victoria from Alberta, I just did it. I didn't have to ask, to go through government red tape, nothing! I feel so lucky to have a life without war. It bothers me that there is still so much conflict in the world and that the young men and women of our country have to be in places like Afganistan to try and protect the freedoms of others. Just today, someone threw acid on some young girls who were going to school in Afganistan. We are so lucky and we owe such a gratitude of debt to those who have lost their lives and given them so freely for our country. Lest we forget! It was great to see so many people at our Nov. 11th ceremony where I live. The vets in the parade are at the top left.

Butterfly Gardens Victoria BC

Well, winter has descended upon us. Rain is around although we have had an exceptional fall. Today the sun is shinning and it has been unseasonably warm. However, outdoor activities are slowing down a bit. I am a fair weather golfer, so I have pretty much stopped golfing. So, if you are looking for something neat to do that is indoors, try Butterfly Gardens. This attraction is only about 20 minutes from downtown Victoria and there is ample free parking. It is only a short distance from the world famous Butchart Gardens, so you might want to visit both the same day. Butterfly Gardens is a tropical jungle paradise tucked inside a building. In addition to the butterflies there are brightly coloured fish - tropical birds - hundreds of ornate plants, including an exquisite orchid display. This is quite an attraction and worth a visit. It is located at 1461 Benvenuto Road in Brentwood Bay.

Malahat Mountain Inn

As you drive up the Malahat Drive, you will continue to marvel at the awesome views. If you get hungry, stop by the Malahat Mountain Inn Restaurant. There is an outside balcony where you can dine in better weather. The views from the balcony are inspiring. The food is quite delicious and the prices are a bit over the norm but not out of site. This is a great place to dine if you are spending a day exploring the Malahat Drive.

Little Mountain

Next time you are in Parksville be sure and check out "Little Mountain". To get there take Highway 4A from Parksville toward Coombs. Just a little way from Parksville, take a left at Bellevue Road and then left again at Little Mountain Road. Follow the Road to the top and park in the lot near the communication tower. Just over the concrete barrier you can take a short walk to the edge. Don't get too close, the next step is a really long drop. The views from here toward Mount Arrowsmith are spectacular. This is a little secret only know to locals. Check it out. It does not take long to get there.

Sea Lion Caves

If you travel west from Victoria, just past lost creek is a trail that leads down to the water where some sea lions have taken up residence. This is unusual because they don't often set up home on shore as opposed to an off shore island. In the winter, hundreds of sea lions take up residence in Juan de Fuca strait. If you go to Race Rocks Light Station, you will see hundreds of them. They are fascinating, especially when you see them underwater. The trail to the caves is somewhat of a secret. The "Secrets of Victoria" has a detailed map to the cave. It is a flat trail until you cross the Juan de Fuca trail, then it drops rapidly towards the water. It is not an easy trail as can be seen by the picture shown here. It gives you breath taking views of the strait and you can get pretty close to the sea lions. People are encouraged not to get too close as it bothers the sea lions. That is why it is not advertised as a stop along the Juan de Fuca trail.
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