Hemingway's by the Sea in Victoria BC

One rainy Spring afternoon, I walk from my place beneath gentle showers of pink cherry blossoms to Hemingway's by the Sea, a lofty Tudor-style Mansion, on the West side of Victoria. A robin is taking a furtive puddle-bath in the driveway. Another one is singing in the Garden. The salty wind is picking up, blowing in from Fleming Beach. I go to the side door and ring the bell, already starting to feel like I've just traveled to some exotic country, that I'm arriving somewhere in Europe or Africa or South America. And I've just walked a few blocks!


Beacon Hill Petting Zoo - Don't forget the Finch House!

The Children's Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill Park has something for everyone, whether you like hanging out with pigs, horses, peacocks, or the kids (baby goats, that is - You can even groom them, if you have the inclination!)

Amidst the entertainment and carryings on of all these critters, however, the Finch House is often overlooked. If you'd like a few moments of quiet time, check out the little shed near the entrance of the Zoo. Inside, you can sit with a wide assortment of these diminutive, free-flying, birds while observing their their daily activities - eating, nesting, playing, resting... They seem to take pleasure in observing their human observers, as well!

It may take you a while to find all of them as many enjoy hiding in secret places - tiny nests, plastic cups, or camouflaged against straw angels as seen above. Be careful not to let them escape when you leave, as some have! These little opportunists are very curious about the rest of the Zoo (who wouldn't be?) and they're always trying to make a run for it!

For Spring Hours and More Info, visit the
Beacon Hill Park and Petting Zoo Web Site.

Bear Country Knight Inlet

If you travel north on Vancouver Island to Telegraph Cove, there you can catch a ride with Tide Rip Grizzly Tours and travel into Knight Inlet by boat to see the magnificent Canadian Grizzly Bears. This is an exceptional trip due to the incredible scenery along the inlet and then of course your interactions with the grizzly bears. It is so exciting to see them up close and personal. Along the way you may see whales, dolphins, porpoises, eagles and bears. The visit to the quaint Telegraph Cove is worth the trip alone. This is a highly recommended activity while on Vancouver Island.

Fishing Pier Sidney By the Sea

Just 20 minutes north of Victoria is the quaint "Sidney By the Sea". It is a great little town and worth a visit by guest checking out greater Victoria. The picture above is of the fishing pier. This pier juts far enough out into the ocean current to permit catching salmon and other marine fish. Many locals also drop prawn traps from the pier. It is also a great place to visit when you do the waterfront walk in Sidney. There are great views of Sidney Spit and James Island from the pier. This pier was built by the generosity of residents from all over the region. The names of donors are written on small walls on the way to the pier. It was truly a great idea and leaves a great legacy. Check it out.

Olympic Torch Unveiled

Yesterday marked one year until the 2010 Olympic Games are officially opened in Vancouver British Columbia. If you are coming to Canada to see the games be sure that you spend enough time to visit beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island a one hour and 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver. Whistle BC will host many of the alpine events and that is where the unveiling took place. The place was alive and humming all day. The torch is pretty cool. It is going on a journey, the longest in history and will visit 1000 communities in Canada and be carried by some 1200 happy people. Check it out.

Bastion Square Art

In the heart of old town is Bastion Square. It is the location of the old bastion fort that was Fort Victoria in the early years. The square is full of artisans and crafters in the summer months. Now it is the home of some Victoria style public art. It appears that some large flowers are supporting an aluminum stylized canoe. I believe that this work was done by the same artist who put the massive flowers outside the Victoria airport. This is not my cup of tea as far as public art goes, but then that is only one person's opinion. See for yourself while you enjoy the spectacular views of the Inner Harbour from Bastion Square. There is a little Italian bistro in the square where you can purchase a treat and some tea or coffee and soak up the sun. Enjoy Bastion Square.

Elephant Seal Comes Ashore Victoria BC

When you live in a city surrounded by ocean you never know what the sea may offer up. A couple of days ago an elephant seal came ashore to molt. They just lay there and scratch. Must be painful. This one even scratched a small hole in its skin. There were signs up telling people to keep their distance but a young lady decided that it was her time to bond with the seal. Several people told her she was too close but that didn't work. There is a bit of danger involved in being that close. If the seal doesn't like it they can lunge several feet in a second. Check out the elephant seal video here.

Dine In Victoria

Dine Around & Stay In Town will take place from February 19th to March 8th, 2009. Over 50 local restaurants will be participating in the 2009 event.The Victoria branch of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) invite you to attend the sixth annual Dine Around and Stay in Town event.

Participating restaurants offer three-course menus for $20, $30, or $40 CDN per person and are all paired with BC VQA wine suggestions.

To make the event even better some of Victoria's hotels and accommodations will be featuring rates of $79, $89, $99, and $129 CDN.

You can find out more and obtain lists of restaurants and accommodations by CLICKING HERE

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