08 November 2018

Visit to Victoria, British Columbia, 15-21 October 2018

Having travelled to Canada's westernmost provincial capital city to attend the Maritime Security Challenges Conference 2018, your MoMI curator took the opportunity to spend a couple of extra days exploring beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.  Enjoy the following photo tour of this very lovely, very English city renowned for its temperate climate, genteel lifestyle, rugged coastline, well-preserved historic buildings, and stunning harbour.

The British Columbia Parliament Buildings at night, 15 October 2018.

The rotunda within the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.  The Members' Lobby and the Legislative Chamber is off the rotunda to the right of the photo.

Looking up to the top of the central dome in the rotunda of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.

A nighttime view of the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel on Government Street, overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour.  

The Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.  It is in this space that the famous Tea at the Empress is served, continuing the Victorian English tradition of Afternoon Tea.  The white French doors in the background lead to the Palm Court, featuring a stained glass domed ceiling and Italian marble floors.

Q Bar at the Fairmont Empress, with a menu of signature cocktails, an extensive wine list, and craft beers on tap.  Q Bar is open from 11:00am to 12:00am daily, though on this evening it appeared to be closed for some reason.

Bastion Square in downtown Victoria, located between Government Street and Wharf Street to the east and west and Yates Street and Fort Street to the north and south.  The square is home to many restaurants and pubs, including the Irish Times (on the right) and Garrick's Head (on the left).

Confederation Fountain, located in Confederation Garden Court beside the Hotel Grand Pacific on Belleville Street.  Completed in 1967 as a Centennial project, this plaza contains the British Columbia time capsule and the grounds are maintained by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.  The Canadian coat of arms sit in front of a backlit waterfall, with the shields of all provinces and territories mounted on the grey stone wall to the left and right.

An order of halibut and chips from Red Fish Blue Fish, a dockside seafood takeaway restaurant near the intersection of Wharf and Broughton Streets.  The eatery's sustainable philosophy is embodied in its commitment to recycling and composting all food containers, utensils, cans, and bottles, as well as serving only locally-caught seafood certified by Ocean Wise.  

Located on Humboldt Street across from the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Union Club of British Columbia, established in 1879, was modelled on British-inspired private men's clubs that were popular in Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The club's name was inspired by the founders' support for Confederation at a time when delays in the construction of the transcontinental railroad promised to British Columbia in exchange for joining Canada were fuelling disillusionment with the province's place in the union of the British North American colonies.  This building has served as the clubhouse since 1913 and features the monumentality, symmetry, and classical decoration characteristic of the Beaux Art style of architecture popular at the time of its construction.  

The main entrance to the Union Club of British Columbia, site of the lunches and banquet dinner hosted for attendees at the Maritime Security Challenges 2018 conference, 16-18 October 2018.

The menu card for the banquet dinner put on for attendees of the Maritime Security Challenges 2018 conference.

A stunning horticultural display entitled 'Surfacing', depicting a mother and baby orca (killer whale).  A joint venture between the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the carefully manicured flowers and shrubbery are maintained by the City of Victoria Parks Division.  The display is located at the corner of Humboldt and Government Streets, next to the Fairmont Empress Hotel.    

The Tourism Victoria Visitors' Centre, located at the corner of Wharf and Government Streets, along the Inner Harbour.

An early morning view of Victoria's Inner Harbour, with the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in the background and a large floral bed spelling out 'Welcome to Victoria'.
Another view of the Inner Harbour on a quiet, foggy morning.  A harbour taxi and several whale watching tour boats are moored at the docks prior to the start of a busy day shuttling tourists around.

A bronze statue of Captain James Cook (1728-1779) stands prominently at the centre of the Government Street promenade in front of the Inner Harbour.  In March 1778, while cruising the waters of the Pacific Northwest in search of the western exit of the fabled Northwest Passage, Cook and his two ships, HMS Resolution and Discovery, put into Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island for repairs and to trade with local native populations.  This statue was commissioned by the Victoria Environmental Enhancement Foundation and unveiled by British Columbia Premier William Richards Bennett on 12 July 1976.   

The Fairmont Empress Hotel, built between 1904 and 1908 by Canadian Pacific Hotels, a division of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and opened on 25 January 1908. The Chateauesque-style hotel shared many of the same architectural features as the other grand railway hotels built along the CPR's transcontinental line. Having undergone expansions in 1910-1912 and 1928, the hotel today features 464 guest rooms and suites.

A photocopied floor plan for the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The Empress Hotel was originally built to serve as a terminus hotel for Canadian Pacific steamships serving Victoria, though with the end of steamship service to the city the hotel was successfully marketed as a resort for tourists as Victoria became a tourism destination in the mid- to late-1920s.  Notable visitors to the hotel include Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), who attended a gala in 1919, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who attended a luncheon in the hotel during their 1939 Royal Tour of Canada. 

The lobby of the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
One of the daily weather cards left by housekeeping staff at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

A card left by Fairmont Empress Hotel housekeeping staff acknowledging the guest's privacy request.

Early morning sun streams in through the windows of the Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel's bee hives, from which the hotel harvests 2,500 pounds (1,134 kilograms) of honey each season.  The honey is used in the hotel's restaurants, including in its famous Afternoon Tea service.  The hives, located in the hotel's Centennial Garden near the corner of Government and Humboldt Streets, are home to over one million honeybees and are provided by a certified apiarist and tended to by the hotel's culinary staff, who have been trained in bee handling procedures.  The bees themselves are of the Italian and Carniolan species, which have been present in North America for over 250 years.  The bees forage for pollen within a three kilometre radius of their hives, pollinating the hotel's Centennial Garden in the process.

The British Columbia Legislature Cenotaph, also known as the Victoria Cenotaph, located on the grounds of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, at the corner of Belleville and Government Streets.  It was unveiled by Lieutenant Governor W.C. Nichol on 12 July 1925 and commemorates the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers and citizens in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, peacekeeping missions and, most recently, the Afghanistan War.  A bronze sculpture of a First World War infantry soldier stands atop the granite base.

This sequoia tree, also known as a Coast Redwood, was planted here on the grounds of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in the late 1800s and now measures over 100 feet (30 metres) tall; it grows approximately one foot per year.  Every December, the tree is decorated with thousands of lights and serves as the official provincial Christmas tree.   

A closer look at the massive trunk of this sequoia tree, wrapped with a sign telling people not to climb it.

A bronze statue of Queen Victoria, after whom the city of Victoria is named.  The 13 foot (four metre) tall statue was commissioned by Premier Sir Richard McBride in 1912 and sculpted by British artist Allen Bruce-Joy.  Although completed in 1914, the First World War delayed its installation and unveiling: the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone on 24 September 1919 but the statue was not officially unveiled until 1921.

The British Columbia Parliament Buildings, designed by British-born Victoria resident Francis M. Rattenbury and built between 1893 and 1898 at a total cost of $923,000. The Neo-baroque design was selected through a competition. The building features a 500-foot long façade crafted from volcanic andesite rock, a central dome, and two end pavilions. Sitting on 12 acres of land fronting onto Belleville Street and overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour, the exterior of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are adorned with 14 statues of notable figures from British Columbia history, including Chief Maquinna, Captain George Vancouver, Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, Captain James Cook, Sir James Douglas, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Alexander McKenzie, Simon Fraser, and Lord Lytton, as well as 12 allegorical figures of women, three around each of the building's four domes. Standing atop the large central dome is a gold-covered statue of Captain George Vancouver.
A closer view of the main entrance to the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, with their rusticated andesite façade, ornate decoration, and two of the 14 statues of notable historical figures from the province's past.  The central dome and two of the smaller domes that adorn the building are visible, as is the golden statue of Captain George Vancouver at the top of the central dome.   

The Steamship Terminal on Belleville Street, across from the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, were originally built in 1924 as the Canadian Pacific Marine Terminal.  Serving as the headquarters of the Canadian Pacific British Columbia Coast Steamship Service, the building was also the gateway to Victoria for passengers travelling aboard Canadian Pacific Railway coastal vessels.  The last ship on a regular run to land passengers at the building was the Canadian Pacific steamship Princess Marguerite in 1963.  In 1978, the building came under the stewardship of the Provincial Capital Commission and today it houses the Steamship Grill & Taphouse, a Starbucks, and the Robert Batemen Centre, a gallery devoted to the well-known Canadian naturalist and painter.

The V2V Empress, a 242-passenger high-speed catamaran ferry linking downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria.  The vessel is wheelchair accessible and features ergonomic leather seats, USB ports, and power outlets at every seat.  The voyage between Vancouver and Victoria aboard V2V Empress takes less than three hours and thirty minutes, with adult fares starting at $110 in Premium Class and from $165 in Royal Class at time of writing.

The M/V Coho, a passenger and vehicle ferry operated by the Black Ball Line between Victoria and Port Angeles in Washington State.  The Black Ball Line's only ferry, the M/V Coho makes up to four round-trips from Port Angeles to Victoria every day, covering the 37 kilometre (20 nautical mile) distance in 90 minutes.  Here, M/V Coho is seen backing away from the ferry terminal in Victoria's Inner Harbour for the run to Port Angeles on the afternoon of Saturday, 20 October 2018.

Named after the coho salmon found in the Pacific Northwest, the M/V Coho was built by Pugent Sound Bridge & Dry Dock in Seattle and made her maiden voyage to Victoria on 29 December 1959. Powered by two 2,550 horsepower diesel engines, M/V Coho is 341.5 feet in length with a service speed of 15 knots (28 km/h), and can carry 110 vehicles and up to 1,000 passengers.  Of note, Millennium Bomber and Canadian resident Ahmed Ressam was arrested by US border authorities after arriving in Port Angeles aboard M/V Coho on 14 December 1999; the home-made explosives and timing devices found in his car were part of a foiled plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999.

The Pendray Inn and Tea House, located at 309 Belleville Street.  Built in the Queen Anne style, this Victorian-era house was once the home of Victoria businessman William Joseph Pendray and was previously known as Gatsby Mansion.  Born in Cornwall, UK, Pendray emigrated to California in 1868 and eventually wound up in the Cariboo region of British Columbia to work in the Mosquito Creek gold mines.  After making, losing, and re-making his fortune in the mining industry, Pendray moved to Victoria to began a successful soap and soap powder manufacturing business.  In 1890, he purchased the plot of land on Belleville Street on which he eventually completed this mansion in 1897 as a home for him and his wife and four sons.  After Pendray's death in 1913 during an inspection of his soap factory, his wife Amelia continued to live in the mansion, though Pendray's sons sold the house in 1939.  It was later bequeathed to the Missionary Sisters of Notre Dame des Anges who operated the building as a boarding house for young women called Loretto Hall until 1966.  In the 1980s, the house was purchased and expanded with the construction of the Huntingdon Manor Hotel.  Today, Pendray Inn and Tea House is a boutique hotel decorated with Victorian furnishings and perpetuating the Victorian British custom of Afternoon Tea.

Colourful floating homes at Fisherman's Wharf are a notable landmark in the James Bay section of Victoria Harbour.

Looking down one of the docks at Fisherman's Wharf, with floating private homes moored on either side.  From the end of the Second World War to about 1990 was the heyday of the fishing fleet at Fisherman's Wharf.  From the 1970s to 2000, the two easternmost docks at Fisherman's Wharf were 'live aboard' docks used by a constantly changing roster of itinerant residents who often got into fist fights requiring the intervention of Victoria Police, who took the opportunity to check their list of outstanding warrants against those found living at the docks.  Today, Fisherman's Wharf is home to longer-term residents in upscale floating homes and the wharf is a tourist attraction, featuring several seafood cafes, small boutiques, and whale watching tour companies. 
Two Harbour Air seaplanes pass each other in Victoria Harbour, where travellers embark and disembark at the Inner Harbour Centre seaplane terminal.  On the left is a turboprop De Havilland Canada DHC-6-100 Twin Otter (registration C-FGQH) built in 1968.  On the right is a DHC-3 Otter (registration C-GHAZ) built in 1954.
Another 1961-vintage Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter (registration C-FHAJ) cruises out from Victoria's Inner Harbour through the narrows off Laurel Point en route to open water for takeoff.  
The colourful and eclectic Mexican Seafood floating restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf.

The majority of Fisherman's Wharf's docks are occupied by active fishing vessels, such as Virgo (built 1946), seen here.

The 40.7 foot Scania Queen (built 1967) on the left and the 34-foot Island Venture (built 1969) on the right, docked at Fisherman's Wharf.

A view of the fishing fleet moored at Fisherman's Wharf, with the condominium towers of West Victoria visible across the harbour.

Looking down the Ogden Point Breakwater, which arches from Dallas Road out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The railings were installed in 2013 and the breakwater is a popular place for walkers, who can watch fishing vessels, sailboats, ferries, float planes, and cruise ships come and go from Victoria Harbour while enjoying spectacular ocean views and glimpses of mountains on the distant shore . 

The London, UK-registered cable laying vessel Cable Innovator, berthed at Ogden Point in Victoria's Outer Harbour.  Built in 1995 in Finland by Kvaerner Masa Yard, the 14,277 gross ton ship measures 145.51 metres (477.39 feet) in length and is the largest cable laying vessel in the world, specialising in the laying of fibre optic cable.  Owned by Global Marine Services, Cable Innovator is based at the company's North Pacific Base in Victoria and is used to maintain existing sub-sea cables and lay new cables.  All cable-laying operations are carried out over the ship's stern, allowing the ship to travel much faster than other cable-laying vessels, while the ship is designed to operate even in extreme weather conditions and is equipped with a remotely operated vehicle.  Accommodations aboard Cable Innovator are quite comfortable, with 42 officer cabins, 36 crew cabins, and two company representative suites, as well as office suites and conference facilities.  The ship's endurance at sea is 42-60 days.

The lower arm of the 765 metre (2,509.84 foot) long Ogden Point Breakwater, with the lighthouse visible at its end. Ogden Point is named after Peter Skene Ogden (1790-1854), a prominent trader and explorer for the Hudson's Bay Company. The breakwater that bears his name was constructed between 1914 and 1917 in response to the rising volume of Pacific trade and the imminent completion of the Panama Canal, with the breakwater serving to shelter new docks built by the Government of Canada.  The breakwater was constructed from 10,000 granite blocks, each weighing up to 15 tons, quarried in Haddington, Nelson, and the Hardy Islands on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, northeast of Nanaimo.

The Ogden Point Lighthouse, an automated light at the end of the breakwater with spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean.  Walkers enjoy a few minutes a the end of their outbound stroll before returning to the mainland via the breakwater path.

For more energetic and daring walkers, one may walk along the giant, uneven granite blocks that form the base of the Ogden Point Breakwater.  Beds of kelp float along the surface of the water, while the handrails of the main breakwater path can be seen at the top right of the photo.  

Looking out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a foggy morning from Holland Point Park in southern Victoria.  Driftwood tree trunks stripped and smoothed by the ocean lie scattered along the beach, testament to the power of the sea.

A rocky section of beach at the base of Holland Point Park.

Willows overhang a busy duck pond in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park, located along the shoreline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  A series of small, interconnected 'lakes' were designed by the park's longtime superintendent W.H. (Herb) Warren, who served a record 40-years, between 1930 and his retirement in 1970.

A quiet foggy morning at Beacon Hill Park.  The park covers 75 hectares (200 acres) and was originally set aside as a protected area by Sir James Douglas, Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island in 1858.  It was officially designated a municipal park of the City of Victoria in 1882 and named Beacon Hill Park, after the name of a small hill overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca on which were sited navigational beacons.

A recreation centre in Beacon Hill Park.  The park has a long history of playing host to sporting events, including horse racing, cricket, and rounders in its early days and softball, soccer, mini-golf, lawn bowling, running, cycling, croquet, tennis and swimming more recently.  Since moved outside the city, horse races at Beacon Hill Park were run on the Beacon Hill racetrack, today's Circle Drive and part of Dallas Road on the perimeter of the park; the winning horses could win as much as $100 in prize money. 

A stand of tall conifers on a cool, foggy morning in Beacon Hill Park.

An ivy-covered trellis covers part of a paved pathway that meanders through part of Beacon Hill Park, along the shoreline of Goodacre Lake.  The design of the park was inspired by New York's Central Park and was selected by the City of Victoria in 1889 following a competition to transform the natural forest and meadows into a carefully landscaped municipal park.  The design was implemented by Scottish-born gardener and foreman John Blair, who immigrated to Victoria in 1881.  Blair completed the transformation of Beacon Hill Park by the turn of the 20th century.   

A variety of coniferous and deciduous trees are planted in Beacon Hill Park.

Goodacre Lake in Beacon Hill Park was created in 1889 as part of John Blair's landscape design for the park and serves as a wild fowl sanctuary.  The lake is 2.43 acres in size and is named after Alderman Goodacre, pioneer park chairman.   

Fiery fall foliage amongst the lush green conifers in Beacon Hill Park.  Despite its formal landscaping, the park also supports a diverse away of wildlife, including bald eagles, California quail, Northern flicker, Wilson's warbler, and the Anise swallowtail caterpillar, as well as native plant species like Spring-gold, Hooker's onion, and False-lily-of-the-valley.  The Friends of Beacon Hill Park and the Victoria Natural History Society work to promote and protect the park's natural and cultural history.   

A rustic stone medieval bridge crossing Goodacre Lake in Beacon Hill Park, built in 1889 and constructed as part of John Blair's landscape design for the park.

A giant sequoia, or Sierra Redwood, towers over a park bench along a path in Beacon Hill Park.  Between 1860 and 1890, giant sequoias seedlings were imported to Victoria for planting in the home gardens of the city's wealthy citizens.  Beacon Hill Park's sequoias were planted in the late 1800s to early 1900s and, as such, they are still quite young, being only a little over 100 years old, and will not reach their full height until 500-700 years of age.  Giant sequoias can live over 3,000 years, with the oldest known tree, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, being 84 metres (275 feet) tall, as high as a 27-storey building.  Each mature tree can produce about 2,000 cones per year, each containing 200 seeds that can remain viable for 20-30 years.  Falling over from high winds is usually how giant sequoias die.  Though prized for their enormous size and resistance to rot, logging of giant sequoias ended when it was discovered how fibrous and brittle was the wood, with felled trees often shattering upon hitting the ground; as a result, the only economically viable use for sequoia timber was for shingle and matchstick manufacturing. 

Fog obscures the rocky Alpine Garden in Beacon Hill Park.  The landscape reminded early European settlers of home, with its Garry oak meadows and blue-flowered camas lily fields cultivated as a food source by generations of the Lekwungen people, ancestors of today's Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.  

Another view of the Alpine Garden in Beacon Hill Park, with its rocky outcrops, lush grass, and scrubby trees.  In the distance stand the Garry oak meadows.  The Garry oak (quercus Garryana, also known as the Oregon oak) grows slowly to around 20 metres in height or a shrub of 3-5 metres in height and can be found along the western cost of North America, between southern California and southwestern British Columbia.  

The Novitiate Garden behind the former St Ann's Academy.  St Ann's Academy was the regional motherhouse for the Sisters of St Ann, the major female Roman Catholic teaching and nursing order in British Columbia, which opened its first school on this site in 1858.  The current building was inspired by convent designs in the Sisters' native Quebec and built in three stages between 1871 and 1910; its chapel is the oldest part of the current building and was the first Roman Catholic church in Victoria when it was completed in 1858.

The front of the former St Ann's Academy, designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989.  The Sisters of St Ann operated the building as an all-girls school and convent until they sold it and its 6.25 acres of grounds to the Province of British Columbia in 1975, which used the building for government office space.  Determined to be in need of major repairs, the building was closed and placed under the stewardship of the Provincial Capital Commission, which gutted and rebuild the entire interior of the building as modern office space, mostly leased to the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education after the building reopened in 1997.  The chapel, parlours, and infirmary were restored to their 1920s appearance and retained as an interpretive centre, while the auditorium was upgraded and is now used for public lectures and concerts.  

A plaza built to commemorate the centenary of the Royal Canadian Navy, located on Wharf Street, overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour. 

At the centre of the plaza is the 'Homecoming Statue', dedicated on 4 May 2010.  The sculpture depicts a Royal Canadian Navy sailor home from a deployment being met by his exuberant daughter and the family dog.  Mounted around the base of the sculpture are plaques bearing the names and ships' crests of RCN warships based at Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard Esquimalt at the time the statue was unveiled.

A sculpture entitled 'The Veteran Sailor', depicting John Mason, who joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Stoker 2nd Class at age 18 in 1942.  After service in the North Atlantic in the Second World War, Mason completed a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Toronto and rejoined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1949 as an officer, serving during the Korean War.  In 1964, Mason was the first engineering officer to command a destroyer, HMCS Algonquin; he retired in 1978 at the rank of Captain.  Captain John Mason passed away in Victoria on 7 September 2016, shortly before his 93rd birthday. 

The Bard & Banker Public House at the intersection of Government and Fort Streets.  Originally built in 1885 for the Bank of British Columbia and opened on 19 April 1886, the building was the second-largest  in Victoria, at 5,230 square feet.  Built of brick on a stone base, the building features cast iron columns, lintels, and sills with moulded cement renderings, along with cornices of heavy galvanised iron sheet metal, elaborate, hand-carved entrance doors and interior trim, and a rooftop decorative cast-iron cresting depicting the floral emblems of the United Kingdom, a crown, and the Canadian maple leaf.  The building continued as a bank for 126 years until the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce closed its location here on 15 January 1988.  The most famous of the bank's employees was Robert Service (1874-1958), best known as the 'Bard of the Yukon' for his poems 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew' and 'The Cremation of Sam McGee'.

A look at the rich decoration of the bar inside the Bard & Banker Public House.  After 19 years as a Spirit of Christmas retail store, the pub opened in June 2008.

Murchie's Tea & Coffee on Government Street.  Established by Scottish-born John Murchie in 1894, the Murchie's chain sells a wide variety of tea and coffee blends, as well as tea and coffee accessories.  John Murchie got his start in the tea business as a boy working for prestigious tea import merchant Melrose's of Scotland, during which time he delivered tea to Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle.  Developing an expertise in tea blending, Murchie emigrated to British Columbia and opened his first tea shop; today, the chain has nine retail stores in the Greater Vancouver and Greater Victoria area, as well as a mail order division and online shopping presence.

An interior look at Murchie's Tea & Coffee, with its historic merchant counter and shelves containing loose leaf tea and coffee beans for sale. Murchie's buys its teas and 100% Arabica coffees from the world's finest tea gardens and coffee regions, shipping the goods to its production facility in Delta, British Columbia where the teas are blended and the coffee beans are roasted. The chain offers over 130 varieties of tea and 25 coffee roasts.

Munro’s Books, housed in a neo-Classical building on Government Street built in 1909 for the Royal Bank of Canada.  Inside, the 24-foot coffered ceiling is said to closely resemble the ceiling of the porch of the library of Ephesus, built by the Romans in the second century AD, and the store is adorned with a collection of hanging fabric artworks by Victoria-based fabric artist Carole Sabiston which attract many visitors.  Munro's Books began in 1963 on nearby Yates Street and, in 1979, moved to a new location on Fort Street.  It moved to its current location in 1984 after owner Jim Munro had finished restoring the former bank branch to its former glory.  Turning over ownership of the store to four long-time employees in 2014 following his retirement, Jim Munro died in November 2016.

The historic shop of Rogers' Chocolates on Government Street, between Courtney and Broughton Streets.  After a short stint running a grocery store on the west side of Government Street, in which he stocked popular chocolates imported from San Francisco, the Massachusetts-born Charles Rogers and his locally-born wife Leah decided to begin manufacturing chocolates themselves, starting with their first creation, the Victoria Cream, which quickly became a local favourite.  Moving across the street to a new, dedicated chocolates shop built in 1903,  Rogers crafted the chocolates in the back of the shop while his wife ran the retail operation in the front.  Charles Rogers died in 1927, aged 73, and his wife sold the business shortly afterward to focus on supporting her church and local needy people, dying in 1952 at age 88.

A look inside Rogers' Chocolates on Government Street, with its dark wood display cases and mosaic tile floor.  Today, Rogers' Chocolates remains privately-owned and locally-operated, with ten retail stores in British Columbia and wholesale partners throughout Canada, as well as an online store and mail order business.  The chain still sells the famous Victoria Creams, along with Empress Creams, almond brittles, truffles, caramels, and other hand-crafted sweets.

The late afternoon sun from the west bathes the westward-facing front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, nicely showing off the Chateauesque architectural styling of the heritage building. 

Nautical Nellies Steak & Seafood House, overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour at the corner of Broughton and Wharf Streets, 20 October 2018.

The last night in Victoria called for a special dinner: alder plank halibut, served with roasted potatoes, roasted corn and carrot puree, succotash, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and a bacon jam.


  1. What a wonderful tour of this esteemed city. I especially like the fact that our curator clearly definitely stayed at the Empress hotel. This really classes it up for me and makes me think MoMi is really upping it's game.

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