Merry Christmas from Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC

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Our visit to the Butchart Gardens last Christmas immersed us in a land of magical enchantment. Thirty-five employees worked full-time for eight weeks to create this wonder. The theme chosen was “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We found each of the twelve as we wandered about.

Eight maids a milking:

 

maids milking

 

Golden ring – yes there were five.

golden rings

 

And, driving out under these arches, the drummer boys.

 

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A bit of time travel

point ellice house

 

Since moving to Victoria, we’ve been exploring our new city and recently discovered yet another treasure – Point Ellice House. This National Heritage Site, overlooking the waters of Victoria’s scenic Gorge Waterway, exudes the peace and charm of a former time.

Peter and Caroline O’Reilly moved into the Point Ellice House in time for the birth of their daughter Kathleen December 31. 1867.  The house remained in the family’s possession for 108 years.

What makes this “museum” truly unique is that in 1975, three generations later, O’Reilly’s grandson, John, and his wife, Inez, sold the house and all its contents to the Province of British Columbia. The family left behind everything – furniture, clothing, toys, tea services, a harp, writing desks, board games, kitchen utensils, and more  – giving us a rare opportunity to see one of North America’s largest collections of Victoriana in its original Victorian home.

On seeing the parlor, my granddaughter said, “This must be the playroom!” Chess set, piano, harp, toys, tea sets … definitely the playroom.

Ellice parlour

 

http://www.pointellicehouse.ca/

 

 

Adventures in Victoria #1

 

water taxi

It’s Saturday. What to do? What to do?

A question easily answered if you live in Victoria. You get to play tourist every weekend.

We live by the water close to downtown so the logical thing to do is to buy annual passes for the water taxi which stops just steps from our building.

Saturday, we hop on and 10 minutes later we’re stepping off at the Canoe Club stop. We walk through Chinatown, always an aromatic and colorful stroll, and one block further down we come to Victoria Public Market—the main floor of the old Hudson’s Bay building transformed into a delightful array of shops, restaurants, and farmer’s stalls.

market

 

We sample cheeses, buy new dishtowels,

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chocolate and fruit from the farmer’s stalls, and savor a Mexican lunch of tacos and jamaica water, a drink we love, made from hibiscus flower petals, at La Cocina de Mama Oli.

mama oli

A quick water taxi ride and we’re home in plenty of time to enjoy another adventure in this beautiful city. Did I mention we love it here?

Look at them now!

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Twice a year Malcolm Macartney flies to the beach town of Guayabitos. Does he go to laze in the sun? To sip margaritas?  Nope. He goes to spend long hours bent over makeshift operating tables.

Malcolm and veterinary technicians from McKenzie Veterinary Services and other vet clinics in BC, participate in free spay and neuter clinics in the Jaltemaba Bay area in Nayarit, Mexico.

At the conclusion of every clinic they bring back for adoption in Canada, anywhere from 6 to 14 small to medium sized dogs. Some of these dogs have special veterinary care requirements for medical problems or surgeries that can be better performed at McKenzie Veterinary Services before they are well enough to be adopted. The Mexi-Can Vet Project adoption fees collected for each dog are passed onto JBAR—Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue—to maintain their animal shelter in that area.

And here the dogs are now, living the good life in Canada—partying at the Mexi-Can Vet Project reunion party in Victoria. A party complete with a piñata containing candy for the kids and milk bones for the dogs.

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For more information go to:

http://www.jaltembabaylife.com/community/jaltemba-bay-animal-rescue

http://mckvets.com/about-us/mexi-can-vet-project-2/videos-slideshow-photos/

Victoria – the Jewel of Canada

Empress

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We’re here! Living in the city again and what a city it is. Victoria, British Columbia—buzzing with tourists and citizens. Cruise ships, water taxis, and float planes dot the harbor. History and modernity comingle in the downtown core.

An online search will tell you that: Victoria, capital of British Columbia, is known as “The Garden City” due to the abundance of gardens and city parks, Victoria also has an impressive selection of historic sites and heritage architecture. Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. The city’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s. 

Museums in Victoria cover everything from Aboriginal culture to science and nature. This is also the home of the Royal BC Museum and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

See floral displays year-round or wander through a castle. Take a Victoria whale-watching tour to enjoy the natural surroundings and to look for Orcas, sea lions and more. 

What the descriptions can’t give you is the sense of excitement, the bustle of activity, the air of adventure … everything from the Butchart Gardens to zip lines, from the IMAX to miles of bike trails, from Fishermans’ Wharf to the Bug Zoo.

Go whale watching, take a horse drawn carriage ride, dine in one of the many fine restaurants and bistros, high tea at the Empress Hotel, coffee at Murchies …. Festivals and concerts abound—something for everyone.

Yes, we love it here already.