Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ghost sign - Cartage Storage

Victoria ghost signs visible from the inner harbour...

I've previously covered 'ghost signs' here, here and here.

The sign for Cartage Storage is easily seen from various points along the waterfront and from Victoria's inner harbour. A cursory Internet search didn't turn up any information on them. Their motto/ tagline though underwhelms with the description as simply 'Careful since 1890'.

Close up of Cartage Storage ghost sign in Victoria, BC...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Englishman River Falls

Englishman River Falls in central Vancouver Island...

From Wikipedia:
"Spanish mapmakers originally named it the "Rio de Grullas," presumably because of the large number of Great Blue Herons living at its estuary (grulla being Spanish for "crane")."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mist on the water

The beacon at the end of the Victoria breakwater...
Victoria fog
Is there anything worse? Oh yes...
Ontario snow

Victoria's Ogden Point breakwater shrouded in a winter fog...

While eastern Canada and the States have been getting the sh*t kicked out of them this winter with record lows and heavy snow, Victoria is enjoying its mildest, driest winter in years. Our local ski resort is hurting due to the lack of snow -- they opened late and are now having to close runs as the little snow there is melts away. They've just slashed ticket prices in an effort to draw skiers and snowboarders which is a indicator of how desperate they are for business.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Little Qualicum Falls

Little Qualicum Falls on Vancouver Island...
Located not far from Parksville, BC...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Years ago I saw an interview with actor Richard Gere who is well-known for being a longtime Buddhist and humanitarian. He described a periodic practice of his... as he would go about his day he would offer up a silent blessing to each person with whom he came into contact throughout the day. I can't remember the exact words, but it was similar to "I wish you nothing but happiness and love in your life". He explained that it helped him feel more empathetic and more forgiving of himself and others.

The story stuck with me because in his early career Gere was frequently cast as douchey pricks... Looking for Mr. Goodbar, American Gigolo, Breathless, Internal Affairs... In my mind I just couldn't reconcile his acting roles with this practice.

However, I tried his suggestion and it really works. I tend to be impatient with people. I find that whenever I catch myself getting irritable, I will go for a walk and as I pass people I will gently extend my hand and 'pass' a blessing to them via my hand... like I'm some sort of karmic superhero. :D Sounds goofy, but it always leaves me feeling better.
This stuff is hidden in normal page view!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


How much is just one bird in the bush?

Recently in Parksville I was walking along the boardwalk. I was only a few feet from this fellow hiding in the beach grass. I was able to get one quick photo before s/he became wary and took to the air.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A visit to the faux-tropics

At one time the Crystal Garden in downtown Victoria housed an extensive tropical garden lush with broad-leafed plants and landscaped waterfalls. It was vibrant with colourful exotic birds and koi as well as a collection of primates and exotic reptiles. It was the closest thing we had to a zoo in Victoria and a great place for children to visit. Regrettably a government committee full of stupid and dull-minded men closed it and eventually replaced it with a cheerless conference centre that sits unused most of the time.

The closest we have to that experience now is Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Although it's a pale imitation of the former Crystal Garden, during Victoria's long, overcast winter when the rain falls thick and steady, it's nice to enjoy just a slice of the tropics.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spirits in the garden

Over the Christmas season, nearby tourist attraction Butchart Gardens puts on an impressive display of Christmas lighting. Admission isn't cheap though which explains why my wife and I hadn't done it in years.

This year though we went in the early New Year. It was a cold, crisp and cloudless night, but it was nonetheless crowded with families hoping that the Christmas season would linger just a little longer.

Unfortunately I had forgotten my good camera at home and was reduced to taking photos with my small emergency back up pocket camera. The gardens put on a theme centred around the Twelve Days of Christmas, including these ghostly 'maids a milking'.

Later we encountered native spirits in the form of the tall totem poles scattered throughout the grounds.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Love Bug

VW Beetle done up grunge style on the streets of Port Angeles, WA.
VW Beetle, grunge style...
Seen on a Port Angeles street last fall...

Port Angeles is located on the American side of the Straits of Juan de Fuca (a.k.a. the Salish Sea) across from Victoria, BC. It was the last stop of our American tour last fall.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Polar bears sighted in Sidney...

Bruce and Leslie looking amped before their ocean plunge...

The New Year in Victoria was marked by a number of Polar Bear Swims in the greater Victoria area. Unlike last year's swim, the Elk Lake swim had to be moved to another lake due to the presence of a noxious algae bloom in the lake.

In the meantime, in Sidney, plucky Leslie and Bruce -- less plucky, more 'are we really going to do this?!' -- were part of the contingent that actually ran into the ~~~OCEAN~~~ to celebrate not just the new year, but some big milestones in Leslie's personal and professional life.

Still smilin'