We’ve never been to Canada. And we wanted to go. So, we left the motorhome behind at my friend Cody’s house and took a bus into Seattle to catch a ferry to Victoria, BC. My thanks to Cody for waking up long before the crack of dawn to drop us off at the bus stop. Knowing we’d rather be tired than late, we arrived an hour early to the pier. Running off fumes of espresso and salty sea air we boarded the ferry.
Canada is a country full of friendly people. That’s a fact. Or at least an opinion. One of the two. That is my (and Nate’s) general impression of the extraordinarily small cross-section we saw of this vast country. Our experience with the friendly people of Canada began as soon as we boarded the ferry. Crossing the waters of Puget Sound, we made several new friends who were happy to help us get oriented to Victoria.
Oh yes, and I just remembered… we saw orcas! About 30 yards from the boat a small pod was swimming the same direction as us and let me tell you. It was cool. People were scrambling up and down the aisles to get a glimpse and snap a picture (ok mostly me and like one other guy but still…). Actually though I only got a video which is fine, except now I need to start posting videos. Stay tuned.
Victoria is a beautiful city, I highly recommend visiting. I could see why it’s known as the city of gardens.
There is a lot to do within walking distance downtown. Ok, it sounds like a tourist trap, and probably is, but Miniature World was actually way more fun than I expected. It’s a hundred different miniature scenes depicting anything from fairy tales to a real working mini saw-mill. They have historically accurate recreations of battles from the Civil War and many others. It’s weird. But somehow really entertaining.
I’m also really happy that we made time to see the Royal BC Museum. It was, hands down, the most interesting and interactive museum I’ve ever been to. And yes, before you ask, I’ve been to other museums. Half of it is natural history, with ancient creatures as well as current wilderness scenes. There is a marine biology lab that makes you feel like you’re in the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and it was easy to see how much fun it was for children (and me!).
The other half was devoted to human history. It felt more like we were on the set of an historically accurate movie than in a museum. You can wander from a room detailing the Native cultures of BC into the hull of a ship from the early 1800’s, through china town and into the silent film theatre, where you can actually sit and watch Charlie Chaplin. We spent hours in the museum but could have spent many more.
Also attached to the BC Museum is a huge Imax movie theatre. The room is immense, the seating is on such a steep slope that you have no one obstructing your view, and the quality of the picture is incredible. We sat down right in the middle, next to an elderly couple who smiled and indicated the seats were not saved. The film we saw documented the nearly impossible task Canada faced when they built their transcontinental railroad. They took us along the route with an old steam engine, revived and working as it did 70 years ago. The images they got were stunning. Having an old steam engine chugging through the beautiful landscapes of the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains. After the movie was over, the old man sitting next to me, his face flush with emotion, turned to me and said, “And you can say you saw that movie while sitting next to one of the people who lived it. I was an engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.” I couldn’t believe it.
Well after the movie, it was time to say goodbye to Victoria. We left on the ferry bound for Seattle, taking with us great memories of our foray into Canada.