Vancouver Island – Gardens and the Sea

While in Victoria I booked a tour to Butchart Gardens – a national historic site of Canada north of Victoria.

Below is the sunken garden– a stunning view greets visitors as they begin their trek through the site:WP_20140531_16_20_09_Pro

Few flowers are labelled. Instead visitors can use a print guide or ask staff who are happy to answer horticultural questions.WP_20140531_17_40_45_Pro

There are many types of gardens, such as this Japanese garden:WP_20140531_17_11_24_Pro

Near the entrance to Butchart Gardens is the Butchart Boar, based on the original Porcellino (“little pig”) that sits on the south side of the Straw Market in Florence, Italy. Rubbing the nose is said to bring good luck:WP_20140531_17_05_27_Pro

Electrically powered boats takes passengers on a ride in Butchart Cove:WP_20140531_17_14_52_Pro

Italian Garden at Butchart Gardens:WP_20140531_17_22_32_Pro

On a tour in the neighbourhoods around Victoria, I take this shot of the only sandy beach in the area, here on the south shore of Vancouver Island:WP_20140528_14_56_01_Pro

This south coast is windy, and the weekend I was there I saw a kite show as well as this person preparing for kitesurfing:WP_20140528_15_14_45_Pro

Near the shore is Beacon Hill Park (which is also a short distance from downtown Victoria). The world’s tallest totem pole is found here:WP_20140528_15_16_21_Pro

At the south end of Beacon Hill Park is Mile 0 of the Trans Canada highway. This is where Terry Fox would have ended his Marathon of Hope. He would have run down Douglas Street (where my hotel was), along Beacon Hill Park, with a spectacular view to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, visible across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.WP_20140529_08_52_42_Pro

In Beacon Hill Park is the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm. On a hike I took this shot of a peacock which just hopped on a fence:WP_20140529_08_36_35_Pro

On a whale watching tour I took this shot of an American bald eagle on these rocks which are usually mostly submerged. On this occasion the tide was quite low.WP_20140601_10_34_10_Pro

From the tour boat we spot a pod of killer whales feeding off the shore of San Juan Island (an American island):WP_20140601_11_08_41_Pro

The other whale watching boats are on the chase for great views of the killer whales:WP_20140601_11_18_54_Pro

I took this shot of the head of a killer whale is it takes a look around. Note the people on San Juan Island also interested in catching glimpses of the killer whales:WP_20140601_11_53_02_Pro

Large cruise ships can dock in Victoria. For the walk to downtown, visitors from the cruise ships pass by Fisherman’s Wharf:WP_20140530_09_01_54_Pro

Near Fisherman’s Wharf one can see the many condos going up in downtown Victoria. Because of its moderate climate (Victoria is also drier than rainy Vancouver), many Canadian seniors retire here. Victoria is known as “God’s waiting room.”WP_20140530_09_04_07_Pro

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