Nine days in Victoria can give you a complex about the rest of the World. It is so beautiful – even on grey stormy days.
Nine days in an Arena can also give you a complex – nine hours of curling draws was a little much – but we did it! We only missed one and one half of the draws and games.
There were two hours between each draw and we flocked outside to walk and wonder and see Victoria. The Arena is about 20 min walk from the Inner Harbour and the downtown of Victoria. Menzies Manor was about 20 min walk from the Inner Harbour on the other side of the James Bay area of Victoria. I spent quite some time in the Inner Harbour area – either walking too and from the arena and our suite or just plain shopping around the downtown.
The Inner Harbour
The Fairmount Empress Hotel, the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings are the Cornerstones of the Inner Harbour and the heart of downtown Victoria. All of these building are at three corners of Government and Belleville, with the Inner Harbour being the fourth corner.
The Parliament buildings are spread out behind and to the side of the main building. There are parking lots next to old carriage houses; modern building beside the old; new plantings and ancient trees co-exist side by side; everywhere, the old and the new are blending into a harmonious visual whole.
The Royal British Columbia Museum is housed in a building too small for its many exhibits and like most museums so much is housed behind the scenes. The grounds contain a longhouse and totem poles, a bell tower and many quiet area’s to sit. There have been rumours of expansion, but like everything else money is tight and the arts will suffer. What has been created is a new website for the museum and archives. It just went on-line today!
We did not visit the Museum this time. We have been there often and will go again many times – the IMAX is a popular draw – we talked about it, but there was just so much to do that it never quite happened.
Tea at the Empress will have to wait until the next time I head to Victoria. It is not the best tea in town, but it does happen with the most pomp and ceremony and is truly something not be missed.
Downtown has the best shopping and restaurants in Victoria City Proper.
I am only a little biased. There are a many areas in Metropolitan Victoria, but I know and love the downtown. When I was at UVIC I lived downtown and walked everywhere. That was 32 years ago but it hasn’t changed much! LOL!
Every corner store on our walk from Menzies Manor, through James Bay to the arena sold flowers. There were buckets to choose from out front. You don’t see that in many places anymore.
There are the standard malls and chain stores but there are also art galleries, tourist traps, and small gems of stores that sell the unique and beautiful. All within a block or two of the water.
There are tea stores. From the veteran Murchies to the new David’s Tea and Teavana. I shopped them all. Bead stores as well; there are three within 3 blocks of each other, Beadworld, The Bead Store and Victoria Bead Town Designs. Victoria Bead Town had a great selection of the sizes I like to work with in Miyuki beads and Czech Crystals as well.
Victoria abounds with great restaurants. It is foodie heaven. All of these restaurants, except the Chinese one, are within walking distance (15 to 25 min) of the arena.
The Mint Lunch – once. The Mint Lunch is relatively new, only about a year old. But the Mint, downstairs is looking at its 10th year in business. I had eaten at the Mint several times over the years and had enjoyed the Nepalese styled food many times. I was really looking forward to trying out the Mint Lunch. I was not disappointed. Fresh, clean flavours, and the menu items are reasonably priced.
The Black Olive – three times. Mediterranean style food, with a quiet atmosphere and great service. We tried the specials and the menu items. Enjoyed dinner there each time we went; there were still a few things that I would like to try. Maybe next time we are in Victoria.
Johns Place – twice. Went for dinner and came back for lunch. Fabulous food and friendly fast service. Has been there for a very long time and is well-known for its breakfast in particular. Menu items ran the gamut from the basic to the old-fashioned, including a meat loaf sandwich that was almost more than my husband could eat. It was always busy and tables are not intimate, but the surrounding are light and bright.
Halibut House Chinese Restaurant – really that was its name. It really does Fish and Chips as well, but I did not try those. A small, local place on Quadra St. that my Aunty took us to for supper one evening. The best Chinese food I had eaten in ages. I kept the take-out menu. I want to go again!
Pescatores – once – but saved the best for last. Saturday evening, after the last draw of the day we went out for a special meal. We had reserved a table for 4 for 8 pm and were very glad that we did. They were crazy busy. They have a reputation for serving some of the best seafood in the city and they did not disappoint. Once seated the service was fast, friendly and efficient, Melanie, our server, had worked at Pescatores for 4 years, loved her job and was very good at it.
The atmosphere was rich in colour and texture, the ceiling fans, which were all strapped together, each powering the other, had me fascinated. The art on the walls was interesting and the dark woods added to the richness of the room. The menu focused on seafood, local and imported and let us know which item was sustainably harvested. There were lots of standard seafood dishes and quite a few unique ones as well – there was even an obligatory steak or chicken dish for the dinner who really wasn’t in the mood for seafood. Everyone enjoyed something different – that was easy as the selection was broad. No one really wanted to share as we were each enjoying our choices. Wonderful.
I did have some arena food. How could I not! It always smells so good! One day I had a hotdog with fried onions, mustard and relish. And popcorn – I had popcorn twice!
I was in Victoria to watch the World’s curling, but it was only a part of what I was doing.