This week I took a little trip with dotter to Victoria BC. The last time I had been to Victoria was when I was still teasing my algebra teacher about his excessive sneezing so I was excited to see how things had changed in thirty years. First stop: Downtown Victoria.
One of my fondest memories of Victoria was the Crystal Garden. I remember the floral aromas, tropical plants and perhaps my very first sighting of real flamingos. This was a big deal for me as I had a children’s encyclopedia that had a picture of flamingos and the book was permanently scored to that page. I do love flamingos.
As it turns out, the Crystal Garden had closed in 1971. This meant that even when I went as a teenager, it was no longer the Crystal Garden. Surprise! By the time I visited in the early eighties, it was just a tropical garden & conservation center that had been operated by the Provincial Capital Commission. Today, the Crystal Garden is a convention center (although the sign still reads “Crystal Garden”). There are shops along the outside, including the Spaghetti Factory. Nothing like feeling out of the loop.
The Bay Centre was a mall with at least 3 stories and all the comforts of home such as familiar stores, a Starbucks and a cash machine. Dotter & her friend had fun wandering through as I purchased a magazine & relaxed on a bench flipping through it.
Eventually we were hungry & stopped at Liberty Cafe which was across from the Crystal Garden which, you know, hasn’t been the Crystal Garden since 1971. I wonder whatever happened to those gorgeous flamingos. Speaking of gorgeous…
Dotter, her BFF and I decided to choose three items from the cafe to share so we could try a variety of things. This is actually my new habit and they just look at me funny. We tried a sausage roll, a roasted tomato sandwich and this turkey & pesto number. We had no regrets. Thank you, Liberty Cafe. Thank you.
We strolled down Douglas Street quite a few times on our trip. Old church buildings always catch my eye. Always.
Chinatown in Victoria is just off of Government Street. Why, oh why, did we not go here for our Chinese dinner?
A short documentary about Victoria’s Chinatown.
Cool signs always catch my eye. Always.
On the first taxi ride to our hotel, the driver pointed out Roger’s Chocolates. On the last day, we finally wandered into the store.
It was as though we had stepped back in time with the dark, rich, glorious wood cabinetry.
Two shiny green foil wrapped peppermints and two salted caramels, pretty please. With all of the changes and surprises I found when returning to Victoria after all these years, it was a delight to find Roger’s Chocolates was still perfectly perfect after 125 years of being Canada’s first chocolates. Watch for more posts about my discoveries in Victoria this week. I won’t be mentioning any more about our scary Chinese take out experience but I will be highlighting fun things to do on your next visit.
Here is the March winner of the Trophy Cupcake gift card for a dozen cupcakes! Congratulations, Berry, start choosing your favorite Trophy Cupcake flavors!
P.S. If you’d like to see flamingos while in Victoria now-a-days, you will need to check out the Butterfly Gardens which are just a hop & a skip away from Butchart Gardens.