Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Victoria, BC

In front of the Parliament building in Victoria
Ryan and I avoided the the American tradition of eating too much pie and flying on the busiest days of the year by taking the ferry to Victoria, BC for the Thanksgiving holiday. When we stepped off the boat in Victoria, the 3" of snow looked exactly like Seattle, minus the terrible traffic and holiday madness. Victoria is a lovely town and a perfect place for a weekend vacation without having to go far. Our first sight-seeing stop was the Royal BC Museum - WOW. The cultural and natural history displays were probably the best I have ever seen. If you have any desire to go to Victoria, the museum is well-worth a visit. We loved the reconstruction of the "old town" of Victoria, the mine, and the cannery. They were all so real - even the fish guts and blood looked fresh! The totem pole room was also quite impressive. On the natural history section, the forest displays were beautiful and the beach panorama actually had real fish and sea anemonies in the tide pool.

Replica of Old Town Victoria in the Royal BC Museum

Replica of a cannery scene in the museum

Craigdarroch Castle
On our last day we toured Craigdarroch Castle (not so much a castle as a grand house). The castle was built buy a wealthy businessman in 1887-1890, who unfortunately died just months before it was completed. He left his $20 million fortune (made in mining and the railroad) to his wife, much to the chagrine of his two adult sons, starting a family feud. Today it has mostly been restored to the state it was in when the widow lived there in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and some restoration is ongoing. Amazingly, the historical society has been able to track down and recover many of the pieces of furniture and artwork that were auctioned off after her death in 1908. Being a history nerd, I love old restored houses. This one is particularly impressive and it was especially cool to get a bit of a glimpse into the life of the wealthy at the turn of the century.

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