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 A Breathe of Fresh Air:  Victoria British Columbia

Arnie Greenberg

Imagine yourself at MILE ZERO of the Trans Canada Highway on which you can travel all the way to Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast, thousands of miles away.

I had been there before but ageing and memory play tricks on one. Also, one has to realize that when one finds the ‘perfect Eden’ there are quick changes and population growth. What draws both residents and visitors to Victoria BC is its location, it’s climate and it’s ambiance. There are buskers on the street, souvenir shops galore, world class restaurants, wonderfully designed museums, some of the best west coast hotels and a summer of light, sea breezes and moderate climate.

What more can one ask for?

Located at the southern tip of a very large (Vancouver) Island, it is relatively easy to get to by ferry from the east or the south. Hence, there are tourist busses from the USA, parts of Canada and tour groups that arrive from places all over the world. There is a bustle of people but never a feeling of overcrowding.

Government Buildings by night facing the harbor

Once you get to the main harbor you see many of the sites worth visiting. Of course the great government buildings face the harbor as does Queen Victoria’s monument set as a memorial to the city’s namesake and the effigy of a welcoming monarch. Even the great cedar standing at her side boasts over a thousand lights at Christmas.

Also on the harbor front is the impressive Empress Hotel where people book long in advance for accommodations or perhaps a taste of British tea and scones. It’s a tradition as you sit on the balcony watching seaplanes land through tilting trees reaching for the sun or gigantic colorful whales sculptured from shrubs and welcoming all.

Empress Hotel

Salmon is king in this Pacific mecca but all forms of see life add to a balanced diet including, squid, halibut, snails, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins all those sea creatures we dream about but never see, let alone eat.

Condos are being constructed along the sea wall with exposures to the setting sun. Rents are rather high if you want a view or more than average space but the architecture is unique and, Victoria , while old and remodelled, is being redesigned for the future.

In the center of the city is the great Royal BC Museum and about 15 miles north is the world famous Butchart Gardens easily reached by car, bus or one of the many tour facilities.

The museum traces the history, major events and visual projects showing how the early natives lived. It also shows the animals of the region found throughout the region or ones that lived before man settled in this part of the New World.

The directors have set out their priorities for the future with new exhibits to be complete by 2015. It is an ongoing process that looks to the past and to the future.

There is a helicopter pad on the roof and special environmental control facilities within the exhibit areas. This is done through cooperation with government partners like BC ferries, BC Hydro, Canadian museums association and the Canadian Heritage Information Network. But private institutions have helped bring the story of BC to millions. They are budget Rent-a Car, London Drugs, Canadian Heritage CIBC and Shaw communications. They all work towards a common goal 

Upon entry to the museum, I expected to see totem poles, underground huts and Indian masks. I did, but only after I faced the welcoming exhibit of John Lennon’s Yellow (Submarine) car.

Once inside, I was able to see something of the country’s original inhabitants, sea and land creatures. There were ancient fossils, totem poles, Chinese opera

Costumes, Haida Gwaii ermine, bone blanket pins and furniture. Some of these items were donated by historical families.

Truly, there is something for the young and old including an Ornithology exhibit that contains about 39,000 bird skins, 4,000 skeletons, 2,000 eggs, nests and various specimens preserved in alcohol.

Add entomology (insects) ichthyology (fish) paleontology (animals) botany (plants) herpetology (reptiles & amphibians, zoology (animals) and about 21,000 specimens of mammals.

One learns that there were at least 88,000 people living in BC before the arrival of Europeans. By 1885 only 28,000 remained. Hopefully breakthroughs in medicine will allow future generations to flourish.

Royal BC Museum
675 Belleville Street (Victoria’s Inner Harbour)
Victoria, BC, V8W 9w2

Phone: 250-356-7226   or 888-447-7977
Web:  http;//www,    (Includes entrance fees)

For Art lovers: See website for the Emily Carr: The other Emily

exhibit concerning Canada’s greatest woman artist

For archives Access Services contact: 


You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2015 06:38:58 AM
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