Meanwhile, I keep discovering pockets of color all over Victoria. Originally a hospital, the venerable St Joseph Apartment Building on Humboldt St has several cherry trees that are in full bloom now. What a spectacular sight!
The forsythias aren't half bad either!
Government Street, Victoria's biggest shopping street, connects the Inner Harbour with Chinatown. It has a few flowering cherries, too, but the standout plants right now are dozens of European hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus) in very large planters. They're in the very early stages of leaving out, but they still look like an oversized Q-tips to me. I don't mean this in a derogatory way. Quite the opposite. I'm fairly obsessed with them and took lots of photos.
|On the left, you can see the Empress Hotel, on the right the British Columbia Parliament Buildings|
|Q-tip trees and the BC Parliament Buildings|
|Munro's Book, rated one of the top 10 bookstores in the world by National Geographic. Munro's Books was started in 1963 by eminent Canadian writer Alice Munro (winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature) and her then husband Jim.|
Moving on to Chinatown, we're missing the majestic flowering cherry spectacle we enjoyed so much last year. But Victoria's Chinatown, the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's, is a must-see destination at any time of year. Yes, there are plenty of tourist shops, but it looks like it's still home to a vibrant Chinese community.
|Chinatown is the place to come when you have a craving for durian fruit. I still haven't worked up the courage to try it.|
|The entrance to Fan Tan Alley is so narrow that two people have a hard time passing each other unless they're very skinny. Fan Tan Alley houses a number of small shops.|
|Rook & Rose, one of daughter #1's favorite stores in downtown. Unfortunately, we were pressed for time but I hope to get a chance to go inside on a future trip. (Coincidentally, the Sansevieria trifasciata 'Bantel's Sensation' on the left is a plant I'd been looking for for a long time. I finally found a smaller one a few weeks ago at Poot's Cactus Nursery in Ripon, California.)|
|At first I didn't pay much attention to this building at the corner of Store and Pandora St but then I noticed the over-sized terracotta flower pots on either side of each balcony window. I wonder what people plant in them?|
Look for one more "Vignettes from Victoria" post on Friday.