Evening in downtown Victoria, BC

It still hasn’t sunk in that daughter #1 is now a student at the University of Victoria (UVic) and will live here for at least four years. Out of all the places she could have picked to go to college, Victoria certainly is one of the most scenic. Yes, people say Victoria is for the “newly wed and nearly dead,” but, if anything, that underscores what a beautiful spot on earth this is.

Since we flew to Victoria (3½ hours from Sacramento, provided you get a good connection in Seattle), Laura was only able to bring a limited amount of stuff. We’ve been busy getting her necessities ranging from bedding, toiletries and school supplies to a printer and a dorm fridge (yes, that’s a must-have these days). In light of a very attractive Canadian dollar, some things seem like a bargain while others are surprisingly expensive. Overall, though, going to school in Canada is such a good deal financially that I’m surprised there aren’t even more students from the U.S.

Aside from a two-day trip to Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast, we’ve been sticking close to Victoria—not that that is a bad thing. Here are some photos I took in downtown Victoria on Saturday evening. We found parking near St. Ann’s Academy, an all-girls school and convent until 1974 and now used by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. The light filtering through the trees was magical.



At the street corner was a large public planting typical of what you see in downtown Victoria.


These plantings are quite elaborate. This is my third visit to Victoria, and while the plant selection seems to vary constantly, the plants themselves always look perfectly maintained.



Seen on the façade of a building. I have no idea who this is, or what the significance is, but I loved it.

The Empress Hotel facing the Inner Harbour was covered in scaffolding during our April visit. Renovations appear to be complete now, and the hotel looks brand spanking new. The Empress is one of the most iconic hotels in Canada and one day we’ll stay there—maybe for Laura’s graduation from UVic in 2020 or 2021. That’ll give us time to save our pennies.



Catty-corner across the street from the Empress Hotel are the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, Victoria being the capital of the province of British Columbia. The plantings at this street corner are particularly lush.



This time we even had live music, courtesy of this bag piper and his drummer friend.



Dahlias and castor bean


Rudbeckias and salvia


Empress Hotel again


One of my favorite plant sightings in downtown Victoria was silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea). It struggles in the summer heat in Davis, but here it’s happy as a clam—creeping along the ground or dangling down from overhead planters. Maybe I need to accept the fact that it needs more water and a cooler climate to thrive.

160903_Victoria_0023  160906_Victoria_0002

To wrap things up, here is a panorama that shows the Empress Hotel and the Inner Harbour:


And an enlarged version of the boats in the Inner Harbour:


One of my favorite places to hang out in Victoria

And while we’re at it, here’s a map that shows where Victoria is relation to Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. As the crow flies, it’s about 825 miles (1325 km) from Victoria to Davis, California.


Map data © 2016 Google


Victoria and Vancouver Island, BC, September 2016


  1. Best wishes to your daughter for a successful college experience and education. What a beautiful place to go to school.

    1. Thank you! Classes will start tomorrow. On Friday she'll turn 18. On Saturday we'll get out of her hair :-).

  2. Now, I almost wish I had a kid to send to college...Best wishes to your daughter on her birthday and the start of a new chapter in her life (and yours).

  3. I hope your lovely daughter enjoys her college life in Victoria. You can always fork out the $$ for a 20 dollar cocktail at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress-if it's still there. Oh, by the way, the dorm fridge is for beer. Surely you recall that from your own college days ;-)

    1. The Bengal Lounge apparently closed in April.

      I did drink beer in college but I think Laura would gravitate more towards hard lemonade and stuff like that :-).

  4. Oh my, Laura seems to have picked a really wonderful looking place to spend the next four years in. She'll have a great and productive time I can imagine, helped by being in a beautiful area :)

    1. I think living in such a beautiful area will definitely enhance her college experience. Everybody has been so nice and helpful.


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