Sunday, 7 August 2011

Fisherman's Wharf - a Great Afternoon out for a Victoria Tourist

Victoria Tourist - Fisherman's Wharf Sign

A ten minute walk from the BC Legislature is all that it takes to get to Fisherman's Wharf. An eclectic mixture of places to eat, a bounty of pirate treasures, fresh seafood, marine tours and unusual houseboats.

On this visit to Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf, we were seduced by the smell of the fish and chips at Barb's Place - Fish and Chips. Barb's is fish and chips is rather well known so be prepared for a bit of a wait. Order early and spend the time taking in the rest of the sights. Oh and one more piece of advice, order extra coleslaw it is fantastic.
Victoria Tourist - Barb's Fish and Chips

For the young and young at heart, a set on board a pirate ship and help the crew look for solve the mysteries of a treasure map, find the loot and defeat an evil pirate with water cannons. It makes me wish I was 8 years old again.
Victoria Tourist - Pirate Adventures

If you want to take home a bit of the sea with you, there are numerous options for fresh sea food as well as crabs right off the boat.
Victoria Tourist - Crab

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Walk among the flowers in Victoria for FREE

Victoria Tourist - Esquimalt Flowers
Tourist flock every year to Victoria, and a great number of them head up highway 17A to make a horticultural pilgrimage to Butchart Gardens.  However, Victoria already has some of the most beautiful landscaped walks that you do not need a pass to enjoy.

Victoria Tourist - More Esquimalt Flowers

I remember being taken as a child to Butchart Gardens and I will my new impressions of it in the future. Yet at this time of the year, why spend the money on an admission pass when there are so many flowers and trees in bloom? Sure there may not be the Latin names and descriptions to go with wild flowers, but if you look for botanical life you will find it growing in the strangest of places.  It is fantastic.

These are photos taken during a half hour walk along the edge of Esquimalt.  Come and visit, it is all here for you to enjoy.
Victoria Tourist - Sea Plane

Monday, 25 July 2011

Thetis Lake... actually lakes. Great stroll, paddle, swim or tan near Victoria, BC

Victoria BC Tourist - Thetis Lake Title

We were looking for a place away from the typical tourist haunts and wanted to immerse in a bit of British Columbia wilderness.  Fortunately we remembered a sign for Thetis lake last time we drove up island and decided to take a look.
Victoria BC Tourist - Thetis Lake Map

Thetis Lake Regional Park

A 15 minute drive (~10 kilometers) from downtown Victoria, what's commonly referred to as Thetis lake is actually a pair of lakes (Upper and Lower Thetis Lake).  There are a couple of small sandy beaches that were full of sun worshipers on the day we visited.  The smaller beach seemed like a popular spot for locals to bring their dogs to play in the lake.  If you forgot to bring a snack, there were two mobile food venders working this weekend, selling the typical burgers, fries and pizza.  Around the lakes are a network of very well maintained trails, though we stuck to the main ones bordering the lakes.  It's an easy stroll among the Garry oaks, firs and pine trees which make the 4 kilometers around the two lakes seem much shorter.

We'll definitely be going back.  Hope you will enjoy this gem too.
Victoria BC Tourist - Thetis Lake Woods

Note - if you are driving out of Victoria on the Trans Canada Highway #1 take Exit 10 onto the Old Island Highway, and then turn right at Six Mile Road (The Six Mile Pub is a good marker).

Sunday, 24 July 2011

It's just how the rhubarb crumbles

Some days you are just in the mood for some something sweet.  At least for us, when the weather is this hot then chocolate loses its magical appeal.  What to do? What to do?  With all those delicious summer fruits around it's such a good idea to use them in a dessert dish.

It's so simple to make

Well here's an easy recipe that always does the trick for us.  If you can safely use a knife and can turn on the oven then you are our type of kitchen buddy.  Think way back to those Home Ec cooking lessons that you took in junior high-school.  There's a good chance that fruit crumbles were on the menu.  If you could do it then...

We usually have most of the ingredients already around the house, but for some you might have to hit the local grocery store.  The beautiful thing is that you can replace the fruits that we chose with things that you already have at home.  However, in our humble opinion the rhubarb and ginger work beautifully together.
Victoria Tourist - Preparing Rhubarb Crumble


350 F/ 175 C. Prep time 20 min; Cook time 40 min.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup regular oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (1/2 cup in topping, 1/2 cup with fruit)
  • 10 pieces of candied ginger (in syrup if you can find it)
  • 5 stalks rhubarb, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 sweet apples or pears (whatever you have on hand), peeled and diced into pieces
  • Handful of summer fruits - strawberries, raspberries etc. (optional)
  • Juice and zest of one citrus fruit (orange or lemon)
Fruit crumble is a classic tongue pleaser and even better because it is so easy to make.  This recipe is very flexible, but plays off the tart rhubarb, sweet apples and the spicy ginger.


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1. Prepare the rhubarb and fruit: add the rhubarb, apples, citrus juice, zest and desired berries into a large pot and cook on medium heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. While waiting for the fruit to soften, start preparing the topping.

2. Cut together the butter and white flour with a couple of butter knives until the texture resembles breadcrumbs.  Chop the candied ginger into small pieces.  Try not to eat all the candied ginger.  Add the ginger, cinnamon, oats and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar to the butter/flour mixture, stir until combined.

3. Layer the fruit mixture into a 2 1/2" deep pan (eg. 10" pie plate or casserole dish) and cover with the oat topping. 

4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling at the edges and the crumble is brown on top.

Try serving with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

Bon App├ętit!
Victoria Tourist Baked Rhubarb Crumble

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Summer = Festivals

Victoria BC Tourism - Victoria International Buskers Festival Title
Victoria International Buskers Festival 2011
To really appreciate how many things are going on in Victoria it would really help if you are unemployed. There is really no shortage of entertainment as you walk down the street of Victoria and this week is especially full of great entertainers.

This year Victoria host its inaugural Victoria International Buskers Festival.  For ten days large crowds of people peering over, under and in between their neighbors has become a very common site around the downtown harbor.  It's likely only a handful in the crowd came down specifically for this entertainment, but the performers managed to wow crowds ranging from bright eyed toddlers to seniors in their mobility scooters.
Victoria BC Tourist - Busker and Audience

From the few shows that I have watched the variety included a rather affectionate juggler, a contortionist from down-under and soul moving guitarist.  Now this is an amazing line up of free acts.  I guess whether you tip or not depends on you and if you felt entertained.  By the looks of things, many people enjoyed themselves.

I hope to see this festival become an ongoing part of the Victoria calendar.
Victoria BC Tourist - Busker in Mall

Friday, 22 July 2011

New beginnings...

They often say that starting is the most difficult part of any journey.  Well this is my journey and I hope to share it with you.  It's just a cornucopia of things big and small that I think make life amazing. Join me?

Victoria BC Tourist - Panoramic photo of Victoria Harbor

Call me Ishmael. (Herman Melville Moby-Dick). All this happened, more or less. (Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five). I have to defer to the great classics for a memorable opening line. The above are great, but for our purposes I will "borrow" from Joseph Heller's Catch-22, "It was love at first sight." That how I felt when I drove into Victoria.  I didn't yet have the keys nor need to see the inside of our new place to feel that Victoria is going to be home.

It is easy to fall in love with this city.  Just look at the panoramic shot taken one evening.  People come from around the world to visit and I think that there are plenty of reasons why.  It's the weather, the natural beauty, the art, the epicurean delights and above all the people.

So that's it, I'm smitten.  Stay tuned and I will explore some the highs life here has to offer.