Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

View from Malahat Lookout


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Malahat Lookout and Duncan BC – 25 September 2017

On our second Monday in BC, the weather was overcast. We had decided to head north to Duncan to visit the a Glass Factory, BC Forest Discovery Centre and the Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre. Our plans for the day did not work out quite as intended. Drive north from Victoria to Duncan along the Trans-Canadian Highway (Highway 1), we stopped first at Malahat Lookout. The low cloud meant that the long distance views could not be seen, however the cloud effect across Saanich Inlet to Brentwood were captured.

Brentwood from Malahat Lookout

Brentwood from Malahat Lookout
25 September 2017

Having picked up a leaflet in Victoria our first stop was at a Glass Factory. Unfortunately when we arrived, it was closed and there was no sign of any operation. We proceeded to Duncan and parked in the car park that is shared between the Tourist Information centre and the BC Forest Discovery Centre. The Discovery Centre was closed. We had been misled by the web site which inferred that it was open on Mondays, however we missed that it closed for the season on 24 September, the previous day. The Tourist Information was very helpful, and informed us that the Glass Factory had closed permanently earlier in the summer.

We were able to take a few pictures of the Discovery Centre from the Car Park. A Shay Locomotive and Log Carrier were on the intersection corner.

Shay Locomotive and log carrier.

Shay Locomotive and log carrier.
25 September 2017

As a bonus there was a MGB Roadster in the car park.

MGB Roadster in the car park at Duncan BC

MGB Roadster in the car park at Duncan BC
25 September 2017

Diagonally across the intersection is a Tim Hortons, which we visited for late elevenses prior to visiting Pacific Northwest Raptors, of which more in the next installment.

Miniature World


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Miniature World, Victoria – 24 September 2017

On the north side of the Empress Hotel, is Miniature World.

There are a wide range of exhibits, starting with some space dioramas immediately after the pay desk to Rails across Canada, Wonderful World of Circus, various War themed models, Fairy Tales and Camelot. You can spend ages looking at the detail. There is also detail that is noticed in the pictures long after the visit. Here is a very small selection of photographs:

Space Ship

Space Ship
24 September 2017

Car Show

Car Show
24 September 2017

Last Spike at Craigellachie

Last Spike at Craigellachie
24 September 2017

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle
24 September 2017

Three Ring Big Top

Three Ring Big Top
24 September 2017

Medieval London Bridge

Medieval London Bridge
24 September 2017

30 Years War

30 Years War
24 September 2017

American War of Independence

American War of Independence
24 September 2017

American Civil War

American Civil War
24 September 2017

World War 2

World War 2
24 September 2017

World War 1

World War 1
24 September 2017

The Wild West

The Wild West
24 September 2017

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales
24 September 2017

Camelot

Camelot
24 September 2017

Some of the dioramas are relatively modern, whilst others reflect the time of construction. Specifically The Wild West was one of the original dioramas constructed in the 1970s and reflects the terminology used then. This is preserved to reflect the viewpoint of that time.

There is a lot to see with the pictures above are a taster of what is on display. The photo galleries listed below amplify this, but are still a small selection of views.

Horses on Parade


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BC Law Enforcement Memorial Service – 24 September 2017

Every year the BC Law Enforcement forces hold a service of memorial on the last Sunday of September. In 2017 this was held in Victoria.

Having left Christ Church Cathedral, we reached the road in front of The Empress Hotel as the dismissal parade had commenced. First came the motorcycle riders.

Motorcycle Riders

Motorcycle Riders
24 September 2017

Then came the colour party with all the various standards of those organsiations represented.

Massed Colour Party

Massed Colour Party
24 September 2017

The sound of the pipes came round the corner with the Pipe Band leading the ranks of participants marching to the dismissal point in front of The Empress Hotel.

Pipes and Drums

Pipes and Drums
24 September 2017

There was a small horse borne contingent which posed for pictures afterwards.

Horse borne contingent

Horse borne contingent
24 September 2017

On the south side of the BC Legislature there are memorials to those who have given their lives in the service of British Columbia. Several days later we took a closer look at them.

West End of Christ Church Cathedral.


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Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria – 22 & 24 September 2017

We paid three visits to Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. Once on 22 September and twice on Sunday 24 September (for morning Eucharist and Choral Evensong). As our accommodation was on Rockland Avenue, it was a simple case of heading downtown along Rockland Avenue to Christ Church Cathedral.

The Main Altar was used for the main service Sunday Eucharist, which was led by the Dean, Margaret Ansley Tucker.

Main Altar

Main Altar
24 September 2017

The current building dates from 1929, however the east end is more recent dating from 1980 when the previous wooden east end wall. The original design for the east end was not followed, and the complex included a chapter house, sacristy, washrooms and other associated rooms. Above the chapter house is the Chapel of New Jerusalem with some magnificent modern stained glass windows at the East End. As you enter the building, these are one of the first thing you see, above and behind the Main Altar.

East End Windows in the Chapel of New Jerusalem.

East End Windows in the Chapel of New Jerusalem.
24 September 2017

Walking into the nave and then looking above the west end door is the main organ and choir balcony, surmounted by the West End Rose Window.

Main Organ and the West End Rose Window.

Main Organ and the West End Rose Window.
22 September 2017

The pulpit was carved from a single piece of oak imported from England. At 500 years old when felled, the wood was seasoned for 30 years before being carved. The three coats of arms on the panel are, from left, those of the Dioceses of Canterbury and British Columbia and those of the family who donated the pulpit. On the vertical panel supporting the canopy is the coat of arms of the Cathedral.

The Pulpit of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria.

The Pulpit of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria.
24 September 2017

To the south of the Main Altar is the Chapel to St Christopher where Choral Evensong was sung. The east end of the chapel is an organ, although the Choral Evensong we attended was accompanied by a chamber organ and sung by the St Christopher Singers.

St Christopher Chapel and organ.

St Christopher Chapel and organ.
24 September 2017

The west end of the church is on Quadra Street.

West End of Christ Church Cathedral and Quadra Street.

West End of Christ Church Cathedral and Quadra Street.
24 September 2017

North of the cathedral across Rockland Avenue and also on Quadra Street is Pioneer Square, which is an old burying ground of Victoria. This was the main cemetery to Victoria from 1855 to 1873. The southwest corner feature Naval graves as ship’s crew felt their colleagues should be appropriately remembered.

Artistic display at Oak Bay Marina


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Oak Bay – 23 September 2017

A quiet afternoon when we headed to Oak Bak, which is the east of Victoria.

Oak Bay Floral Display

Oak Bay Floral Display
23 September 2017

The village is bisected by Oak Bay Avenue which has a large number of interesting shops and eateries.

Shop Display in Oak Bay

Shop Display in Oak Bay
23 September 2017

We went back several times to sample the food from:

At the east end of Oak Bay Avenue is Oak Bay (the expanse of water) at the south east end of Vancouver Island. Looking out from the Oak Bay Marina Car Park there is an archipelago of small islands, close by is Harris Island, then a bit further out is Great Chain Islands and its accompanying Chain Islets. Chatham Islands and Discovery island complete the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve.

Looking out on Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve.

Looking out on Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve.
23 September 2017

Beyond the islands is Haro Strait through which the border with the United States of America passes and San Jaun Island beyond. It is in that area when had gone Wahle watching five years previously.

Craigdarroch Castle


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Craigdarroch Castle – 23 September 2017

Around 10 minutes (500 metres) from our accommodation in Rockland area of Victoria is Craigdarroch Castle. Built by Robert and Joan Dunsmuir, who had moved from Nanaimo to Fairview near the BC Legislature Building in 1885, and commissioned the construction in 1887. Unfortunately Robert died before construction was completed in 1890.

Formal Entrance to Craigdarroch Castle

Formal Entrance to Craigdarroch Castle
23 September 2017

On the north side of the building is a formal entrance, whilst on the south side is a small garden. This garden is all that remains of the 28 acres that Robert Dunsmuir had acquired.

The history of the building is coloured by the fact that Robert Dunsmuir did not leave the castle (or the rest of his estate) to his sons as he said he would, rather it was left to his widow Joan. The resultant rift between Joan and her sons affected her over the rest of her life. Soon after the death of Joan in 1908, her daughters sold the Castle and its lands to a local real estate developer. This resulted in the 28 acres being sub divided and sold, whilst the castle was raffled. The winner – Solomon Cameron – lost the castle to the Bank of Montreal as a result of unpaid debts in 1917. From then until the 1970s the castle had various institutional uses, including:

  • Military Hospital from September 1920
  • Victoria College from 1921 to 1946
  • Victoria School board from 1946 to 1960s
  • Music Conservatory from 1969 to 1979

The Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society was established in 1959, and also used part of the building from 1969. In 1994 the City of Vistoria sold the castle the Society for One Dollar.

The visit starts at the main entrance, and there is a self guided tour which takes you around mainly the family areas of the house up the main stairs. Some of the rooms retain their decor from when the School Board were tenants. At the top there is a large room with a new stair in the corner to take you around they other side of the house down the domestic stairs to the kitchens and finally the obligatory shop.

Some of the formal areas of the castle feature the original design of wooden panelling as can be seen with this picture of a coat stand.

Wooden Coat Stand

Wooden Coat Stand
23 September 2017

As well as wood panelled walls, the castle features stained glass windows.

Wood Panelling and Stained Glass

Wood Panelling and Stained Glass
23 September 2017

Craigdarroch Stained Glass

Craigdarroch Stained Glass
23 September 2017

More wood panelling and stained glass.

More wood panelling and stained glass.
23 September 2017

From the top of the stairs you get a good view down of its aspect.

Looking down the main stairs.

Looking down the main stairs.
23 September 2017

Heading done the back stairs you are treated to more of the domestic side of the Castle, including the pantry.

Cutlery laid out in the pantry

Cutlery laid out in the pantry
23 September 2017

One of the last rooms that is seen is the Servants’ Dining Room.

Servants' Dining Room

Servants’ Dining Room
23 September 2017

One quirk that is noted in the main dining room is there is a door to the outside, however when you observe it outside it is several metres above ground level.

Outside of Dining Room Door

Outside of Dining Room Door
23 September 2017

There is a lot to see in Craigdarroch Castle, and our photo album only gives you a taster. If you want to prepare youself for a visit the Castle Web Site will help, however nothing can equal a visit.

View of Sky Pilot Mountain from the Spirit Trail Viewing Point


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That was 2017

2017 was a mixed year regarding posting here. The highlight of the year was our trip to British Columbia in September, however the low point was the sad loss of our Red Tabby, Cosmo.

As well as regular visits to St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, Glasgow Cathedral (The High Kirk) and Southwark Cathedral, visits were also made to five other Cathedrals – two in Canada. Although a lot of pictures were taken some have yet to find their way onto the on-line gallery, especially St Albans Cathedral.

The year started with friends visiting from Lancashire, and so on January 2 we undertook a day trip to Edinburgh.

One O'Clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle

One O’Clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle
2 January 2017

January 2017
Whilst postings were chronicling our holiday in Whitby during September 2016, the highlight of the month was a visit to London at the end of the month. This included a trip to Chelmsford Cathedral.

Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral
27 January 2017

This was not our only church visit, which also included Corpus Christi at Covent Garden

Pictures from the month

February 2017
February was mild and the garden started to emerge from its winter hibernation.

Emerging Rhubarb

Emerging Rhubarb
26 February 2017

It was also a quiet month for the camera, with few pictures taken.

March 2017
With the month being warmer, street entertainment was evident in Glasgow, including this group – Rollin’ Dromes.

Rollin' Drones in Buchanan Street

Rollin’ Drones in Buchanan Street
25 March 2017

There was also an opportunity to let Cosmo out into the garden.

Pictures from the month

April 2017
April as well including Easter, heralded the first visit of the year to Porthmadog. On Palm Sunday weekend, we visited St Albans Cathedral on a sunny afternoon.

West End of St Albans Cathedral

West End of St Albans Cathedral
8 April 2017

As with all trips to Porthmadog, the current window display at Glosters was captures.

Selected Pictures from the month

May 2017
May featured a concert at Glasgow Cathedral. Considering where the performers were located, there was a new location for the camera on the ledge in front of the West End doors. After the service there was still residual light after sunset.

Glasgow Cathedral at Dusk

Glasgow Cathedral at Dusk
27 May 2017

Selected Pictures from the month

June 2017
On the first weekend of June we visited London, including a day trip to Peterborough to visit the cathedral.

West End of Peterborough Cathedral

West End of Peterborough Cathedral
3 June 2017

The journey back to London was not without its challenges. Due to a person being hit by a train near Welwyn Garden City, the train was diverted resulting in us not getting back to our hotel a lot later than expected. However on arriving back at the London Bridge Hotel (where we were staying) there was a lot of police activity. Due to social media and 24 hours news coverage we discovered that we were in the middle of the aftermath of the London Bridge incident were a van was driven into various people. We wrote more about this in the blog.

Later in the month featured visiting Dundee with GCCS to record a CD and another visit to North Wales.

Pictures from the Month

July 2017
Our walk to Stwlan Dam on 29 June was abandoned due to bad weather, however whilst on our way home we saw it from the south.

Stwlan Dam

Stwlan Dam
1 July 2017

Due to work commitments there were rare opportunities to take pictures during July.

August 2017
Later in the month Cosmo started to suffer from poor health, and although we did not know it at the time this was one of the last pictures we took of him.

Cosmo on the garden bench

Cosmo on the garden bench
10 August 2017

There was another trip to North Wales and the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, including more pictures of the Glosters window. A sunny day enabled a walk to Stwlan Dam, and at the end of the month the Manchester Cathedral Voluntary Choir visited Paisley and Glasgow.

Pictures from the Month

September 2017
Sadly at the end of August Cosmo, our Red Tabby became ill and after a short illness passed away in early September.

At the end of the month we visit Vancouver and Victoria for two weeks. Many pictures were taken and many blogs are being written.

Water Taxis in Victoria Harbour.

Water Taxis in Victoria Harbour.
28 September 2017

Pictures from the Month

October 2017
The final trip to Porthmadog for 2017, and another Glosters window to capture.

Halloween Window display at Glosters

Halloween Window display at Glosters
31 October 2017

In October, the travelogue of the British Columbia holiday in September was started. This was still ongoing at the end of 2017, and will continue into 2018.

Pictures from the Month

November 2017
Poppet, a chocolate British Shorthair Tabby joined us during the month

Poppet

Poppet
14 November 2017

As well as Poppet, we received a cermics delivery from Glosters and a friend took up a honorary post at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Pictures from the Month

December 2017
With the 24 December being a Sunday, there was combination of Advent 4 in the morning and Christmas Eve, with Crib Service and Carol Service, at St Mary’s.

Before the Carol Service at St Mary's

Before the Carol Service at St Mary’s
24 December 2017

Pictures from the Month

Both Cosmo and Poppet had Facebook pages created for them during the year:

And so the roundup of the year finishes with a memory of Cosmo in the Garden during the summer, and a pose from Poppet in the dishwasher, yes the dishwasher as she decided to help emptying it.

Cosmo & Poppet

Cosmo in the Garden – 25 July 2017
Poppet in the Dishwasher – 30 December 2017

Victoria Harbour Floral Display


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Victoria Harbour Tour with added seaplanes – 22 September 2017

On the Friday afternoon after the Victoria Sightseeing Tour and lunch, we headed to the boardwalk where the Victoria Water Taxis tie up. These little 12 passenger craft scurry around the harbour all day, including giving tours of the harbour (out towards the Westbay Marina in the west) and “the gorge” (through the inner harbour towards gorge park). On this occasion we went on the Harbour Tour.

Victoria Water Taxi #13

Victoria Water Taxi #13
22 September 2017

Heading out from their jetty across from the Empress Hotel, the first thing you notice is how close the seaplanes are.

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FHAA (309) and Kenmore Air DHC-3 Otter N90422

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FHAA (309) and Kenmore Air DHC-3 Otter N90422
22 September 2017

The tour first went to the north side of the harbour towards the Johnson Street bridge.

Johnson Street Bridge

Johnson Street Bridge
22 September 2017

From there we headed west along the north side of the harbour. The seaplanes use the centre as a taxiway and sometimes as a runway.

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FIUZ (306) and Water Taxis

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FIUZ (306) and Water Taxis
22 September 2017

At the west end of the harbour we headed into Westbay Marina where many houseboats and boats are moored.

Houseboat at Westbay Marina

Houseboat at Westbay Marina
22 September 2017

Heading back out into the harbour we had to wait for an aircraft to land before heading to the south side. Whilst crossing we got a view of the cruise ship that was in port, the Norwegian Jewel.

Norwegian Jewel at Victoria Cruise Ship terminal.

Norwegian Jewel at Victoria Cruise Ship terminal.
22 September 2017

We were then treated to an aircraft taking off at close quarters.

Harbour Air DHC-6 Twin Otter C-FGQH (604) taking off.

Harbour Air DHC-6 Twin Otter C-FGQH (604) taking off.
22 September 2017

The tour then followed the southern side, stopping at Fisherman’s Wharf before returning to the jetty at the Empress Hotel, once again passing a taxiing seaplane with another water taxi close by.

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FIUZ (306) and Water Taxi

Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter C-FIUZ (306) and Water Taxi
22 September 2017

Empress Hotel viewed from a water taxi

Empress Hotel viewed from a water taxi
22 September 2017

Taking just over an hour on a sunny afternoon, this is a great way to see around the harbour. It is also a great opportunity for plane spotters. If you wish you can hop-on and hop-off at the various landing stages along the route, which many people do, especially at Fisherman’s Wharf.

"Surfacing" - Victoria BC


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Downtown Victoria – 22 September 2017

Between our trip on the Sightseeing Bus and an afternoon trip on the Victoria Water Taxi around the harbour we went for a walk around downtown Victoria, getting lunch on the way.

Empress Gardens

Empress Gardens
22 September 2017

After getting off the bus at The Empress we walked up Government to the intersection where the plant sculpture “Surfacing” featuring an Orca is located. Carrying on we visited Rogers Chocolates, were we bought a selection of Victoria Creams. The advantage of visiting the shop is you can select your own flavours and there is no need for a gift box.

Continuing up to the intersection with Fort Street, we got a drink and snack from Starbucks in The Bay Centre. Whilst sitting in the centre, we noticed the central clock harks back to the origins of the shopping mall, The Victoria Eaton Centre 1990.

Victoria Eaton Centre Clock

Victoria Eaton Centre Clock
22 September 2017

Lunch break over, we browsed the shopping mall, stopping at Purdy’s Chocolates – yes another chocolate shop – before heading back out onto Government Street.

On the south west corner of the intersection of Government and Fort is the Bard and Banker. The building opened in 1886 as the Bank of British Columbia, it remained as a bank until early 1988. For nearly twenty years it was a Spirit of Christmas store, becoming a public house in 2008.

Bard and Banker

Bard and Banker
22 September 2017

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Along the west side of Government street we noted the period buildings including Morris Tobacconist;

E.A. Morris, Tobacconist

E.A. Morris, Tobacconist
22 September 2017

..and Munro’s Books of Victoria.

Munro's Books of Victoria

Munro’s Books of Victoria
22 September 2017

Returning to the Harbour, prior to the Water Taxi Harbour tour we checked out the tourist information centre on the corner of Government and Wharf. On the walkway by the Water Taxi boarding point is one of the “Hands of Time” by Crystal Pryzbille, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of Victoria. We did not seek out the others, which will be on our todo list next time we visit.

The Hands of Time - 10: Holding a Mirror

The Hands of Time – 10: Holding a Mirror
22 September 2017

After returning from our Harbour Tour, we headed back up to the pavement across from the Empress were we saw a totem pole and The Peace Tulip Garden (although the time of year meant there were no tulips to be seen).

Kwakiutl Bear Pole

Kwakiutl Bear Pole
22 September 2017

The Peace Tulip Garden

The Peace Tulip Garden
22 September 2017

An evening meal was calling. A wide selection is available in downtown Victoria, ultimately we selected Darcy’s (partly since we picked up a discount voucher in the Tourist Information Centre).

Darcy's Pub

Darcy’s Pub
22 September 2017

Following our meal, we walked back to our accommodation in Rockland.

More of the Water Taxi Harbour Tour, and the Victoria Seaplanes to come.

Hop-on, Hop-off Bus


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Victoria Sightseeing Tour – 22 September 2017

Our first full day in Victoria and we walked from our accommodation in Rockland to downtown Victoria to take the sightseeing tour. We selected the open topped double deckers, from Sightseeing Victoria, that started outside the Empress Hotel opposite the harbour.

Starting point outside the Empress

Starting point outside the Empress
22 September 2017

The tour starts by heading north into the Old Town and the Chinatown area.

Chinatown Arch

Chinatown Arch
22 September 2017

As we heading out of the old town we noted a street with rainbow crossings.

Rainbow Crossings in Victoria Old Town

Rainbow Crossings in Victoria Old Town
22 September 2017

The tour then turns south round the harbour past the BC Legislative Building (which we visited a few days later) and we saw the Johnson Street Bridge in the lifted position.

Johnson Street Bridge

Johnson Street Bridge
22 September 2017

The route then followed the south edge of Victoria Harbour to Fisherman’s Wharf and then to the Cruise Ship terminal before heading back into downtown Victoria past the Christ Church Cathedral and onto Fort Street to Craigdarroch Castle. Heading west onto Oak Bay Avenue and then Oak Bay Marina.

The next section of the tour was a long run to Beacon Hill along the shore roads which gave views across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Across Strait of Juan de Fuca

Across Strait of Juan de Fuca
22 September 2017

At Beacon Park, we past the Mile 0 marker which is the end of the Trans Canadian Highway all the way from the Atlantic.

Mile Zero Marker

Mile Zero Marker
22 September 2017

There is also a memorial to Terry Fox who, in April 1980, started a coast to coast Trek Across Canada from the Atlantic Ocean near St. John’s in Newfoundland. With failing health has was forced to stop near Thunder Bay in September 2010.

Terry Fox Memorial (with Japanese Tourists)

Terry Fox Memorial (with Japanese Tourists)
22 September 2017

After circumnavigating Beacon Park, the tour went north along Cook Street and returned to the Empress Hotel. Many of the places we passed, we would visit in the coming days including Fisherman’s Wharf, Craigdarroch Castle and Oak Bay.

Unlike other open top double deckers (including many Routemasters) we have come across in Canada, this one was built as a left hand drive, rather than being an imported UK double decker.