Victoria

I flew into Vancouver in the morning, and met my parents at the airport as they were collecting a rental car. We then drove straight to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

We took the car ferry to Swartz Bay, on Vancouver Island. The ferry passed a pod of orcas and we saw a few in the distance. As the ferry approached the bay, it passed many smaller islands, making the journey quite scenic.

Ferry

We then drove to Victoria, and checked into our Airbnb. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, and despite its relatively small size is the 15th most populous metropolitan area in Canada, with a population of 370,000. This says something about the general lack of metropolitan areas in Canada.

In Victoria we went to have a look at the parliament building and the harbour. The interior of the parliament building wouldn't have looked out of place in England. It even had a portrait of the Queen. The First Nations canoe on display would look a little more out of place, though.

From the harbour we went on a seaplane tour. The plane was dropping some people off at The Butchart Gardens for dinner, so our tour included two take offs and two landings. As it was close to sunset, the views were pretty good. On the way back I sat in the co-pilot seat, which was interesting as it meant I could listen in on the pilot's communication with air traffic control. In addition to sharing the landing "strip" with other seaplanes, seaplanes have the additional challenge of avoiding boats and ferries in the harbour. Despite this, the pilot managed to taxi the plane whilst filling in paperwork.

Plane

View

The next day we went on a food walking tour. It started in the public market, went through Chinatown, and ended up at the harbour. It was really good, and included tasting some local beer, as well as food. Particularly good were the perogies: Eastern European dumplings that have somehow become popularised in Canada. We also had some biscuits, which are completely distinct from British biscuits, and are more like scones.

Biscuits

In the afternoon we went to The Butchart Gardens (where the seaplane had stopped the previous day). They were quite unusual compared to gardens in Britain, mostly due to their heavy usage of blocks of begonias, and other colourful tender plants. They did look impressive, and very colourful, but not particularly natural.

Gardens

Tomorrow we leave Victoria, and head for Tofino. The remainder of my plans in Canada can be seen on the following map, after which I fly to Honolulu.

Map