Trans Can HWY #15: Oh, Canada!

Two years ago this past August, my mother and I ventured on a cross country trek in my brother’s Jeep across Canada. We drove west from southwestern Ontario to Vancouver, BC over the course of two weeks, and then down to northern California to meet up with the men in our family. The following are taken from emails I wrote to family and friends.

Day 15:  Tuesday, August 14, 2012

IMG_3812We have made it to Victoria and she whispers sweet nothings in my ear. I know I’ve been saying this since Canmore, but I really can see myself living at (on?) this end of Canada. Un jour peut être.

Had a late start – busy doing some freelance work stuff, making calls and what not. We had decided in Ladysmith the day before that we wanted to drive the scenic Pacific Marine Circle Route. Given the late start, we shouldn’t have. Drove south to Duncan, west on the route to Cowichan Lake and then south around to

No go beach day

No go beach day

Port Renfrew and back east to Sooke and then Victoria. We did stop at Fairy Lake, I made mother do so. We assume it is called such as the woods you have to go through are of that rich green mossy-covered ethereal variety. Yum. We met a retired couple camping there that saw our license plate and started a convo – they’re from the Ottawa Valley and one of their kids went to Brock and lived in Korea. I thought I might know him – Ian Stewart? Not so much. Also stopped at China Beach Provincial Park to hike down to the water – we thought we would have a beach day, or at least spend an hour basking in the sun. Not so much with that one either. Icy cold winds blew off the Strait of Juan de Fuca. ICY I tell you. Icy.

IMG_3843Eventually made it into Victoria – I said, “Before we do ANYTHING, let’s drive to the 0 km point of the Trans Canada Highway… please.” And so it went. There was some nice signage indicating the start of the highway, in a park by a cliff at the end of Douglas Street, with a statue of Terry Fox and a couple other placards of other people who have traipsed on foot and made the journey.

Snapped some lovely photos of the Parliament buildings, as well as a statue of Queen Victoria. Wandered to Emily Carr’s house, it

Ms. Victoria and Parliament

Ms. Victoria and Parliament

was closed for the evening (5 minutes before we arrived), but that was okay, we had a walk around the garden and read a handful of plaques strewn about. Walked back to the Royal BC Museum grounds to see Helmcken House (one of the oldest houses in BC still on its original site) and then drove to Craigdarroch Castle. Large and in charge. Very ornate and very Victorian – I kept thinking I was on the set of Downton Abbey and would

bump into Mr. Bates or something…  Mr. Dunsmuir (owner) was a coalminer that happened to be in the right place at the right time – he found a coal seam and being business savvy exploited it to his benefit. In the late 1800s his net worth was estimated to be $15-$20 million. Lordy. Sadly, after he and his wife passed, his adult children

Emily Carr home

Emily Carr home

didn’t want to split up the property, and so they auctioned everything off over the course of three days. Today, they have bought back a lot of the original pieces/belongings as well as have made copies of original pieces, and/or bought similar pieces, as the historians have a copy of the original auction book to work from. Nifty.

Moms and I got glammed up this evening. I mostly wanted to, just to have been able to say

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

I wore everything I packed and nothing was brought unnecessarily. We went out to Chinatown for some dins. This Chinatown being the first in Canada! Makes sense of course, given China is a mere hop, skip, and a swim away.

Helmcken home

Helmcken home

I learned that evening that the ferry we wanted to Port Angeles from Victoria was booked and so we had to take our chances and hope we’d get on the 6:10 am one. They were no longer taking reservations and the Black Ball ferry line reserves up to 80% capacity and then it’s first come first serve. We made it on. I’m writing from some small town, ghetto motel, a couple hours south of Seattle.

 

To bed. xo

 

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