The 5th Annual ACFA Cruise
All photos are copyright Ann Wortham – All Rights Reserved.
Victoria, British Columbia
Most of the small pictures can be clicked on in order to bring up a larger version of the photo. Please take a look at the larger versions in order to fully appreciate the details! I’ve also provided links to various areas of interest. The links will be underlined. Just click on them to visit those sites!
Many cruise ships leave for Alaska from the port of Vancouver and one of their stops is at Victoria, B.C. Because our ship was leaving from Seattle (one of the first cruise ships to call Seattle “home” port), we were going to stop at Vancouver as a port of call…leaving no time for an extra stop in Victoria. So, Leah and I spent one of our Seattle days taking an all-day excursion to Victoria. Early in the morning, we traveled down to the pier and caught the Victoria Clipper for a 2½ hour catamaran ride to Victoria. The ride was a fun adventure in and of itself, although the trip back later that night was more of an ordeal (the boat was packed with students from an elementary school outing)! If you click on the Victoria Clipper link above, you can even see a live view of the Victoria harbor.
The one place I most wanted to see in Victoria was the Butchart Gardens. We were lucky enough to book a spot on a tour which included an all-around overview of the city (mostly driving around and pointing out sites of interest) and a trip to the gardens.
When we reached the gardens, our bus driver/guide told us we had two hours on our own to tour the beautiful premises. He gave us a few hints on the best course to take in walking around the huge facility as well as some history of the place.
I love the way the water reflects the flowers and the trees in the photo above. It’s such a perfect representation of the absolutely sparkling weather we experienced throughout our entire trip, no matter where we traveled. Everywhere we went, from Seattle to Alaska to Canada, everyone remarked on how unusual it was for the weather to be so clear and mild at this time of year. We always seem to be lucky when we travel and this trip was apparently no exception!
The Butchart Gardens came to life when Mrs. Jennie Butchart decided to beautify her husband’s played-out limestone quarry by planting flowers and trees in 1904. The Butchart’s owned a cement factory and were evidently quite well-liked in the area where they had settled. When Mrs. Butchart had finished her “little” project, she had turned 50 acres of ugly hole in the ground into a gorgeous garden!
The Butcharts were very popular in the region and it became a common occurrence for folks to drop by to see the gardens. Mrs. Butchart would give them a tour and then serve them tea. When the visitors began to number in the hundreds every day, it became too much for her to handle. So, the Butcharts decided to open the gardens to the public and they allowed people to take self-guided tours. Unfortunately, some people began tear up the grounds as well as even steal items. When six out of the eight Pekingese dogs the Butcharts owned turned up missing, they closed the gardens to the public for good.
The gardens remained closed until the deaths of Jennie and her husband. They were opened again by their heirs and turned into a paid attraction. According to our guide, there are about eighty acres of trees and flowers and they are maintained by a year-round staff of forty gardeners!
After a couple of wonderful hours at the Butchart Gardens and the remainder of our city tour, we were dropped off back at the Inner Harbor. The impressive Empress Hotel dominates the waterfront here. It was built around 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway so that their passengers would have a nice place to stay. The trademark white globe cluster Victoria style lamps you can see in the photo made their appearance around 1913. I loved seeing all of the horse drawn carriages around this area, although we never did manage to catch a ride in one.
Like the Butchart Gardens, the grounds of the Empress Hotel were bursting with colorful spring flowers. We ambled through them and then into the hotel, where we found a fascinating little museum-like shop full of native-made sculptures and artwork. A very obliging salesman told us about each item we expressed an interest in, including facts about the Native artists and the Canadian materials used. He kindly gave me permission to take some photos.
We had hours and hours left until our evening boat back to Seattle, so we headed to the shopping district. Our first stop was at a little sandwich shop our guide had recommended. The food was strange (shrimp and avocado sandwiches) but wonderful. Then we shopped our way up one side of the street (Rogers’ chocolates… yum!) and back down the other. Leah met up with this “bear” outside one of the stores!
We finally hobbled back towards our pier. Along the way, we stopped to admire this totem pole in a little park across from the Legislative Buildings (you can see them in the background). While we stood there next to the Harbor, a seal swam past, poking his head up to see what was going on! Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera focused, he had dived underwater again.
Don’t stop now! Our Adventure has just
started! Click below to go to Page Three!
Our Cruise Begins!
Check out our Arkansas road trip page for more nature photography:
And our Colorado page for even more nature photography: