Friday, May 27, 2011

Viva Victoria

4th May: Day 5

The fire fairies have struck again; a building under construction in Richmond which we drove past when we were lost burnt down during the night ...

Our full day in Victoria was partly spent in the company of an internet contact who I met through a mutual interest in the early history of British Columbia; my great-great-grandfather was responsible for mapping the border between the US and Canada along the 49th Parallel - using astronomical instruments to decide exactly where the twenty-foot wide strip of forest should be felled to mark to boundary - all the way from the coast into the Rockies, in a dead straight line to the border with Alberta. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to visit the area. Anyway, this chap Simon is extremely knowledgeable about the period and very kindly drove us around to see various places my ancestor would have known. This small marker is the remaining one of three which were the starting point for the triangulation.

He was also very handy for giving us the correct pronunciation of the place-names in the area, which I only knew from my ancestor's letters. I'd always assumed that Esquimault was pronounced Eskimo, but instead it's Esk-why-malt. (In the 1860s this was a particularly insalubrious area, mainly populated by "Indian prostitutes and fornicating sailors". Luckily it's improved since then!) He also runs a very popular (judging by the length of the queue) fish bar on the harbour, called Red Fish Blue Fish and he treated us to excellent fish and chips.

As well as all this we splashed out (possibly the wrong turn of phrase!) on a floatplane sightseeing flight over the area, (somewhat smaller than the last plane we went on!)

as well as finishing yesterday's multicache by visiting Spinnakers brewpub then enjoying a very pleasant walk back into town for dinner, watching the funny little bumble-bee ferries buzzing from side to side of the harbour.


omally said...

Both your Big Kid grins in the piccies are a treat to see :) so chuffed for you that yo had a whizzo time :D

Trouty said...

It all sounds fantastic and how interesting about your great great grandfather. (I'm a family history buff too!)

Peter (Mr Hedgehog) said...

Looks really really fabbo... Going green with envy at your Twin Otter floatplane flight... lovely