Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Couple More Weeks

All of a sudden – geez we are only going to be out for another couple of weeks and there was still so much we wanted to do.
Son-of-a-Gun, we were not going to let the soggy weather keep us down!!
The Totem Poles at Duncan
When we were here in 2007, Duncan was a place we kind of missed.  The weather was horrible (worse than this year) and the Cowican Village was not really open. I slogged around in the mud through a few buildings but never really spent as much time there as I wanted to.
So the next sunny day we went to Duncan. When we stopped into the Visitor Information Centre for a map of the totem poles, they told us that the Village had been closed down.
So much for that idea. But we did manage to wander around and capture some of the 80 or so Totem Poles throughout downtown Duncan.
Cedar Woman and Man
The Friendship Pole
Raven’s Gift
Sea and Sky
Transformation in Life
The Totem Pole collection is on traditional Quw’usun’ (Cowichan people) lands. According to their oral tradition the Cowichan people have lived on this land since the beginning of time. Quw'utsun' in the local Hul'q'umi'num language means ‘sun warming the back’.
Duncan is known as the ‘City of Totems’ is an on-going project to develop the largest outdoor collection of publically displayed Totem Poles.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

More of Our Island Story

Vancouver Island is big (32,134 km2 (12,407 sq. mi) 460 kilometres (290 mi) in length, 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width at its widest point. There are about a dozen or so inhabited islands in the Strait of Georgia and all sorts of ferries that transport people and things between and among the islands and over to the Mainland of BC.

 Nanaimo is the hub for shopping. It is reputed to have more shopping centres per capita than any other place in Canada. So it is the place to go.
 I was surprised to find out that the ferry coming into Nanaimo is considered part of the Trans Canada Highway and if you go south to Victoria it continues as the Trans Canada but if you go north it becomes highway 19. All kinds of things surprise me, the speed on that highway is 120 km/hr – imagine!!
Mind you, there is a lesser traveled road called the Oceanside Route that wanders in and around the many settlements and villages along the shore.
French Creek is one of those places between Parksville and Qualicum Beach. It is where many of the fishing boats bring in their catch and where you take the walk-on ferry to Lasqueti Island (home to a small population of farmers and artisans). We wandered down there to see the eagles when the herring was supposed to be running but the run never happened there this year.

 When we were at the French Creek Marina, we were talking to Dorothy and her Mom who run the store on Lesqueti Island. They were taking supplies over on the walk-on ferry. We talked about Lesqueti being off the grid and, darn it, they wouldn’t want it any other way!! “Come and visit”, they said.
BTW French Creek has the best hidden Seafood Shop on the Island.
The weather hasn’t been the greatest but one cold and windy day, we checked into Rathtrevor Beach and just happened to see this brave and crazy fellow set up his para-sail and cruise into the icy water.

There really is nothing like the west side of the Island and our visit to Tofino and Ulculet reinforced the allure of the rage and serenity of the ocean.
We toured many of the beaches along the coast and realized we probably have as many photos of the ocean as we do of sunsets. And like sunsets, the ocean is always fascinating, intriguing and never the same twice.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Qualicum Beach - Out and About

My brother told me that the locals call Qualicum Beach, Q Beach so I will too. We'll be here for over six weeks, so we're not residents but we do feel more like locals than strangers. Q Beach has a population of between 8000 and 9000 and is reputed to have the oldest average age (around 61) of any place in Canada.
Historically the Salish people had inhabited the Qualicum Beach area for hundreds of years. The word Qualicum means "Where the Dog (chubb) Salmon Run" in the Pentlach language. It is considered within the traditional territory of the Qualicum First Nation.
In 1886 a road reached Parksville and was extended to Qualicum in 1894 and the arrival of rail service in 1914 boosted the tourist trade.
BuenaVista by the Sea, the place we are staying, is one of the oldest still-operating resorts was built in 1937.

I'm not sure if we fit in but we have been out and about almost every day doing what we usually do – tour around and find sights that interest us. It is definitely different from the desert!! 

Everywhere you look there is special manicured garden spots and invitations to beautify.

Downtown is filled with specialty shops of all sizes and descriptions and coffee shops in almost every nook and cranny.

The aisles in the local grocery store are extra wide to accommodate the numerous walkers and over at the hardware store, they have a special place for customers to park their scooters. 
As with most smaller communities, Q Beach has its Farmers Market filled with home-style type products. 

I was so tickled when we discovered the Salvation Army Thrift Store Boutique. 
Doesn't that say it all - a trendy senior community!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Qualicum Beach – Our Home Away from Home

We actually left Victoria much sooner than we anticipated. Change in circumstances - brother and sister-in-law came home a couple of weeks earlier than they expected. Lucky for us, the place we had reserved Buena Vista by the Sea could squeeze us in for that extra two week.
So we spent a few days with Stan (my brother) and Patty (his wife) and then headed up the east coast of Vancouver Island to Qualicum Beach and (Buena Vista by the Sea).

The Island Highway #1 comes out of Victoria and becomes the infamous 'Malahat' - a 25 km (15.5 mi) portion of the Trans Canada Highway 1 running along the west side of Saanich Inlet. It climbs to a summit of 356 m (1,156 ft), and the mountain is considered one of the most sacred sites on southern Vancouver Island. Its name comes from the Malahat First Nation, whose ancestors used the caves for spiritual enhancement.
There are many things to see and do along the 3 hour trip to Qualicum Beach but right then we wanted to get unpacked and settled.
Aw-w-w, it was not to be. The folks who were in the suite we were supposed to go into had been in a car accident and Claire (the owner) being Claire, offered us an upgrade for two weeks to let them stay there until the lady healed enough to move. So that was our introductions to the place. We were assigned the Red Room and it is more than comfortable.

We had a stone patio that led into the backyard and the gate out to the beach and the ocean.
Buena Vista by the Sea was built in 1937 and is considered one of the oldest still-operating resorts in the area. It was scheduled to be torn down when when Robbie and Claire took it over about 25 years ago.
As one of the housekeepers said, “you wouldn't believe these rooms when you see it from the front.” They are so inviting and warm. It is built right on the old Oceanside Highway with barely enough room to park a car, let alone the kind of trucks people drive today.
It took us a few days to discover Qualicum Beach (QB) because somewhere along the way, the screen on my laptop cracked (we have no idea how that happened). As Sheila would say, “just give her a computer and she is happy.” Needless to say, I was not a happy camper and nothing else was going to get done until my computer was up and running. I am now the proud owner of a brand new computer but it took a lot of travel time to and from Nanaimo to get that together.
We have become mesmerized by the ever-changing ocean: the waves; the birds and the people who constantly stalk the beaches.
 The Ocean

 The Birds

The People