A Busy Month
Victoria for the Labour Day Long Weekend
My Mom's birthday is in early September
and she is turning 75! The Labour Day long weekend is later
this year so we got together as an extended family for the
weekend. James and Jeff were missing as James had hockey
try-outs the same weekend - and he got in!
We have done a lot of the attractions in Victoria, but this one is
somewhat new. We drove the roughly half an hour from
my parents house up to the top of the Malahat and paid the
admission fee. The attraction (the giant spiral structure)
is maybe a 10 minute walk from the entrance/cafe/gift shop on an
elevated walkway through the Arbutus tree canopy.
The elevated walkway is more of an
attraction than I thought - you don't often get to see a forest
from this high up. Pretty soon the skywalk starts to
dominate the view.
It's something like what you would expect - a giant coil of a
walkway taking you up 10 stories above the ground. The ramp
really is slight, it barely feels like you are going up hill as
you walk your way up.
The top has a view of Saanich Inlet over to Sidney and down south
toward Goldstream. There is a bouncy net you can stand on
and feel the vertigo of looking down past your feet to the ground
10 stories below.
But the real attraction is about half way down the tower again - a
giant multi-story slide. To keep the burns to a minimum (and
I suspect to keep the speed down) you need to ride on a
carpet. The parents went once. The kids went twice.
One you have got your sliding out, there
is a small coffee stand at the bottom and a small
playground. We walked back to the entrance via the ground
route and drove down to Mill Bay for lunch. Good times!
Happy birthday Mom!
I've been to the Dominion Astrophysical
Observatory a few times in younger times, but I haven't been since
I've had kids. I looked it up and I found out they were open
for the weekend, but the free tickets were sold out. Their
ticket page did imply that people should return their tickets if
they weren't planning on going and amazingly, after checking back
perhaps a dozen time, we found some tickets! We were able to
eventually get enough tickets for us all to visit. As the
sun was getting closer to setting we drove up and parked just
below the peak.
We listed to a talk by Bob McDonald about
the SLS (he wasn't a fan) and then we got in line for a Dome
tour. Sadly the sky was partly cloudly so they didn't open
the Dome but they did move it around and showed some images taken
by cameras earlier in the year. The talk was quite technical
(observing the spectra on binary stars) which I quite enjoyed but
the kids found a little overwhelming.
It was clearer when we left, but it was too late to try again and
hope they opened the dome.
The next morning my sister and nephew went back to
Vancouver. We wanted to do a bit of an adventure day so we
drove out to Shirley for a walk and lunch.
Another one of those "better since I was a
kid" activities. Sandcut beach access trail and parking lot
was created sometime after the land was purchased by the Capital
Regional District in 2010. It has a nice parking lot and pit
toilet and good signage to get you started.
Being west coast, most of the trail is boardwalk - if it
wasn't it would be a giant mud pit. Besides the stumps,
there are some great old growth trees. The trail goes down
to small creek and rises up again before you get to the beach.
The beach itself is mostly rocky but there
are some sandy patches. There are giant spruce trees nearest
the water and a wide variety of kelp is washed up on the beach.
A little walk down the beach you come to
where Sawcut Creek spills out into the sand. The rock here
makes for a nice drop into a small pool but it's quite easy to
walk up to the creek level and walk back to see where the water is
flowing from. Being late summer, the creek is near it's
Looking in the cracks around where the water
flows shows a lot of different kinds of plants exploiting the sun
and moisture. Many of these plants would be completely
hidden when the flow is higher.
On the walk back along the beach we
spotted a river otter out eating and having a brief nap on rock
just off shore. The river otter knew he was being watched
but really didn't seem to care about people.
Now that we worked up an appetite, we went to Shirley Delicious
for lunch. This restaurant used to be a "well kept secret",
but it's now well known and has a long line up every day.
The seating was once inside now sprawls outside on a new patio and
picnic benches. Everyone found something tasty to eat.
After lunch we drove over to the
Sheringham Point Lighthouse to take in the view. Again, when
I was a kid, this wasn't a place you could visit. Today the
Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society has made this "by
donation" destination to visit.
They have set up a hydrophone so you can try and hear the whales
out in the straight, but sadly it wasn't working when we visited.
Using the guidance of "It's better to have a good short day than a
long bad day", we called it a day here and drove back to Victoria.
Victoria Classic Boat Festival
We had a really good time at a wood boat
Festival in Pender Habour once and my kids have enjoyed boats ever
since. Covid kind of ruined this as people are really
reluctant to give tours when your guests might make you
sick. Victoria has a Classic Boat Festival for the long
weekend so we decided to go down to the dock and walk around.
While there were a few big boats, most of these boats were family
sized setup for cruising between islands in protected
waters. Some of the boats were more than a hundred years
old. All of the them had a ton of care and attention.
Being in the inner harbour, there are lots of nice backgrounds
behind the ships.
Moon Festival at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden
Helen and I had our marriage reception at
the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden back in 2008. We have visited
many times - we went to the moon
festival back in 2013
and we have been to the Winter
Solstice Festival in 2007
. Chinese new years is also
a great time to visit (2012
been a while since we visited so decided to come back for another
The moon festival was early evening (I think doors opened at 6pm) so
the public side of the garden was closed. The pond was quiet
(the koi in the garden were eaten by river otters back in 2019)
which makes for nice reflections. We toured the garden part
including local vendors selling Chinese themed treats.
There was several shows booked for the night but the first was a
Lion Dance group. As they got setup we took a seat on the
Front row seats are awesome, but the lighting here left a lot to be
desired. The bright sky behind combined with the dark fur made
for a difficult scene.
That said, front row seats are awesome.
After the performance we got an ice cream and waited for the next
performance - a traditional Chinese Plucked Zither.
Renfrew Ravine Lantern Festival
have been to the Renfrew Ravine Lantern Festival many
past years and it's time well spent. The
event usually has a combination of lantern setups,
people carrying lanterns and performances.
Each year you see some old favorite
lanterns and some new lanterns. Last year it
rained pretty hard so I think it was the last year for
some of the classic lanterns.
This year the performance involved
improve on improvised instruments with dancers doing dance
along side. They musicians and performers started
all over the site and migrates to a central area where
they performed together and then they spread out again
over the site.
There were a few notable lantern instalations.
You want to keep your eye out on lanterns people
bring. This year I saw some bright lanterns on a
tree that looked like some sort of magical shelf
fungus. The fences along the creek usually have
paper bag lanterns, but some posts were exceptionally well
decorated. Near the bottom of the valley is usually
a larger instalation and this years water drop instal
looked great. Finally, a stump was dressed up using
wicker baskets - again, great work.
As you go up the trail back to the field, they setup a
shadow puppet screen and a small orchestra. The
crowd was loud so following the plot was quite hard, but
it's a rarely seen medium so you just want to stand and
Finally, being a harvest festival there were lots of moon
themed lanterns. The giant circular lantern is a
staple of this event, but usually someone is carrying
it. I thought it was quite brave to leave such a
large lantern just on the ground.
Drive home, kids are in bed at a reasonable time.
What's not to like?
Tags: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden(11), Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival(7), lantern(7), lion dance(6), moon(4), stump(3)
People: Claira(17), Nara(17), Marcus(6), Janet(6), Helen(6), Lloyd(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2023 to 2005 > September 2022
Last Modified Sunday, January 22nd, 2023 at 00:13:44 Edit
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