Goals and plans

are sometimes dismissed as fantasy that may never come true. But they are usually very positive and heartening, and can be quite achievable, especially in the relatively short term.

I am looking forward to an upcoming spring getaway to Victoria, my favorite go-to place via plane. It is a short 1 1/2 hop to and from and the offerings and rewards are many. Butchart Gardens is a no-brainer: the most colorful and beautiful man-made place in Canada. Sumptuous afternoon tea at the Empress along with a stop at the tea shop and a walk through the hotel is always fun. Not to be missed is the best miniature historical museum in Canada on the north side of the hotel.

The main street’s quaint shops and harbourfront adjacent to the Empress is a nice place to shop and people-watch. And one can catch a harbour ferry back to the Inn at Laurel Point which has scenic grounds and the best view of the outer harbour from one of its three Laurel Wing Sunset Room terraces where I’ll be staying again.

It is also always a slice to try the many eating places and tea shops of Victoria. The BC museum and Robert Bateman museums on the inner harbour are both worth stops. The former’s  facsimile of a train station with ‘trains’ running through it and the miniature version of Edmonton’s Princess Theatre with a Chaplin feature also work well.

If you’ve never taken the horse-drawn carriage ride with a narrator through the back streets, you’ve missed out on a special historical experience. The Emily Carr House and the local gallery of her art are also a real treat. On the carriage ride you pass it and Mile One of the Trans-Canada Highway. The James Bay area is likewise worth a look; there is an incredibly cozy teahouse right on the main drag.

Well, you get the idea: ambient spring weather in Canada’s most scenic city with smooth roads and sans skyscrapers. Just writing all this has cut a nice inner swath into the -20/-30 temps outside here today in ice-bumpy Edmonton.

I will conclude with the point that it is always nice and buoying to have something pleasant, beautiful, laid-back, and interesting to look forward to in winter. Something that hugely lift the spirits and prepare one for one’s own spring gardening once the long hard prairie winter is o’er.

(the famous Carr statue with pet dog and monkey on her shoulder at the Empress)


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