Sea planes, sea taxis, fish shacks, and houses that float are the urban sea life in coastal Victoria. Even though it is March, the harbour walkway is still busy with tourists, travellers, and Vancouver work commuters, with seas planes taking off and ferries coming in.
The municipality’s artistic dolphins, the world’s ‘smartest animals’, line the historic downtown water walk (in other cities it is cows and pigs), and you know where you are based upon the dolphin there – the mosaic or the animated?
Here, there are some of the best ‘fish and chip’ shacks in the area. The day we visit, ‘Red Fish, Blue Fish’ is busy with lunch until 3p.m. when they swing their wooden shutters closed, and the eaters waddle away.
At the B.C. museum, located between the provincial parliament buildings and the Empress hotel (from the exterior stone it is difficult sometimes to tell which is which), we sit on the third floor in the aboriginal and indigenous peoples’ exhibit listening to taped stories of ancestors speaking. The room is dark. There are masks in front of us in the case, and as each voice comes on, a mask lights up. If you are a storyteller, a writer, a person who remembers listening to your grandparents’ stories, sit here. The voices are mesmerizing, and the stories of greed, love, creation, and betrayal are the sparks of novels.
Hand-carved canoes and home entry-ways made of totem poles stand in front, and we walk through a bear, a seal, and a white man to head down the escalator to the urban view once again.