When it became official that Andrew and I could travel out of province with our nice little vax cards (meaning, no need to isolate upon arrival, as per regulations at the time) we booked a cheap July flight to Vancouver and decided to take the ferry to see Victoria for the first time in our lives.
I also disappeared from my blog for a bit there. These events did in fact coincide. Here is what we did!
We visited Canada’s oldest Chinatown and the tiny street of Fan Tan Alley.
I greeted the gates to Chinatown at sunrise.
At night, Andrew and I emerged to take a walk. We visited Emily Carr’s house.
And Alice Munro’s bookstore.
We got sweaty at Butchart Gardens.
Were total nerds at Miniature World in the legendary Empress Hotel.
Went to the wharf for some seafood which I was stoked about.
I high-fived a bear in a pandemic mask.
And we had pints and poutine at Garrick’s Head Pub. This is the same pub where convicts would have their last meal prior to their hanging in the heart of old Victoria.
And then… well, I will be honest with you. When I learned that Andrew was going to visit with an old friend, I decided to not be a third wheel, and rather go adventuring on my own. So, I looked up Haunted Victoria (of course I did) and decided I must find and walk down Helmcken Alley where a prisoner was murdered in the 1860s. Other accounts say there are bodies of prisoners buried in this alley. Apparently it is very spooky so I was delighted to find it and walk down it. It was the last alley I located and it is not marked at all. (But now that I know where it is, it seems obvious!)
Apparently this is a spooky spot too, near Bastion Square.
And THEN I learned of a very curious park in Victoria. It’s not just any park. It is called Pioneer Square. But a better name for it would be Pioneer CEMETERY because it is actually a cemetery that was levelled by the city and made into a park instead, a very long time ago. When I read about it, I thought oh, I wonder if I’ll be able to tell that it’s actually a cemetery.
Um, yes, I could tell:
There were tombstones all over the place and you could tell it’s made up of a ton of unmarked graves too.
Yes… it is very obvious that this is a cemetery and not a park. I visited it twice, actually. At night it was disturbing because it looks like some people make their homes behind the tombstones after the “park” closes. One emerged and followed me for a few blocks, which I did not appreciate. (It was a human, by the way.)
As I was hurrying away from Pioneer Square, I looked up at this church a few blocks away. I’m sure it has its own stories to tell but I did not stick around long enough to learn them. It was a music conservatory. (Or, so said the sign which I read as I marched by without stopping.)
We had a lovely time on our little getaway and I was so pleased to indulge my love of pioneer cemeteries even while on vacation. Now I am back at it!
Hunting for Tombstones at Night