Caspar Institute logoitinerary   < 22 August Port Angeles, WA   Victoria the Main >

Victoria 23 August 2015


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Across the Strait to Canada

We were up and excited, and packed out of our cave by 10:30 ... could have been sooner. We were headed for the Main Event: the ferry to Victoria.

After checking our car at the Black Ball lot and paying our ferry fee, we had an hour and a half to wander in downtown Port Angeles. The town feels a lot like Fort Bragg economically, a lot of unrented downtown storefronts, but happy folks wandering. Stopped in for tea at a Tea Shop, and read a fascinating book, Pacific Feast: A Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging & Cuisine. Turned out the fellow who took our tea was the photographer, Mac Smith. Tried to buy the book and get his signature, but he was sold out.

Passed the lovely little town square with some of the happiest flower baskets we've ever seen, then back to await the ferry.

<p>Downtown Port Angeles</p>

Downtown Port Angeles

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<p>M. V. Coho backing into the pier</p>

M. V. Coho backing into the pier

M. V. Coho pulled in on time, and we loaded and crossed the smoky Strai of Juan de Fuca, pulling into James Bay right in the center of the city and across the street (but for a street fair and a bike race). So we bumbled off into the city, bumped up against the bike race again, pulled over and tried to put the address for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) into our nav system.

Disaster. The GPS system was not taking requests. Perhaps it got confused on the ferry? Perhaps it doesn't speak Canadian (actually, we know better.) We discovered we could use voice commands (first time ever!) to get us to Moss Street, but the AGGV wasn't on that menu either. Somehow, we got there.

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The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is housed in an old time magnificent mansion from the fur trading heydey of Vancouver Island, with a modern addition and an amazing permenent collection of Asian Art -- smaller than the Asian Art Museum's (in San Francisco) but very tasty.

But we were there for the Emily Carr. Emily was a Vancouver woman who trained as an artist in San Francisco and Paris (because women in Canada were known to be incapable of painting at the time.) The exhibit had a dozen of her best, including one of my favorites (below).

Imagine our surprise when we encountered another Canadian painter, Jock MacDonald, whose work we like just as well (even if his story isn't as picturesque. Emily didn't much like urban western Canada, and upon her return to Canada from France, she mostly spent her time in First Nation's settlements along the west coast of Canada. Jock taught painting.)

In her later years, Emily returned to the relative comforts of Vancouver, but ran a sort of halfway house for artists and unusuals, including her monkey.

<p>Emily Carr at age about 22, when...

Emily Carr at age about 22, when she set off for Paris. Photographer unknown

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<p>Emily Carr, later years, Domestic Scene (this one’s for Sienna)</p>

Emily Carr, later years, Domestic Scene (this one’s for Sienna)

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<p>Jock Macdonald: Drying Herring Roe (1938) and “Automatic Drawing” (inspired by Grace Pailthorpe, 1945-46)</p>

Jock Macdonald: Drying Herring Roe (1938) and “Automatic Drawing” (inspired by Grace Pailthorpe, 1945-46)

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Somehow we found our way to the Empress through the maze of central Victoria without our GPS -- it appeared to recover as soon as we got here -- and we thankfully parked our car for a couple of days. Setlled in. Got some decent internet. Walked out to dinner at il Terrazzo, a few blocks around James Bay. Another awesome meal.

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<p>Left to right, Caprese Salad, Risotto della casa, Scallopini maiale (pork)</p>

Left to right, Caprese Salad, Risotto della casa, Scallopini maiale (pork)

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<p>View from our room at sunset</p>

View from our room at sunset

A windy walk back to our room while the sky caught fire. The House of Parliament lit up like Christmas, and the town quieting down. Still, it's a big touristy city, and a day will be enough. Tomorrow is the day this whole trip's centered around: Rochelle at high tea at the Empress.

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