Victoria Day Parade and wrap up

Alrighty so let me continue where I left off!
In the morning when I went down for breakfast I noticed that the streets were quiet but that there were people and families setting up chairs and blankets by the side of the road. I then realised how big this parade was going to be. After eating I rugged up with my scarf and jacket and gloves and headed out into the street. There were huge crowds and the parade had started!!


The floats were hilarious! Everyone was waving and having fun.

I’m not sure what the requirements were for being in the parade, but every average joe seemed to be there!! Local business owners and a lot of people had come across from the USA to perform.

Even the mysterious stonecutters/freemasons made an appearance! I forget their real name.

There were cheerleaders,floats, bands, bagpipes, flags bearers, dragons, everything you can imagine!!


I watched for about an hour but they were still going strong for a lot longer. I decided to head to the Royal BC Museum, which was absolutely amazing!!! There are 2 levels of exhibits and so so so much to see. They have diaramas of animals in their native habitat.

WOOLY MAMMOTH!

NOOOOOOO BADGER. EHHHHH BADGER. BADGER!!!!

Awesome!! They have a ship you can walk through, old towns with artifacts set up that look so real. They had a huge section on native first nations and there was an area with different masks that featured narration by the people with stories etc. I sat there in the darkness listening to them speak and I cried. It was incredible.

So then I decided to go back and buy some art from the market. I got there and there was only about 3 stalls left, but one guy was selling the carving that I wanted to buy. After standing there for a while he told me I could pick it up and so I did, and told him I wanted to buy it. He smiled at me and asked me where I was from. I told him Australia and that made it easier for me to ask him a few questions. I asked what clan he was from, how long he had been carving and who taught him to carve. I walked away feeling better about things, and with a beautifully carved hummingbird.

I decided to get a sundae from an old soda shop I walked past, so I got one called Muddy Sneakers which was choc and vanilla icecream, hot fudge, caramel sauce, cream and marshmallow on it. WOW it was yum hahaha.

I also went thrifting and ended up finding a vintage 70’s floral dress from a consignment store for $10. Bargain!
And that was pretty much my trip.

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Where to begin? At the beginning!

I’m going to have to cut this down into a few posts because I have so much info and pics and not enough time. SO here is the long version first day of my trip to Vancouver Island.

Wow, Vancouver Island is beautiful! It has such a big British influence, and with lots of English tourists too. It is, afterall, the capital city of British Columbia!
I got the fancy pacific coach bus from Vancouver and it drove me to the ferry. Sitting up so high and in my comfy seat it made me want to do some more bus touring – like maybe a coach trip somewhere? I’m investigating!! Anyway, we then got to walk around for an hour and a half while the ferry went along.

It was HUGE! Like a mini cruise ship!

It had about 4 restaurants and shops and then another level on top with just seating.


This is what our ship looked like (another one passed us)

We passed through all these little islands with houses and it made me think about the people who must live there.

Then the bus drove me to Douglas Street (which is the main street in Victoria) and I walked up to my hotel and checked in. The place I stayed at has several restaurants, a pub and nightclub on site. The first night my room looked out on the rooftop sand volleyball court and bar.

That was all well and good during the day but when the music didnt stop until 2am it was a bit much for me. I ended up going down at about midnight to complain to the front desk, but they were all booked out and couldnt move me. He gave me some earplugs but they didnt work. So the next afternoon when the music started I ended up going down to inquire if there were any other rooms available since I was still there for 2 more nights. It turned out that I was in luck, and they moved me to another room on the other side of the hotel. I slept like a LOG for the rest of my trip. AMEN! Anyway, back to day one haha.

So after I’d settled a bit in my room I went for a walk down to the harbour.

There were so many people about!! I walked in some souveneir stores and then headed down towards the empress hotel.

It’s a beautiful ivy covered old building, and a bit further along was the parliament buildings.

I really felt the English touches, and noticed English accents and even Irish around. I hadnt noticed that in Vancouver for a while and it was nice!! Then I noticed right down beside the harbour there was a market on. As I walked down to check it out I realised that there were about 12 stalls that featured native first nations selling their wares.

They were actually sitting there, on the grass with their beads and wooden carvings on the ground – proud and strong. I had to stop myself from crying. I’m such a strange person. This was the first real group of first nations I had ever seen together in one spot and it touched me so deeply. I was way too shy to ask the questions I wanted to and couldnt buy anything. I felt unworthy.

So I walked around some more and then I got a lemon lime float. The sound of a brass band drew me back to the parliament buildings and I noticed signs saying that the roads will be closed off tomorrow.

I later found out that there was actually going to be a proper parade with floats and bands and everything the next day! Very exciting! hahaha.

Stay tuned for day two!

Did I just do that? It doesnt sound like me.

I did something this morning that is very out of character. I got into the lift in my hotel to go down to breakfast and there was a guy in there with a suitcase – I presumed he was checking out. I’m staying on the 2nd floor, and I noticed that the 1st floor button was pressed as well as the ground lobby, but I didnt think anything of it. I did my usual ‘stare at the door’ thing, and then we stopped at the first floor. The doors opened and I moved out of the way to either let the guy off or someone else in but there was no-one at the door and he didnt move. Then he said (laughing) “sorry, that was me. I pressed the wrong button.” I turned around for a second and noticed that he was quite cute, then smiled and said “no problem!”

I got out at the lobby and went to the breakfast room and I presumed he went to check out. Then when I was sitting at a seat I noticed him walk past outside and he didnt have his suitcase with him. He must have left it at the desk while he did a few things around the city, I thought. As I ate my breakfast some strange part of me formulated a plan. I would go upstairs after I’d eaten and I would write him a letter and then I would ask the front desk to give it to him.

So I went to my room and I wrote:
“Hi! My name is Alesha. We met on the lift, I got on at the 2nd floor and you accidently pressed the 1st floor button. I dont ever do this but I thought you seemed really nice so I wanted to give you my email address in the off chance that you might be heading to Vancouver and want to hang out sometime. I’m Australian and on a working holiday, staying in North Van. It’s an adventure! (insert email address) Take care, Alesha. :)”

On the way down to the lobby I kept debating about whether to do it or not and decided if there was no-one at the desk I would. I always tend to do those little tests. And there was no-one there. So I spoke to the lady and I said “A guy just checked out before and left his suitcase here..”
“Yeah,” she said “did you want to get into it?”
“Oh no, I just wanted to leave him a letter.” I replied.
“Ok sure.” she answered.
“Did you see him?” I said
“Yeah.” she replied.
“Did he have short hair, kinda curly.”
“Yeah, and a suitcase.” she replied.
“Was it a small suitcase?” I answered.
“Hang on.” she said, and went and got it to show me.
“I think thats it, yeah.” I answered.
“Cool, wouldnt want you to give your letter to the wrong guy!” she said.
“Thanks!” I answered and walked away.

I’m not expecting to hear anything (it might not even be the right guy haha) but it was good to do something out of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to get a letter like that!

I will be doing a HUGE post all about my time here on Vancouver Island when I get back to North Van. I’m leaving here tomorrow. My camera battery died, so I cant upload the photos I have taken and had to buy a disposable camera today.
I have so many little stories I wouldnt know where to start, so the wrap up post should be up soon!

Snippet from Vancouver Island

It’s pretty here.

These are the Victoria Parliament Buildings. The first second I saw them as I walked around the corner I literally gasped. I felt like I could be somewhere in England. And then I just realised why they resonated with me so much, the dome reminds me a little of Flinders St station back home.

Apparently they are having a street parade tomorrow for Victoria Day – with floats and marching bands and everything. One of the marching bands was rehearsing on the steps tonight.

OMG!