Friday, July 29, 2011

Norma's Art - one of Victoria's Best Kept Secrets!

Nestled beside the bicycle path on Lochside Trail, just off of Royal Oak Drive, is a magical village with all manner of creatures.

Norma's Art is one of Victoria's Best Kept Secrets. Unless you have the inside story, this place can only be found by chance. This is Victoria's most fascinating collection of folk art. Norma creates all of her art out of recycled materials, including broken bits of glass.

The Little People abound here, and will be happy to take any spare change you might have.

Bring the kids, your camera, and keep your eyes open! You never know what you might find.

Be careful, though - or you might end up like this guy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Victoria International Buskers Festival - welcoming the world to the Inner Harbour!

With its year-round street performers and king's court architecture, Victoria is a perfect place to host an International Buskers Festival - one even grand enough to rival Halifax's famous annual event. For the past 10 days, our fine city has done just that! With 6 stages, over 400 performances, and a colourful array of global entertainers, Victoria welcomed the world to the Inner Harbour.

Local buskers had a special place, too, with locations known as "Busk Stops" strategically placed close to the action, but not so close that the stage acts would cramp their space.

"I loved every minute of it," says local performer Darth Fiddler, who had one of the coolest signs of the bunch.

"Events like this help restore busking to its original place in society - it truly is an ancient, legitimate art form, worthy of celebration and respect."

World-class performers included contortionist Bendy Em from New Zealand, fire-throwing mavericks Flame Oz from UK, and hula hoop champion Becky Hoops from Montreal, to name a few! There was even a trapeze set up on the front lawn of The Empress Hotel for the Aerial Angels from Kalamazoo - it was a surreal sight, to say the least!

There was also an opportunity for audiences to vote for their favourite busker for "The People's Choice Award." The winner? Master Juggler Victor Rubilar! Originally from Argentina and now based in Sweden, Victor gave a fantastic performance, actively engaging the audience and wowing the crowd with his "football juggling" - which has broken a number of Guiness World Records. We caught him when he was just getting revved up - and boy, did he draw a crowd!

The Festival was the brainchild of John Vickers, who was inspired one summer evening 2 years ago as he watched a crowd form around a local performer on Government Street. He thought of the Halifax International Buskers Festival, and wondered why we couldn't have an equally popular one here.

"He's a brilliant man," says Darth Fiddler, "and he's worked very hard to put this on. Being from the Maritimes myself, I had always wanted to go to the Halifax Festival. With the success of this one, though, it looks like I won't have to travel very far after all."

Thanks to John Vickers, the volunteers, and performers who helped make this happen. We're all looking forward to next year!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Great Canadian Oil Change in Langford - exceptional customer service

We are getting prepared for a trip in our Ford Explorer, so we stopped in to Great Canadian Oil Change at 876 Langford Parkway. The mechanic had a hard time getting the line off a part to do the transmission flush. Short story, the part broke. The manager Brandon immediately got on the phone to locate the magical part. First story, it was in Toronto. So Brandon kept searching and found one in Vancouver. It was shipped over and we anxiously waited to find out the results. It took three days to resolve. We know that accidents can happen but the result is how it is dealt with. Great Canadian Oil Change payed for and installed the very expensive part, did not charge us for the flush and Brandon and owner Monte Graham delivered the car to our driveway. They understand customer service. Very nice guys. You have just earned a customer for life and we will tell everyone we know, just how great a recovery you performed. Well done! In this day and age, going the extra mile is rare and we want everyone to know just how well you did!

You can print yourself one of their coupons on their website.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Victoria International Buskers Festival -Victoria Inner Harbour-Now On

Have you got your guide for the Buskers Festival yet? From July 15th (STARTS Tomorrow) until the 24th, downtown Victoria will be alive with fantastic street entertainment. The inagural Victoria International Buskers Festival will feature performances at six downtown stages with artists from all around the world. There is no admission charge to any of these stages - though viewers are encouraged to donate to the artists that they enjoy. Guides feature a full festival program and can be purchased for just $2 at The Bay Centre, the DVBA, and participating downtown merchants. See you at the Festival....don't miss it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whales, whales and more whales-L Pod near San Juan with Great Pacific Adventures

Whales, whales and more whales....all Orcas. Today we were out with Great Pacific Adventures aboard the King Salmon. This large vessel could keep pace with the zodiacs so it took little time to get to the whales. The views from the cabin are through large clean panoramic windows...and wow what views. We had views of the Olympic Mountains, the beautiful homes along Dallas Road in Victoria and then in Oak Bay, and the Islands we passed, Trial and Discovery.

Up stairs there is a large viewing area on top of the boat. Our Captain Joanne guided us to within a safe distance that protects the whales and naturalist Nate did an amazing job of providing us with information about the area and the whales. Did you know that Trial Island got its name because the Canadian Navy used to bring their ships there to circumnavigate the Island to test how sea worth the vessels were?

We spent the afternoon with L pod, one of the three resident Orca (Killer Whale) pods that spend the spring and summer around Victoria. Visit our Facebook page where the pictures and captions tell the story. We were lucky to see a brand new baby whale born just days ago. In addition to whales we saw both Dahls and Harbour Porpoises, seals, a bald eage and many sea birds. We had a wonderful time...we certainly can recommend this outfit to you. Well done gang.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Inn at Laural Point - A spectacular Victoria Hotel in Downtown Victoria

The Inn at Laurel Point is a downtown Victoria BC Hotel that is an architectural masterpiece, has lush gardens, amazing views of the Inner and Outer Harbour, some delicious food created by Executive Chef Takashi Ito and his staff and so much more. It is a great place to stay in Victoria with a super location to access all that Victoria has to offer. We had an opportunity to taste some of the food that is served to guests and it was delicious and so well presented our mouths started watering well before we tasted each dish. The after-taste was amazing. The food was simply and explosion of many flavours. You just have to try the Aura Restaurant.
If you are coming to Victoria or have guests coming to Victoria, recommend this hotel as a great place to stay. It is a great place for a wedding or a conference.

Check our
Facebook page for many more photos of this excellent hotel.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Victoria is Mosquito Free - Escape Here

Tonight's news was full of stories about the bug and particularly the mosquito problem going on in the prairies and much of BC. Not in Victoria however. One of the joys of living here is that there are very few bugs and we rarely see a mosquito. So if you want to escape, come here. There is always the danger that someone from Alberta or Saskatchewan will open their car trunk while in Victoria, but there is little we can do about this.

So if you are looking to escape, make it destination Victoria.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Greater Victoria Bakeries - Which one is your favourite?

Everyone has a favourite Bakery! Mine is the Sidney Bakery on main street in Sidney, about one block from the waterfront. They have a great selection of "goodies" and some are my favourites. There are some really good bakeries a few of which have a sit-down cafe associated with the bakery. Some which come to mind are: the Dutch Bakery, Arts Bakery, Bubba Rose's Bakery, Sally Bun, The Royal Bakery in Colwood, Foi Epi Bakery, Tooks on Cook, 6 Mile Bakery, Willie's Bakery Cafe, Wildfire Bakery, Cascadia Wholefoods Bakery The Italian Bakery and more. Take a few minutes and complete our survery on Facebook to let us know you choice. We would love to hear from you. More pics on Facebook.