Yesterday we left Vancouver Island but there are some memorable things that happened there I don’t want to forget and haven’t posted about yet.
I had a lovely long lunch in Tofino with a former teaching colleague from Elmdale School in Steinbach. Joanne and I taught together more than thirty-five years ago but we both have fond memories of our years at Elmdale when we were just beginning our teaching careers. Joanne lives in Whistler BC now where she recently retired from teaching. Through social media, we realized we would both be in Tofino at the same time. It was so great to visit and reconnect and talk about our life journeys.
Although it was chilly and rainy for much of our time on the island we did have a warm and gorgeous autumn afternoon on a golf course in Qualicum Beach where we played nine holes with a friendly local couple about our age.
There are lots of sea mammals one can spot on the Vancouver Island coast. We saw three. On an afternoon hike along the breakwater in Victoria, we stopped to enjoy the antics of a seal. On our way to Tofino, we had lunch in Cowichan Bay and then spent a delightful half-hour or so marveling at the sounds of a sea lion choir.
The sea lions were all different shapes and colors and sang at various pitches, making a myriad of crazy sounds, seemingly doing a kind of call and response with one another. It got incredibly loud at times.
Then our first morning in Tofino we walked down to the water and spent a long time watching a sea otter dive to catch shellfish, flip over on its back and crack them open to eat. There was a gull swimming nearby making sure it could feast on the remnants of the shellfish.
Although I said I wouldn’t write anymore about Dave’s beer brewing research we did visit a brewery in Tofino where he continued to explore the world of British Columbia beer.
There is a giant wooden canoe in the rotunda when you walk into the Legislative Buildings in Victoria. It was carved by Steven L. Point the first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The canoe is called Shxwtitosel which in the Halq’eméylem language means a safe place to cross the river. It represents the idea of building bridges between all the different people in BC.
I saw this unique tribute on the steps of the BC Legislature in Victoria in memory of all the Indigenous children found in unmarked graves in Canadian residential school burial grounds. There were hundreds of orange shirts each with a cross and a stone on them.
I discovered that the Victoria Art Gallery is partially housed in a beautiful heritage home.
On our drive back to Victoria from Tofino, we stopped for soup and cornbread at a country market cafe in Coombs called Goats on the Roof. The place was built by a family from Norway in the 1950s who decided to give it a sod roof like many traditional homes in Norway. In the 1980s the grass on the roof had become too tall and to spruce it up for the local county fair the family borrowed some goats to eat the grass. It turned their business into a tourist hotspot that now attracts more than a million visitors a year.
Probably other bits of Vancouver Island will find their way into posts I do in the future, but for now, we have said goodbye to the island. We had a great time there.