Quick quiz – what airport runway is sometimes closed for whales?
Vancouver Island’s Victoria seaplane runway!
A 20 minute flight from Vancouver, Victoria on Vancouver Island is famous for the Butchart Gardens, and for good reason. A reclaimed and repurposed quarry, the gardens attract millions of visitors every year. The array of flowers is vast, the blooms huge and the colours are amazing.
But there is more to this island than just the gardens. The Fairmont Empress Hotel is a landmark on the harbour and well worth a look. Gracious and ivy covered, it harks back to an earlier era. The stained glass dome in the ballroom is both beautiful and has a surprising quality. Don’t be surprised if you can overhear the conversation of the other tables. The dome picks up the sound and reflects around the dome to other tables! It can be quite distracting and a real talking point.
There are some good local markets and the city centre is quite walkable. Many visitors enjoy the horse drawn carriage as a way of seeing the city which continues the theme of old world ambience. At night the lights of Parliament House are a feature.
The fact that Vancouver Island is but one of many islands, many of which are home to people who work in Vancouver, means that ferries and seaplanes are widely used forms of transport. Seaplanes take off from the harbour and the whales have right of way.
The seaplane from Victoria to Whistler is the most spectacular flight I have ever taken. But that’s another blog.