Friday, March 31, 2017

The Impossible Beauty of Victoria's Butchart Gardens


I love gardens and flowers so I always try to visit the botanical gardens of the destinations that I visit. I've explored many gorgeous gardens and been absorbed by the heady delights of blooming plants and trees. But I've never seen anything like Victoria's Butchart Gardens. It's called a garden but it's more like a fairytale land, as you can glimpse in the photo. The thing is, there's not just one garden at Butchart Gardens, there are many, including a sunken garden, an Italian garden, a Japanese garden,a rose garden and a Mediterranean garden. There's even a carousel with exotic animals!  With a restaurant that serves an afternoon tea service and dishes created from the organic produce grown on the grounds, Butchart Gardens is the kind of oasis that beckons you to spend days, not hours.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Totems and Treetops


One of the things that I love about Vancouver and Victoria is the vibrant presence of First Nations culture. From the time you step into Vancouver International Airport,, aboriginal art pieces,especially totem poles, are on prominent display. Strolling around both cities, I discovered that totem poles are as common as the trees that often surround them.


At Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, totem poles dot the landscape, they tell the story of the people who lived there hundreds of years before. In fact, totem poles are sometimes called story poles.


I learned that totem poles are monuments created by Northwest Coast aboriginal people and they can serve as signboards, genealogical records or memorials. They are typically carved from red cedar and then painted. The poles communicate symbolically across all First Nations groups.



The surprising thing that I discovered about totem poles is that they don't have to be towering heights but that they come in all sizes. There are six  main types of poles: memorials, grave figures,house posts, house front poles, welcoming poles and mortuary poles. Historically, totem poles were commissioned by a chief to mark a special event and they continue to hold deep significance for First Nations culture.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Views From Vancouver's Granville Island


When I landed in beautiful and bustling Vancouver, it was hard for me to understand that I was actually on a coastal seaport. I spotted mountains and buildings everywhere I turned but it wasn't until I headed to the peninsula of Granville Island that I grasped the water connection.


Granville Island is a shopping district that actually requires you to hop a ferry to reach. Floating on the boat, I glimpsed the prettiest aquatic scenes. Vancouver showcases sleek architectural structures like the Science World sphere above.


The city also boasts quaint Victorian building like the ones adorned with Canadian flags above. It didn't really matter where I looked, the water just seemed to make everything that more scenic.