Thursday, October 06, 2005


Or, what makes Victoria a very odd place to live-in or visit?

By Penelope Bonkles, a late-blooming purple-people-eater with a penchant for inconsiderate imps who leave their precious pooch’s poop behind on public pathways and in pristine places

Victoria, (capital of British Columbia), is perched precariously on the southern tip of a rather big blessed island off the west coast of Canada, (which is home to a wide assortment of flakes, fruits, and granola lovers).

What makes this city unique is its rather quaint past as a British colonial outpost and booming brothel for soldiers, sailors, and sotted souls who spent a good deal of time whacking down trees, mucking about in mines, or flinging fish all over the place.

Besides all this breathtaking bumpf, there are oodles of oddities that remind residents and visitors alike that they are living in one very strange if not silly place.

Who can be found this quirky capital of curmudgeons and quidnuncs?
  • The Ghost of Emily Carr plus a heck of a lot more freaky figments of your imagination in a ripsnorting resting place known as Ross Bay Cemetery.
  • A Queen-Elizabeth look-alike who is trotted out at every special event in town.
  • A weary window-installer at the Royal Theatre during a facelift (worth a Queen’s ransom) whose sojourn on a sagging city landmark was not caught on tape by a security camera or featured on a “Trading Places” extreme-makeovers segment!
  • A two-year-old wayward basset hound named “Lucy” who checked-in for a night of five-star service at the Empress Hotel and subsequently applied for “permanent refugee status”.
  • People who complain about the paltry public art in the city and politicians who need to dole out funds plus tacky titles like "Cultural Capital of Canada", "City of Gardens" or "Home of the Salmon Kings".
  • A feisty, fossil-fuel-conscious, female vehicle owner who’s petitioning City Hall to create half-sized, half-priced, metered parking stalls for “Smart Cars” if you please.
  • A flogger of fancy frippery along the Inner Harbor Causeway.
  • A sullen silver-haired couple who just stepped off a rather fine cruise ship into a huge horse-pie deftly deposited by a four-legged creature with fetlocks hauling a credit card or cash carriage fit for pleasingly plump members of a royal family.
  • An irate member of the Tweed Curtain who wants to install a 15-foot electric fence around Oak Bay to keep the riff raff out of their beautiful backyards filled with posh palm trees, nattily-dressed gnomes, and far too many flower beds.
  • A senior’s scooter club in the NIMBY-conscious neighborhood of James Bay complaining about the lack of stop lights and obnoxious speed-bumps -- all aimed at shortening the life span of “Golden-Agers” not to mention cramp the style of newly-arrived “Freedom-55ers”.
  • A dedicated bagpipe player in a kilt standing opposite the carefully manicured lawns of the provincial legislature; a silent mannikan dressed in white who calls himself "Plaster Man", and a scantily-clad mermaid whom visitors love to pose with for a "scenic shot".
  • A reserved rest and recreation volunteer coordinator for the "Garden City Wanderers Club" and the "Saanich Plodders".
  • A very vexed visitor looking for a warm wet spot called, "The Sooke Potholes".
  • A blessed bird-lover from elsewhere in Canada who adores feeding stray pets, pidgeons, and pooping seagulls (also known in impolite circles as the 'trash cans of the cosmos').
  • A pattering panhandler on Government Street with a marvelous munching mutt.
  • A “Monday Magazine” invitation to try the services of a therapeutic bodyworker, a CrUsHeR Combat Sportswoman, Zen for Men and Laser Hair Removal professionals, a Hot Stone Massage Serene Setting Non-Sexual Encounter Person, an Irish Dance Instructor, plus an anger management, self-esteem counselor looking for new business among early-retirees and divas-in-distress; and an eclectic entourage of escorts.

Where do they go?

  • Butchart Gardens (if they need a fix of flower power and pretty plots)
  • Craigdarroch Castle (if they wand to be "King of The Castle" for a day)
  • Ministry of Casual Living (a different kind of art gallery)
  • Bug Zoo (if they have a passion about cuddling creepy crawlies for several hours)
  • Tattoo Zoo (a place for posh personalities with a penchant for paint pin-pricks)
  • Royal London Wax Museum (their Chamber of Horrors is not recommended for Nervous Nellies who should probably stick with famous-name wax wunderkinds)
  • Royal B.C. Museum & Maritime Museum (buccaneers, blue-beards, and bountiful booty collectors cannot help but be impressed with their titillating tours)
  • Darcy’s Pub (where the wings are so good the chickens are running scared!)
  • Beacon Hill Park (flexible accommodation for clumsy lovers, music lovers, pet-lovers, pesky perambulators, pitch-and-putt enthusiasts, and petting-zoo visitors!)
  • Belfry Theatre (if one likes spicy specials like “Girl in the Goldfish Bowl”)
  • Sticky Wicket Pub or The Waddling Dog (for quaffing quippers only)
  • Hartland Landfill (where all the refuse in town gets buried)

What do they eat and drink?

  • Tough tea-biscuits and crumbless crumpets
  • Frozen ‘fresh’ wild salmon or halibut and chips with white vinegar & sea-salt
  • Organically certified veggies, brazen beef from Alberta, free-range poultry, multi-grain bread, freshly-made pasta, "lite" beer and VQA wine
  • Rubber-chicken platter featuring a white and wimpy thing slathered in cheese sauce on a mound of white rice, (a delicacy served at boring luncheon meetings)
  • Brand-name bottled water, herbal tea (or a weak insipid thing called 'tea as it should be'), and expensive coffee with Italian names served in super-sized mugs (complete with low-carb chocolate or caramel sauce fortified with low-calorie whipped crème on top)
  • Tasteless take-out-food that you can find conveniently located on every street corner

Predominant weather conditions:

  • Misty and gusty
  • Light precipitation and light winds
  • Overcast with periods of rain
  • Gale force warnings and occasional showers
  • Deluges and downpours
  • Wellyboots and Bumbershoots recommended for a slight spot of inclement weather

Snippets of conversation overheard on a beach, a bistro and in a public restroom:

  • “Brush your teeth and get in gear…”
  • “…are we getting to yes anytime soon?
  • “Those crumpets come in all colors…”
  • “…He made a remark about as distinctive as a pig’s ear!”
  • “I’ll give you an award if you mangle those files and photographs…”


For those who can't get enough of this seductively soppy place to spend a good bit of time, they should probably check out this scintillating soap-opera destined to put "Mile-Zero" on the map!


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