BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Friday, September 28, 2012

A beacon in the night

This weekend my mother came for a visit, so we narrowed our list of chores down to a few gardening jobs and some car-based shopping. 

Aside: Car-based shopping is something we like to indulge in whenever a car comes to stay at our house (don't worry we buy gas!). Though Brad is now a member of the Victoria Car Share Co-op, it still costs more than a free car. At the moment we don't pay any monthly membership fee, so rental (including gas and insurance) is $8.50/hour.  Next summer we'll probably want to get out and about, but cycling with a young baby is not that safe, so we'll probably move to a $15/month membership and usage will only cost $3.10/hour.

Having visitors always leads to a holiday-like feel. This weekend we did two big touristy-activities.  One required us to drag Nikolai along under the duress of constant threats and bribes, and the other activity had us running after him in his enthusiasm.  I'll let you guess which activity was which!

The James Bay Art Walk: I was surprised to discover that there are so many artists in James Bay (of varying caliber and type). The art was all very interesting, and everyone seemed to have fairly unique styles.  However, I will have to admit my favorite part of the art walk was that it involved going to the artists "space".  Since many of the artists appeared to be rather well off retirees, we got to tour some pretty amazing gardens and homes.  I was thrilled to discover that my absolutely FAVORITE house in James Bay was showing off some very modern art (140 Government). 

Fisgard Lighthouse (and Fort Rodd Hill): Officially we drove out to Colwood to hit Lee Valley for an extendable fruit picker/pruner. But a quick look at Google maps for directions showed a large National Heritage Site just down the road from Lee Valley, so we decided to make an afternoon of it.  At just $3.80 per adult as an entrance fee, this site was well worth the money.  Although I wouldn't recommend it on a cloudy wet day, we are lucky enough to still be living under the sunny skies of a drought.

Our goal was really just to see the Fisgard Lighthouse (the oldest lighthouse on the west coast); however, apparently someone decided to put an army barracks in the way.  In general the Fort lacked any real history. Having toured Forts all over Europe, I've come to expect at least a few battle scars to provide historical context.  Given the lack of interpretive signage I imagine that it got absolutely NO action, ever.  But it did serve as a giant territorial dog marking to protect BC; first from the Americans and then from the Japanese.  Basically it was a giant cement bunker, without much historical significance.  Nikolai did like poking his nose into all the random supply rooms, and he enjoyed looking at the ridiculously large cannon (the only real information plaque was all focused on how difficult it was to get that cannon mounted into place).
By comparison, the Lighthouse was great! It was filled with all these "display" crates that you could open up to see what the lighthouse keeper would have read, eaten, worn. They had an interactive boat steering computer game, where Nikolai (and I) sailed a ship into Esquimalt harbour.  They also had an interactive display about how lighthouse beacons work.

But the best part about the Lighthouse would have to be the fact that it is adjacent to a "Pirate Island".  Since our local coastline is also dotted with such rocky Pirate Islands, Nikolai has become a fairly competent climber, and any chance to explore a new Island mustn't be missed!
Yes, I'm getting a belly...
The view from the lighthouse was expansive.

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