We started the day attending church at the Cathedral that my wife had when she had attended university. The church was built in 1889. We all enjoyed the classic Gothic architecture. I particularly liked the addition of native art especially in such a prominent place as the alter and candle holders. Overall I think the images tell this story better.
After church we walked to the parliament buildings. There was a tour leaving just as we got there and we managed to join that group. The tour taught us all some cool things.
The first is that the main entrance is only for heads of state. Since our head is actually Queen Elizabeth she can enter through the main doors but our Prime Minister can’t. He has to use the side entrance.
The second is that the chamber is set up in accordance to the original British requirements. The distance between the two halves and thus the ruling party and the opposition is two sword lengths. Long ago the elected politicians in Britain would carry swords. The wave in the seating is because as our population has grown so has the number of representatives. That required more seating and that was the only way to fit them in. It also means they are no longer two sword lengths apart.
The third thing was BC’s big mistake. While we were getting our coat of arm approved Queen Victoria had her Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne) and we made a wonderful stained glass. Unfortunately the proposed coat of arms was reject for a number of reasons. First was the lion on top which is restricted to the Queen’s use only. Second we had a setting sun (Sun sets in the west) over the Union Jack. That could be interpreted as the sun setting on the British Empire. The stained glass got ‘lost’ in the basement for 60 years. The rejected coat of arms can be found everywhere on the building from the main entrance to the lamp posts.
After the tour we walked the grounds. There is a Sequoia tree that was planted in 1908 and is huge.
There was also a totem pole titled “Knowledge Tree” that was carved for the Commonwealth Games in 1994.
After that we walked along the waterfront. There is a seawall and artist booths. On caught our eye. He carved whales out of wood such that the grain was an integral part of the art. He talked about the energy of the wood. While I can’t understand that, it was clear that it was real for him and allowed him to do such beautiful carvings.
We had lupper at a fish place called “Red Fish Blue Fish” that my mother recommended and we had seen on “Eat St”. Even though it was the middle of the afternoon there was a line up. It was worth it though. We did have some friends just waiting for us to drop something. I guess seagulls like it better battered and fried.
Coming off the seawall we came upon this street performer. That mildly freaked out Ian. She had been completely motionless and as Ian walked past she moved and played a note like a machine that hadn’t quite wound down. Ian quickly recovered and we put a loonie in her hat and she played a song. She has the act down perfect right down to luring us in. The little yellow tag is her busker’s license.
Our next stop was historic Chinatown. This is the oldest Chinese community in Canada and dates back to 1858. The only older on in North America is San Francisco. On of the books that Philip read in Grade 5 called “White Jade Tiger” By Julie Lawson is partially set in this Chinatown during the building of the railway. It also features Fan Tan Alley which we visited. Would you enter an alley like this without know what was in it?
What is in it is a collection of shops. Originally there were many of such alleys which are now gone but they preserved this one.
We then walked back to our car and drove back to the campground for an early night.
Ian – Everything
Mom – Coat of Arms mistake
Philip – Parliament Building and the mistake
Margaret – Cathedral particularly the architecture
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