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Notes on the Geography of Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2

This group begins with Oak Bay Avenue, then scouts around some less picturesque neighborhoods.

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Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 1

Oak Bay Avenue, Ground Zero for Anglophiles. Still, motorists really do stop for pedestrians, the streets are clean, and you can walk to most of what you need. Those aren't small things.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 2

There's a Starbucks here, and Canada's national banks have been on The Avenue for a long time. Still, most of the merchants are independent and surviving. That's no small thing, either.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 3

Most of the buildings on The Avenue are very plain, almost shockingly so considering the high rents.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 4

An exception: a new building, with shops around a courtyard and a color scheme that shouts for attention.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 5

A slim bar of typically gray sky roofs these apartments, severe except for their typography. The city has plenty of place-names echoing empire: there are streets named for viceroys including Minto, Lansdowne and Curzon; there's a Kipling--and there's this echo of the man who seized Bengal for the East India Company.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 6

A few years later the same building was replaced, though the old name was retained.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 7

Sigh. "Why are you taking a picture of that?"  "Because it's what's here." There's quite a bit of it, too, though the tourist-promotion people won't show it.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 8

There are insistent new homes, too.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 9

Out on the urban fringe, where deer come to nibble, the old taste endures, though the divided light and half-timbering are fake.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 10

A horrified pumpkin, eyebrows aghast.

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A Mediterranean villa on Ten Mile Point. The gate adds insult to injury.

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Just a little reassurance, in the form of a more typical Victoria street and a middle-class neighborhood at cherry-blossom time.

Canada (B.C.): Victoria's Houses 2 picture 13

Wildflowers on a right-of-way in a residential neighborhood.


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