Monday, August 12, 2013

Chemainus, British Columbia

Saturday morning we left Victoria for some exploring of the rest of Vancouver Island.  Made a quick stop downtown at the New Balance store so Trisha could get a pair of shoes--the Sketchers she got right before we left are still giving her trouble, so she was glad to get the brand she's always worn--and they're really cool, too!

Then we took this really scenic drive along the water, through some pretty neighborhoods in the outer areas of Victoria, and saw some beautiful homes, and, of course, lots of lovely flowers.  As we left greater Victoria, passed a wonderful fresh produce market, called, appropriately, The Root Cellar.  Had fun going through all the wonderful selections of fresh fruits and veggies, and stocked up on what we needed for the next several days.  It's wonderful to be eating this new way for us, and there is virtually no limit to the choices.  I have so much fun trying new things and learning how wonderful all these new veggie dishes taste, to say nothing of how much better and more energized we both feel!

We were basically following a route to take us by different labyrinths we had seen in the literature for the upcoming 15th Annual Labyrinth Society Conference, to be held on Vancouver Island next month. So sorry our schedule worked out so we couldn't be here then, but figured this journey around the island would give us a feel for some of what the attendees would be experiencing.  Anyway, we tried mightily to find this one labyrinth on a lavender farm, but after numerous attempts we just had to move on.  We thought perhaps we had found it at one point, but the way in looked too narrow, low and tight for the RV.  Anyway, we did find one very lovely labyrinth on the grounds of Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay.  We missed the church at first, since it looked like a red schoolhouse, but turned around and found the labyrinth on the grounds behind the church.  It was fenced off, with a lovely little gazebo tucked into the woods along one side, and this fencing off gave it an enclosed, very cozy feel.  It's a packed gravel surface, with mostly round river stones marking the paths, with smaller stones making up the labyrs and the lumens--very nicely done!  We had a good walk along this labyrinth, and just as we were finishing, a wedding was concluding in the church and folks were coming out, so the air was filled with happy voices and joy all around--just super!

Then it was on to the little town of Chemainus.  The woman on the ferry we met had told us about this little town, famous for its murals.  We were intrigued by this so we made it a point to visit.  When we stopped at the visitor center, the woman there explained how Chemainus was originally a thriving logging community, but as its fortunes began to wane, there was a fear that it would eventually turn into just another ghost town.  So one enterprising man, after visiting Europe and seeing several towns that had developed a program of painting historic murals on all the buildings, resulting in a revitalization of the towns, brought the idea back to Chemainus.  They started this in the 1980's, and have a commission to decide who will paint a mural, the location on particular building walls, etc.  There are now more than 40 murals around this little town, all depicting some historical scene from the town's past.  Every mural is based on old photographs, so every person shown in a mural was an actual person who lived at one time in Chemainus.  Just a fascinating way to engage you in a story of the history of the town--they have yellow footprints painted on the sidewalks and streets, leading you to all of the murals, and we got a guide to tell us about each one.  We thoroughly enjoyed this!  Each mural also is signed and dated by the artist, and if there has been redone, that date as well.  We also stopped by Water Wheel Park, in the town center, where they have music all summer.  This day was accordian day, so the flyer read "Come enjoy some squeezebox music all day long!"  We also found a Christmas shop to visit, along with several sculptures we really enjoyed, too.  One showed three generations of First Nation women, and one was a sweet rendition of an elderly couple resting on a park bench--a great way to end a great day! Then to our campground, where our site was nestled cozily back in amongst a stand of giant Douglas Fir trees, right next to the pool and playground.  As we listened to the happy voices and squeals of laughter of all the kids, we wished for John to have been with us--he would have had a ball!.

Scenes as we drove on the Dallas Road through the neighborhoods of Victoria, along the water

 Hard to make out, but if you enlarge this you can see the lighthouse and what appears to be the house for the tender
Sights of lovely flowers and beautiful waterfront views abound as we drive up the coast of the island

The labyrinth at Sylvan United Church, Mill Bay

 Sylvan United Church
A lovely little church we saw along the way

 This is the entrance to the church grounds and parking area

 This is on the back side of the entrance way--a wonderful message for folks to see as they leave the church!
 Folks here aren't joking about their coffee!!
The murals of Chemainus

 OK, this one's not a mural, but the buildings were quaint, so I had to take a picture!

 Just loved this log-sided house!
 Couple of shots of a large floe of logs in the harbor; we've seen such sights, only much larger, in other areas around Vancouver, where they apparently just float these logs down rivers to the harbors

 Scenes from Water Wheel Park

More murals

 Entrance to Water Wheel Park, with a mural just to the left of the big, working waterwheel

Three generations of native women
 The face of the woman on the left above was lost in the shadows cast by the afternoon sun, so the one below is of her face
 Just love this!!
 Hey, it's my store!!

 Love the name of this little church!
 Isn't this just a gorgeous door??

 Our lovely campsite in Chemainus

1 comment:

  1. I think I would definitely have to try the coffee in a place called serious coffee:)