Our fun in Victoria, Canada didn't end with 2016. We woke up New Year's day and knew just the place to celebrate the new year, back at the Mahalet Chalet for another amazing breakfast and more beautiful views. Someone especially loved their hot chocolate.
While the weather appeared to be stunning that day, we werent quiet so lucky as it turned out to be very windy. We had a number of outdoor places to still see in Victoria so we set off for Ogden Point and the Breakwater Lighthouse despite the windy conditions.
The breakwater is long seawall that continues in an outward position before turning 90 degrees and terminating at a lighthouse.
It was so windy out on the seawall that I was sure the wind was going to knock us right off. But once we started down we had to make it to the end. Somehow we made it!
Landon found shelter to warm up for a few minutes.
We watched a few seaplanes take off while regaining our strength. The wind was so strong that they pulled out toward the breakwater, turned around and took off with the wind. I don't think they would have stood a chance trying to liftoff against it. Seaplanes are all over the PNW and I'm hoping we can set up a trip on one sometime soon.
We braved our way back down the seawall and made our way to Victoria's Fisherman Wharf. Since it was New Year's Day, the shops on the wharf were closed, but it was still worth the trip to see the famous floating homes.
There were a few shops and restaurants among them. I think I read there were 33 total and they were all so very different.
I'm convinced I could live on a floating home. I love the idea of waking up on the water, jumping in the kayak at sunrise, and enjoying the pretty views.
Although some of them were small, there were a number of them that probably had 1,500 square feet or more. It was quite impressive.
After touring the boats, we hit the road and headed out of the city to see the famous Butchart Gardens. Since I posted about it HERE I'll skip the details, but it was the main reason for our trip to Canada and completely worth it. I wish we could go back every year at Christmas.
The next day, we did not eat at the Mahalet Chalet. Shocking, I know! It was our last day and a short one so we headed straight out to do some more exploring. Once again the wind was really bad and although the weather looked bright and sunny, it was stingingly chilly. First, we made our way to Fort Rodd Hill, a national historic site which functioned as a coastal artillery fort in the late 1890's.
One thing that surprised us when we moved to California was just how many military installations are all along the West Coast. Canada is no exception. This fort was a prime place to protect Victoria from attacks from oncoming ships.
Luckily, it never saw battle. But they were prepared.
The fort was used all the way up until the 1950's. When WWII broke out, the military population of the fort quickly swelled and these makeshift huts were set all across the fort to house the additional soldiers.
Another historic site is connected to Fort Rodd Hill and that is the Fisgard Lighthouse. At first, Mom and I were not going to visit the lighthouse as the path to the lighthouse kept getting sprayed with water from the straight. I was sure we'd get sprayed or maybe even blown into the water. The wind was treacherous.
But Adam and Landon made it and motioned for us to come so we caved in, held hands and braved the forces. I'm so glad we did. It was the cutest little lighthouse.
The views across the straight were so beautiful there as well. If only there was no wind, we may have stayed there all day long.
Perched right at the end of the rocks were two red chairs, a symbol in the Parks Canada to sit down, relax, and enjoy the best of what Canada has to offer. We encountered a number of them in Banff and Jasper and I have to admit, they do place them in some pretty amazing locations.
It was beautiful but chilly!!! Despite the cold, we all loved it.
We finally pulled ourselves out of the red chairs and headed back towards the parking lot. On the way we passed this sign and I just couldn't decide where I wanted to be the most. I settled on Race Rocks, because I have no idea what it is and its the only place we haven't been. I'm always looking to go somewhere new!
We left the historic sites and headed back to Victoria harbor. We had a delicious lunch at the Flying Otter right across from the seaplane depot. On a summer's day this would be the spot to grab some lunch and watch the busy harbor. We had a bit of time to kill before our ferry so we decided to drive around Victoria and see the Eastern side of the city. We drove through the nicest area of town and some beautiful neighborhoods. We pulled off a few times for some stunning views.
We couldn't believe the amazing views of Mt. Baker from Vancouver Island. Many times throughout the weekend we got the best views we had ever seen of this Washington beauty. From this viewpoint, it is about 70 miles away. While we were at the park, bald eagles were flying overhead and playing in the air currents. Having lived our entire lives in areas where bald eagles don't exist, the novelty of them has yet to wear off. The Pacific Northwest is like a dream world!
After our drive, it was time to head to the ferry and get ready to go back home. We had to arrive an hour and half before the ferry departed which meant a lot of time sitting in the car. I can't remember if this was my "I don't want to leave face" or my "I want out of this car face."
Finally, we made our way onto the ferry and headed off for the USA. We left Canada just as the sun began to set. We had arrived four days earlier just as the sun rose and spent our time in Victoria having so much fun. As beautiful and enjoyable as it was in the winter, it made me only 100 times more excited to experience it in the summer. With every trip, I love Canada more and more. Victoria was a great city, but I can't wait to come back and explore the rest of Vancouver Island. Until next time!