Friday, October 30, 2009

Victoria Spirit Celebration

Today a lot of people were out to be part of the Victoria Spirit Celebration signaling the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The event seemed to have everyone downtown as the torch visited Victoria direct from Athens, Greece. What an event, starting with a delay at YYJ then arriving at the Victoria Legislature near Government Street in downtown Victoria.

The flame will travel through all of but one of the 13 communities in the Capital Regional District then for four days on rest of Vancouver Island including Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Comox Valley and Campbell River. It returns later to Port Hardy and Port McNeill on Feb. 2 and 3, 2010.

Get ready for a busy weekend on Vancouver Island highways especially if the weather gets bad. Expect a number of delays especially travelling through downtown and going up the Malahat.

The flame will be visiting several other British Columbia communities as reported by the Times Colonist.

For more information Spirit of BC

Sunday, October 25, 2009

4:20 at the Pizza Zone

Next time that you’re in Victoria and feeling like pizza try the Pizza Zone situated on Cook Street. Located across the street from Logan’s Pub at 1806 Cook Street, in between Caledonia and North Park the Pizza Zone serves up one of the best in British Columbia.

One local favourite goes by the unique name of the 4:20. Loaded with pepperoni, ground beef, Italian sausage and a large heaping of bacon this is truly a meant lover’s favourite.

Usually along with the 4:20 there is the Hawaii 50, The Veggie, and the Popeye all available on a per slice basis or the 2 slices and pop special for $6.

Along with great pizza the Pizza Zone is convenient if you are visiting downtown, Logan’s Pub, Salmon Kings hockey games at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena or watching Victoria Seals baseball team at Royal Athletic Park.

Telephone: (250) 383-0241 for information on ordering take-out and/or delivery. For direction information Google Map for Pizza Zone.

The Pizza Zone has also opened a new location at 2571 Quadra Street near Fairway Market.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chemainus River Provincial Park

Just got back from Chemainus River Provincial Park which is located north-west of Duncan.

To get here take the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 to Hwy 18 the highway to Lake Cowichan. You travel on Hwy 18 approximately 7 km (6 miles) to Hillcrest Road. Turn at Hillcrest Road and travel on the pavement past the BC Hydro Substation then on the gravel Hillcrest Payne Forest Service Road (FSR) for approximately 8 km (5 miles).

The Chemainus River Provincial Park is a rustic recreational area that is managed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District for BC Parks. The river is noted for the local fishing especially for Steelhead salmon, wildlife viewing, off-road motorcycles, mountain-biking and serves as a local swimming hole during the hot dry days experienced during the Cowichan Valley summer.

There are absolutely no services or facilities located in Chemainus River Provincial Park here so be prepared. Camping out and fires are not allowed plus the park gate is closed from dusk to dawn.

Chemainus River Provincial Park – BC Parks

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hwy 99 Revisited

Just got back from a trip along Hwy 99, "The Sea to Sky Highway" on the section from Horseshoe Bay to Mount Currie.

Hwy 99 has gone through a major upgrade for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler and is about 99% complete. The only exception was some paving that was being done just north of Squamish by Brohm Lake. This section is expected to be completed soon and only caused a slight wait when travelling on the "Sea to Sky."

What a joy to travel Hwy 99 compared with what the road used to like when it was nicknamed the "Squamish 500." The big changes are the bypass going around Horseshoe Bay, the increase of lanes especially through Lions Bay and Brunswick Beach and the straightening of corners and hairpin turns by blasting through rock and adding wider bridges.

Also while travelling by Britannia Beach north to Squamish the big change on Hwy 99 was no Woodfibre Pulp Mill plume coming from the stacks ruining air quality of Howe Sound. This section of highway goes past the Stawamus Chief one of the largest granite monoliths in the world and offers northerly views of Squamish with Mount Garibaldi in the horizon.

After Squamish going north Hwy 99 goes past the Tantalus Range, along the Cheakamus River,then past Daisy Lake and Brandywine Falls with views of Black Tusk in the east. The route was safe with plenty of passing lanes and areas to pull off to enjoy the spectacular views.

Form here to Whistler the only hold ups along Hwy 99 was a live-line stringing project being done by Allteck for BC Hydro just south of Whistler Creekside and a BC Hydro cable project being done by power specialists from Victoria. Both created just minor delays.

The highway upgrade done by Peter Kiewit Sons has created a faster and safer route to enjoy one of the most scenic geography and outdoor recreation in all of North America. In all Hwy 99 upgrade was a very pleasant surprise which thanks to the 2010 Olympics will last long after the games have been completed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mount Wells Regional Park

With the weather in southern British Columbia hovering around 20 degrees Celsius as a high it proved excellent for a hike this weekend. If you live in Victoria one hike you might like to try is the one up Mount Wells.

Located in Langford, Mount Wells Regional Park offers great panoramic views of southern Vancouver Island and parts of the Capital Regional District.

To get to the trailhead take the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 north to the new traffic signals at West Shore Parkway in Langford, follow the signs for Goldstream Provincial Park, then turn at Humpback Road (Ma Miller's Pub) and travel about 2 km (1.3 miles) to the CRD parking lot.

The hike to the summit of Mount Wells takes about an hour one-way, coming down about 30 minutes. Going up there is a view towards the north of Mount Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park and from the summit most of the southern CRD.

For more information Mount Wells Regional Park - CRD

Waddling Dog $9.95 Breakfast Buffet

Have you ever travelled on Hwy 17 the Pat Bay Highway north to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay and noticed the $9.95 breakfast buffet sign at the Quality Inn Waddling Dog at Mount Newton X Road in Central Saanich?

Today we had chance to try it. The buffet held in Sherlock's Restaurant opens at 10 am and goes to 1 pm every Sunday.

The limited breakfast buffet included cereal, potato hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, cheese omelets, bacon, breakfast sausage, pancakes, waffles and toast. There was also a number of different fruit juices plus fresh apples and oranges. Coffee and tea was also included in the price.

If you are on a tight budget this meal will appeal to your taste buds. For the two of us the bill was $20.90. Pretty reasonable!

That being said the room Sherlock's Restaurant was located in was quite cold, making the breakfast cool off quite quickly. Also the scrambled eggs seemed lifeless, the omelets had not very much cheese, the breakfast sausages a little on the greasy side, the toaster was extremely slow and no pastries for those with a sweet tooth.

On the up side, there was plenty of bacon (which was cooked just right), the staff were pleasant and the Quality Inn Waddling Dog facility was very clean.

For more information and directions go to Quality Inn Waddling Dog.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Island View Beach in Central Saanich

The weather held up today with no rain falling and some sun providing a good window of opportunity to cycle out to Island View Beach in Central Saanich using the Lochside Regional Trail.

The 30 km (19 miles) round trip from the Saanich Centre near McKenzie Avenue and Quadra Street in Saanich took about an hour to complete each way.

From the Saanich Centre the route along the Lochside Regional Trail is generally flat until Island View Road. At Michell Farm Market you have to go off the regional trail for a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) one way trip on Island View Road past Firbank Farm up a steep hill then descending sharply down to the beach.

Once at Island View Beach the conditions were absolutely perfect for beachcombing on the sandy beach offering beautiful ocean views of James Island and the Gulf Islands in the distance or windsurfing and kitboarding in the water.

For more information you can check out the CRD website on Island View Beach or earlier blog.