I spent a week in what is in my opinion the most livable city in Canada, Victoria. Two hours of ferry riding  through a raft of broken islands and a short drive or twenty minutes by float plane and you’re in a different world. City fathers over generations have done a fantastic job of preserving the nineteenth century character of the provincial capital. Victoria is primarily a university city and seat of government, at the same time young and affluent with students and richly paid civic servants. Brick architecture reflects a British influence. Victoria is no secret but handles the tourist industry well. Restaurants and cafe’s are numerous. Friendly individually owned shops line the streets as opposed to the faceless chain stores of many cities. A very pleasant place, indeed.


– a dancer practices for a performance in an open square.


find clubs packed with young students partying.


-lots of period architecture


– Chinatown has  a lot of good restaurants and stores.


– lots of cool little cafe’s to hang out in when it drizzles.



– sights and sounds of an unhurried place.


– really different street art found unexpectedly.






– West Olson, photographer and my local guide through Fan Tan Alley.



– he took me to some cool cafes….where the owners encourage you to stay and hang.


– intimate shoppes hidden down shady alley ways.


– fantastic natural light for a new head shot.

  1. kizzylee says:

    love this post very interesting, not somewhere i would have thought of before but now i really want to go visit thank you for sharing!

  2. auntyuta says:

    Thanks for this post. Yes, Victoria seems to be a nice place to visit. I like these individually owned shops.

    • I found so many eclectic shops flourishing. It’s nice not to have to look at the same crap everywhere you go. I particularily liked the fact that a vibrant art and culture scene was so immediately obvious and accessible.

  3. auntyuta says:

    Maybe Australia is in this regard a bit like Canada. Some smaller places in Australia are keeping alive by concentrating on art and culture and tourism. As to the cities of Australia, we were once in Perth and could feel the British colonial influence. A lot of beautiful old buildings and extensive parks gave us a very good feel. You can still experience something similar in the CBD of Melbourne and the inner suburbs of Melbourne.
    Sydney is probably more Americanised as compared to Melbourne. Still, there are some spots in Sydney that we love very much, for instance beautiful beaches and waterways and a very good coffee culture! 🙂

    • What I remember fondly about Aussie is parrots on the beach, pie shops and watching lightning storms at sea from my waterfront balcony. ‘Americanized’ is a metaphor for something of a culture or history either gained, lost or wished for… there’s nothing like the real thing.

      • auntyuta says:

        I think the American society is a very diverse society. Think of the way people live in Texas as opposed for instance New York. Some people say New York is not America the way Paris is not France. But what seems to dominate in mainstream America are these chains like McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks and so on. The lifestyle seems to be a more hurried one in America generally, probably not that much in Texas, right?

        I think in Australia poor people are better looked after than in America. However the Australian way seems to be to become more like America. I don’t say everything is bad in America. But some things are not so good! I am talking of course about the United Stated of America.
        You are right, it used to be the land of our dreams. Maybe for some people it still is.

        Natural beauty you can find everywhere in Australia and I am sure in America too. However where people become desperately poor and natural beauty is more or less destroyed.it becomes a different matter. There’s a difference between being desperately poor or just being at the bottom of the social scale but still being able to make a living.

  4. A major difference is the US is not euro-centric….People come here to be something other than burdened with what they were. Personal freedom and independence is the driving force behind the national motivation of fiercely protecting individual rights, this is whats described as ‘freedom’ in the US. Freedom has become a context, an adjective and euphemism in many countries….it actually exists unfettered here.

    I think you might be surprised by the fact that even with all the major franchises on the landscape…the driving force is small businesses. There are more small businesses here than anywhere I’ve ever seen. There is opportunity here in abundance. You are expected to take responsibility for yourself….the social-net is not promoted as a way of life. The government hasn’t taxed or regulated people out of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Texas is a sublime mix of ‘laid back’ and frenzied business culture…you’ll find people here much more stereotypically American than in New York. The difference between the two cultures is that Texas has maintained it’s civil culture in the competitive fray far more than New York, as if people here are far more self-assured. I assume this is why Texas grows faster than any other state…freedom. low taxes….opportunity…..that’s America.

    I don’t agree with the notion of a welfare state…we have that in Canada…we also have an elitist class of civil servants and subsidized labour unions who thrive on the backs of the the taxpayer…we also have an extremely high cost of living index and taxation to support the socialist class. Socialism doesn’t help the poor…it makes bureaucrats rich and they keep the poor beholden to welfare in order to perpetuate their own wealth and power.

    • auntyuta says:

      In a way what you say does make sense to me, however I cannot agree completely. For instance this system of total ‘freedom’ does lead to excesses in some places and destitution for others. I mean I am all for it that people who work hard should be able to make it in life. Sure, everyone should be encouraged to contribute to the community. Why then are there more and more people unemployed? And how come some people can earn millions every year? Do you really think they deserve to make millions? Why? I do not like necessarily a socialist society, but what I want to see is a society where some kind of justice prevails. And where every child is given the opportunity of an education, as well as medical care if needed.
      If bureaucrats become corrupt, this is regrettable of course. But it is also regrettable if people who work hard are not paid proper wages. Taxation, this is something nobody sees as essential and necessary. How much are very rich people being taxed, for instance? And why is it that the middle classes always have to pay more taxes? Another thing that irks me is the prison population. How come millions of people develop criminal tendencies and end up in jail? How much money do jails cost the taxpayer?
      But we must be doing something right for life expectancy has increased immensely over the past hundred or two hundred years. And in first world countries overweight seems to be more of a problem than underweight. Some of it might be genetic. But I go with the people who promote a healthy lifestyle by eating ‘healthy’ nourishing food. My mantra would be avoid excesses as much as possible; try to stay on the middle road!
      Wars in third world countries lead to millions of displace and starving people. Why is that? Should we be concerned about this? Should we aim at reducing the weapons trade? How can this be done? Sorry I have too many questions. I know, there are no immediate answers for it, not really.

      • In Cuba field workers and doctors make the same wage… but there is no incentive to contribute to the community and chaos prevails. There is no example in history where Marxism has succeeded. Rich people pay a higher proportion of any nation’s taxes than the poor. In the US over 50% of the population pays zero income tax. The middle class of the western world pays a higher percentage of their wages to taxation because they demand more free government services and agree to pay the civil service unsustainable wages and benefits. Russia has an excellent and efficient prison system, no fun for the prisoners though. In Africa and India being morbidly obese is a status symbol.

  5. auntyuta says:

    I guess, it is all relative, isn’t it? Personally I like a good life, I really do. I regard myself as belonging to the fortunate few who have been given a chance to lead this ‘good’ life. What I do not like is excesses, corruption, war, violence, exploitation, abuse in any form.
    I like laughter, people being kind to each other, respecting each other. All this you can find among people and sometimes under the most dire circumstances. So overall I have hope for humankind.
    Thanks, J West, for all your responses. Thank you! 🙂

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