Saturday, February 13, 2010

Waves on Dallas Road

The equinoctial winds are starting to arrive in Victoria. A lot of us get a bit of a thrill when it happens and we head down to Dallas Road to see the action. A good place to take in the sights of waves pounding on a beach while safe and warm is at the Dive Shop Cafe at Ogden Point. This is easily the best view from any cafe in Victoria. The dainties are not up to Murchies' standard, but they are better than Starbucks. Leading out to the navigation light, a breakwater protects the cruise ships that will soon be arriving for another season. The danger warning is serious. Almost every year someone ignores it and is swept away. Today the winds were still fairly tame, but being a confirmed coward I didn't venture far along the walkway.
Victoria is bounded on three sides by water and besides that a tidal river runs through it. What is the name of this tidal river? Well, just like our streets, its name depends on what part of it you mean. The Inner Harbour is where it discharges. Before that it's the Upper Harbour, Selkirk Water, the Gorge Water, and various other designations. Victoria's original European settlers were English and Scotch, you see.
Similarly, if you want to get to Dallas Road from downtown while following the shore the yellow brick road starts on Belleville and in the course of moving clockwise around the perimeter of James Bay (a neighbourhood, not an actual body of water) you will jog left on Pendray, squiggle to the right along Quebec, then to the left on Montreal, right again on to Kingston, left on St. Lawrence, and right again on Erie before you finally get to Dallas Road. This all takes place within about three or four blocks- and short blocks at that. Perhaps they did it this way to confuse any dastardly American invaders. Now, of course, we love American invaders. We have hotels where they can stay, restaurants where they can eat, shops where they can shop, and lots of buses, taxis, horse buggies and pedicabs to take them there.
Dallas Road itself continues around the James Bay neighbourhood, passes Ogden Point, Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, Ross Bay, ending when it turns into Hollywood Crescent, at which point the road picks up several more names as it circumscribes the east shoreline of Victoria, Oak Bay, and Saanich. Sometimes I wish they would rename the whole thing- I like The Corniche. Sounds quite chic and continental, doesn't it? And why shouldn't it? As you drive, or better, walk or cycle along the route, the prospect continually changes, from the busy downtown harbour, to a view of the Olympic Mountains across the way, to the San Juan Islands, marinas, Cattle Point, skirting the ritzy Uplands neighbourhood... it would be the envy of any Continental city.

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