All the ships are gone, and a wintry tranquility settles on James Bay. Fleets of tour buses are silent, hibernating, and it's possible to get a seat at the Ogden Point Cafe. I don't think there is any doubt that this cafe has the best ocean view of any in Victoria. Right above the dive shop, it looks out over the half mile long curve of the breakwater where waves thunder on blustery days. Today is not blustery. Today, the ocean sparkles. The sky is blue. The air has an autumnal briskness to it. Walkers stroll out to the navigation light. The haze in the sky toward Port Angeles would be hardly noticeable if it weren't for the vague dreaminess of the Olympics. Absent the haze they are overwhelmingly massive. When the haze increases, they are invisible. This is the time of the year when the sun's rays come to us northerners at an angle, illuminating everything in a soft glow, especially in late afternoon.
James Bay is becoming gentrified and the clientele at the Ogden Point Cafe are obviously members of the gentry- retired civil servants and business people, largely. I feel like a bit of an imposter here.
Not that long ago James Bay had a seedy reputation ignored and tucked away where it was behind the government buildings and the fancy hotels that line the inner harbour. Most of the moneyed sort migrated to Uplands and Oak Bay, while young families went to the suburbs. A burst of apartment building in the '60's came to a stop in the '70's when the Dave Barrett's socialists instituted a rent control law which made apartment building an unprofitable proposition. To make matters worse, they revised the landlord tenancy act to make it virtually impossible to get rid of a bad tenant. Thus began the condominium era, and a subsequent dearth of 'affordable housing,' for which the nefarious capitalists were blamed. I used to think socialist policies were just stupid, but now I favour the view that they were actually intended to create a shortage of housing precisely so they could blame the capitalists. With an economically uneducated media to help it must have seemed like a sure thing. In any event the self-described business friendly government we have now has not had the courage to repeal the rent control law, although they have eased the landlord tenancy provisions slightly. Not enough to attract investors to the rental market, though.
The Socialists are OK with a housing shortage. Not only can they blame the capitalists, but they can huff and puff and pretend to come to the rescue with 'social housing' programs. There are quite a few of those in James Bay, and like government housing projects everywhere they are frequently infested with drug dealers and other undesirables. Oh, but it's impolite to mention that our government actually subsidizes the drug trade or that without such subsidies the gruesome butcheries of Robert Picton in Coquitlam might never have happened. Socialists depend for their survival on people being stupid, which may explain what they have done to our schools.
I feel sorry for the drug people. Why would somebody want to do drugs in Victoria? Victoria in itself is a drug, but a healthy, nourishing drug, like a tonic full of vitamins and minerals. How can they not see that?
I don't see any fisherman on the breakwater today. The salmon season is over but the rockfish and ling cod are still out there. I'm thinking of taking up the pastime next season, though I can barely tie a square knot. I've never had much luck in my previous attempts to catch fish, but no matter. How can you call an hour or two on the breakwater a waste of time? And then there are numerous other rocky points and beaches in the vicinity still unfamiliar to me.
Meanwhile, I'll just look out of my eyes.