We are presently on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia. Many are the attractions we have visited! And as I always say, you just never know where a Disney reference will surface.
Or as in this case, show up under foot:
This was found at the Miniature World attraction in Victoria. You can check out the website for a preview of the amazing miniature scenes they have created there. But as everyone else was focusing on the main displays, I was looking up… and down!
The nigh-infamous now-problematic non-consensual kissing scene is reproduced so those who are offended can walk all over it. Have at it!
The main scene above doesn’t look overly 3D in the picture but it was breathtaking in person. The carpet patch was directly in front of this display.
I’m always looking for interesting Disney things on my travels and also found an old Snow White kitchen sink at one Antique Mall I visited years ago. Take a look!
With a former quarry as a canvas, Jennie Butchart envisioned transforming the space into a beautiful garden haven, overflowing with lush greens and colourful blooms. Sounds reasonable. The result of her vision is The Gardens, which are still family run to this day. And I can confirm that they are indeed lush and beautiful!
Located at 800 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay, this tourist destination is well worth the drive. It’s a bit of a jaunt from Victoria but doable for a day trip.
It all started in 1904 when husband and wife, Robert and Jennie Butchart, moved to Vancouver Island from Ontario to build a cement plant on a rich limestone deposit at Tod Inlet. By 1912 the cement production had exhausted the limestone deposits, so Jennie envisioned a grand garden in its place. And the rest, as they say, is gardening history!
Butchart Gardens is made up of 55 acres of gardens with some 900 bedding plant varieties and 26 greenhouses. It takes up to 50 full-time gardeners to keep everything weeded and looking presentable. If you plan to visit, I dare you to try to take a bad picture! It can’t be done.
When looked at from a bird’s eye view, one can see how spread out the gardens are. I found it a bit hard to make my way around, getting lost more than once, wondering which route I was supposed to take to get to the next viewing area. But that wasn’t a trial as there was always something good to look at no matter where you found yourself!
The first area to be completed was the old quarry itself, which became the Sunken Gardens. You have to walk down some stairs to get to it, but the exercise is worth it, which I believe the video above proves nicely!
But what would a post on one of the most renowned gardens in the world be without some pictures of flowers? So, enjoy:
Nice little touches can be found in every nook and cranny of the site, like this wonderful Water Wheel feature that is near the front entrance, by the Gift Shop:
As mentioned, there is the obligatory Gift Shop, but it is quite expansive and interesting in its own right. You can also get some basic snacks and drinks.
Due to the pandemic, some features of the Gardens aren’t functioning, like the old London Bus tour and the boat tour. Hopefully these will return soon.
Admission prices fluctuate depending on the season. Expect to pay between $24.00 – $36.00 CAN for adults (18+), between $12.00 – $18.00 CAN for youths (13-17), and $2.00 or $3.00 CAN for children (5-12). Hours of operation are roughly between 9am and 4pm.
As far as attractions go, you won’t find a better one! I would give Butchart Gardens a solid 5 Out of 5Stars all day long.
You can visit the Official Website here, and check out my other post on this attraction, where I give my review of the job the Imagineers of Disney did with the Canadian Pavilion at EPCOT, which contains an homage to, you guessed it: Butchart Gardens!
FOOTNOTE: To make the trip to Butchart Gardens even more eventful, you may want to add a visit to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens found at Benvenuto Avenue, so on the same street. You can’t miss it! It also has an Insectarium. Yup. One of those. And thousands of tropical butterflies (up to 70 species) fly through the large facility as they share the space with poison dart frogs, tortoises, large iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, free flying tropical birds and more.
Your jungle adventure awaits! However, at $17.00 CAN per adult, you may want to wait until a butterfly finds your own garden at home. If you’re interested, I’d only give this attraction a 3.5 Out of 5Stars due to the limited offerings available. Worth doing once, but perhaps not again.
If you like to take it slow and relax sometimes, why not take in the sights of Mexico and the antics of a certain trio of feathered amigos on a gentle boat ride through the Mexico Pavilion in EPCOT?
This attraction is inspired by the 1944 Disney film The Three Caballeros. As you float in your boat, the adventure comes to life around you against a backdrop of live-action footage, hand-drawn animation and the jaunty musical score from the movie.
We love this attraction and almost always ride it when we visit EPCOT. Of course, the Mexico Pavilion is just cool all around, so a visit is always a plus!
I love attraction posters and the ones for the Three Caballeros are amazing! Let’s have a look:
You’ll notice as you check out each of the full-body posters that each character is holding up three fingers for the Three Caballeros. Now, we know that Donald is a Duck, hence his rather on-point name. But do you know what the other two birds actually are, and where they are from?
José Carioca is a Brazilian parrot. Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. So logically it was on the list of places for Walt Disney to visit when he did his Latin Good Will Tour that later provided the research for the movie that brought these three birds together.
Panchito is a Mexican charro rooster (but not that Charo – “cuchi-cuchi”). Mexico is in the southern portion of North America. It was also visited by Walt Disney and crew for research.
But now it’s time to leave the South and head back into the real world. So…
Thanks for visiting us today and if you are also a fan of this attraction, or the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT, you may enjoy this earlier post on a Donald Duck Piñata or this one on a José Carioca Cookie Jar.
Leave it to a guy from Ontario to visit British Columbia only to buy a vintage shirt that came from Fiji. Yup, I get around!
Not much can be found about the company Kai-VeiKau nowadays, and it seems that the company is no longer in business. At least it doesn’t have a significant Internet presence if it is. However, the company name seems to be lifted from the House of Chiefs in Fiji consisting of the Fijian nobility, composed of about seventy chiefs of various ranks, the majority of which are related.
This shirt likely comes from the 1960s or 1970s if the man I bought it from is any indication. He was older and had a wide range of such shirts that he had personally collected as he travelled the world.
Ever since I visited Walt Disney World and experienced the Enchanted Tiki Room for the first time, I’ve been hooked on Hawaiian music and design. The more vintage and authentic the better!
As I browsed through the rack of shirts the aforementioned man was selling, I noticed a similarity between Hawaiian and Fiji patterns and themes.
Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the U.S. mainland. It is comprised of nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago which includes 137 volcanic islands spanning 1,500 miles (2,400 km) that are basically part of the Polynesian sub region of Oceania.
Fiji is is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies about 1,300 miles (2,000 km) northeast of New Zealand. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands and more than 500 islets.
So although these two places have similar topography and a connection via the Pacific Ocean, they are totally different places and about 3,100 miles (5,000 km) apart. So we better not call this a Hawaiian Shirt!
The waters of Fiji boast five of the seven living species of sea turtles: Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead, and Olive Ridley. The first two, the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle, are more commonly sighted. So this would explain the turtle motif of this shirt. Especially the Green Turtle, as the image of the turtle on the shirt is a stylized version of it, and the colour is a definite clue!
So my hunt for a vintage and authentic Hawaiian shirt will just have to continue! But in the meantime, I’ll be stylin’ with my Fiji counterpart.
FUN FACTS: Staying with the green theme, the Fijian name for the Green Turtle is Vonu Dina.
We continue our look at the sights and wonders of Vancouver Island with a visit to the newest attraction to be added to the many things to do and see, officially opened to the public on Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.. The Malahat Skywalk is a wonderful place to stroll through the timbers and gawk at the vistas! All from the space usually reserved for the birds.
Malahat SkyWalk is an accessible 600 meter (2,000 feet) elevated TreeWalk through a beautiful arbutus forest leading to a spectacular gentle spiral ramp that takes you up 32m (100 feet, or ten stories) to a sightseeing lookout offering views of Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker and the distant Coast Mountains.
Just look for this sign by the side of the Trans Canada Highway 1 North along the Pacific Marine Circle Route within the Cowichan Valley. For full directions on how to get here, from just about anywhere, please check out their Official Website and look under ‘Plan Your Visit’ and ‘Getting Here’ at the bottom of the opening page. But just so you can get your bearings, it is approximately half way between Duncan and Victoria.
It may look like a lot of walking but really it is doable by anyone, young or old, and even those with mobility issues. We saw many with wheelchairs and canes making out just fine! And there are plenty of benches along the way for taking a break and looking at the scenery.
Before you enter the main trail, where you present your admission ticket, you can see several well done driftwood sculptures. Then you enter the TreeWalk and make your way to the Spiral Tower. But keep in mind that once you exit the attraction, there is no reentry allowed.
The Spiral Tower is built primarily from durable Douglas-fir timber with steel supports. It is very stable, but if you stood still while at the top and paid attention, you could feel a little sway. But you will feel very safe.
When you are done for the day, you can choose your way down with a return walk on the ramp or take the fast route on the Spiral Slide. We didn’t do the slide as it had over an hour wait for just a 10-second descent! But if you had the time, it did look like a lot of fun, at least from the screams we heard!
But while you are still up at the top of the Spiral Tower, you’ll want to pluck up your courage and take a daring walk out onto the Adventure Net! Just don’t look down (I’m kidding, you have to look down!) If you aren’t sure if this is for you, check out my saunter in the air:
But what everyone is really here for is the views. And the Malahat Walk doesn’t disappoint:
You have a panoramic viewing opportunity, but the best views are in two directions overlooking the Coast Mountains and the majestic waters. Looking ‘behind’ does yield awesome views of the woodlands.
Mount Baker has been playing ‘Peek-a-Boo’ with us through dense fog ever since we arrived on the Island. So when we had a chance to sightsee on a clear day, we leapt at the chance to finally get a good picture of this impressive mountain, which you can see in the picture below (left):
As you can see from our smiles (above, right) we would highly recommend this attraction! For just over $30.00 CAN per adult, it is certainly well worth the money.
Just to mention another option for viewing the trees and wildlife, instead of returning to the Welcome Centre (with the obligatory Gift Shop and Café) via the TreeWalk, you can opt for a dirt path that winds through the wilderness. We did this and got some nice views of the TreeWalk and Spiral Tower from below. This might not be the best option for those with mobility issues.
Speaking of the Gift Shop, it is a bit sparse at this point. They are waiting for more targeted merchandise with images of the Spiral Tower and TreeWalk structure on them. What is available now are more generic items with images you can find at any Vancouver Island store but with Malahat Skywalk printed on them.
Overall, I would give this experience a strong 5 Out of 5 Stars as I feel it gives great value for the admission fee.
What are Squinkies, you ask? I’m surprised you don’t know! They are… um… okay, hard to describe! Maybe you should just click the link for a very thorough look into their history and availability today (Spoiler Alert: They are currently on ‘a break’ as a product).
But at one point they had a licensing agreement with Disney and produced this fun little character set featuring Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. And here they are, in all their Squinkiness:
These are less than one inch high but gargantuan in cuteness! Each has a childlike look and are completely squishable. Yes, you can squeeze them and they giggle. Actually, they don’t giggle. But they look like they might!
Snow White gets two figures, one with an apple and one without. We knew the Prince would show up someday. Notice that they are looking sideways at each other when you stand them together?
This great silhouette image was actually animated on the wall of a Disney Store! The Dwarfs would march across the log from time to time. Their famous call ‘Hi Ho!’ song would play as they did, and it reminds me of a post I did about the Hi Ho Diner and how they obtained the license to use the Dwarfs to theme the restaurant. Check it out! But I digress…
Who can name all seven of the Dwarfs without cheating? Me neither. So let us cheat together and look at the Squinkies versions of each:
Doc was the leader with Grumpy having the most lines after him. But the last Dwarf didn’t have much to say at all:
Dopey was always lagging behind… except when it came time to steal an extra kiss from Snow White. And he got it! Who’s the silly ones now, you other Dwarfs?
This link to the Names of the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White is interesting. It gives a nice overview of the background of the dwarfs and how they traveled from literature, to Broadway, to Walt Disney. It’s a trip worth taking with them!
Neither of this woman’s looks were particularly inviting, were they? But I guess the version on the left was less menacing… until you realize that she was the one who wanted to rip out Snow White’s heart! Yikes. Maybe I’ll take my chances with the poison apple!
We are at the end of the post, so only one thing remains to do. I have a question for a certain ‘someone’: “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest blogger of them all?” Can you guess who I’m hoping he says?
1955 saw the release of Disney’s 15th animated feature film, Lady and the Tramp. It was based on the original 1945 Cosmopolitan magazine story “Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog” by Ward Greene. 2012 saw the release of the Disney Store 25th Anniversary Lady and the Tramp Figurine Set. There were just 1955 of these sets produced to commemorate the date of the films original release.
Each box was approximately 3 1/2″ high by 10 1/2″ in diameter and came with a Certificate of Authenticity, like this one:
Each ceramic figurine is hand-painted with a gloss finish and is between 2″ and 4″ tall, depending on the character. Would you like to meet the pack?
As you saw in the opening image, to give a nod to the film, these figurines came in a pink hat box, just like the one Baby Lady is sitting in above.
As we all know by now, the film tells the story of a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives a refined life until she gets mixed up with a male stray mutt called Tramp. After a few adventures together, they fall in love. Precious! I resisted the temptation to use the term ‘Puppy Love’ and… Doh!
It seems almost every Disney animated classic has a controversial scene or character in view of modern sensibilities, and the Siamese Cats called Si and Am are this films shame. I don’t believe the fact that they are Siamese is the problem, but rather that they used stereotypical ‘mangled’ English in place of a real Asian accent.
Whether you have a problem with them or not, they did provide a nemesis for Lady and a vehicle to move the story along, which needed a way to get Lady banned from the house.
Every protagonist needs a faithful friend or two to support them in their darkest hour. Jock and Trusty certainly fit this bill for Lady!
Even when Lady ended up in the Dog Pound, she had a helpful companion in the form of a feisty street-wise canine named Peg (voiced by Peggy Lee).
A direct-to-video sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, was released on February 27 of 2001. I think we can safely say it wasn’t the classic its ma and pa were! Was? Doesn’t matter: Wasn’t!
These little woof-woofs are adorable and now sit upon the dresser of my wife. The same woman who tried to talk me out of buying them! Strange how things work out, isn’t it?
Into every small town must come a guy who is just passing through. He’s not interested in stopping for gas, in soaking up the local atmosphere, or buying a souvenir. So don’t ask him! He’ll just set his car alarm and keep on driving.
At least that’s what Leroy Traffik did when he mistakenly ended up in Radiator Springs while lost with his wife. He just wanted to know how to get back on the Interstate. And although he turned down everything from a night at the Cozy Cone to a new paint job, he did end up with a bumper sticker.
And at some time in the future, a set of Snow Tires from Luigi’s, of all things. After all, he was travelling through the desert! So it seems to be a strange purchase.
Pixar’s CARS franchise is a license to print money as just about every background character and crowd scene participant has earned their own die cast figure. And multiple variations. I believe I have another Leroy wearing (is that the right term for these guys?) just his normal radials!
But I just had to have this variation of a mini van with large tires. And Disney/Pixar goes ‘Ka-Ching!’
I will say that these die cast models are well crafted and aren’t just cheap plastic or some other light-weight material. These are hefty metal cars with fine detailing. So I don’t feel too bad about collecting way too many of them! And Disney/Pixar goes ‘Ka-Ching!’
Grenada is an island country in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. It consists of the main island of Grenada, two lesser islands, and several tiny islands as well. The main island is is 348.5 square kilometers (134.6 sq. mi).
Okay, the geography lesson is concluded for today, class. It’s now time for our Art Class. Please open your stamp collections and follow along with the rest of the post:
This nice set of stamps was released in 1979 with artwork provided by Walt Disney Productions. This would have ensured that the characters remained ‘on model’ and recognizable to the world.
Mickey Mouse himself throws the opening pitch with a baseball themed 1/2¢ stamp. And he is appropriately playing in the Mouseketeer League!
Donald Duck engages in some hijinks (see what I did there?) and I think a bit of cheating to win in the High Jump. I wouldn’t give a 1¢ stamp for his chances with the judges!
And… Goofy is being goofy. I guess he decided to give more than his 2¢ worth and just throw his whole body at the net!
And… Goofy is still being goofy. This time he’s upped the antae to 3¢ but it doesn’t seem to have improved his results! Unless this is a new race where you are supposed to knock down everything in your path.
It’s fitting that Donald is on the 4¢ stamp as I’m pretty sure he will be yelling ‘Fore!’ after he hits the ball out of this water trap! If he hits it. The bag might sink first.
As with other islands from the Caribbean, cricket is the national and most popular sport and is an intrinsic part of Grenadian culture. The British did have dominion over the islands at one point and no doubt brought along the game and a pot of tea. If I had a 5¢ for every cup of tea I’ve sipped, I’d still need to work full-time!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our humorous look at sports with Mickey and friends. If you’d like to know more about Grenada and the vacation opportunities it offers, please visit the Official Website here and learn all about The Spice of the Caribbean.
There are many out-of-the-way places on this Earth. Finding them is an adventure and experiencing them, a privilege! My wife and I just recently enjoyed a visit to a historic landmark in British Columbia, Canada.
The Koksilah Bridge, or Kinsol Trestle, was completed in 1920. It is twelve stories tall and made entirely of wood likely harvested from Vancouver Island itself. It had a rich history of service before being decommissioned, abandoned, restored, and then reopened to the public as a tourist attraction.
Upon arriving in the rather small parking lot, you are greeted with this introductory signage:
We are now a ways along the Cowichan Valley Trail which was an integral part of the Great Trail route of Southern Vancouver Island. It’s a short 1.2 km walk (about 3/4 of a mile) from the sign to the beginning of the trestle:
Again, we are greeted by another sign to update us on our progress:
We learn that we have about 187 meters (or 615 feet) to go to reach the other side of the trestle. Let’s get started!
As you can clearly see, some of the most beautiful views are going to be available from this vantage point!
We are now almost completely across the trestle and ready to explore the other side. There are three levels for observation: From the trestle; From a secondary viewing plateau, and from the bottom of the valley.
There was also a small covered kiosk with more informational signage and this uniquely wrapped utility box:
Before we continue with more images and text, please enjoy this short video:
Perhaps you’re wondering just how high twelve stories feels like when you look straight down! Well, wonder no more:
The following image should also help to establish just how high this trestle is:
We arrived at the parking lot about 6:45 pm on Saturday, September 18th. By the time we walked to the trestle, explored, took photographs, and read up on our history from all of the great signage, it was time to make our way back to the car before nightfall. After all, it was going to be a brisk walk through bear country. so…
It had been raining off and on all day and this made for some fantastic shots of the trees and mountains. We paused just long enough to take one more shot:
Okay, now it was time to hike it on out of there! I would highly recommend this attraction to anyone. It is wheelchair accessible and easily reached by even the youngest of children. The walk out is not too long and is certainly picturesque. But what awaits you is breathtaking and well worth the effort!
If you would like to visit this historical site yourself, here are the coordinates:
Latitude: 48 degrees 40′ 6.34″ N
Longitude: -123 degrees 41′ 37.77″ W
I believe the nearest city to this location is North Saanich. It’s also quite close to Maple Bay. If you like the great outdoors and unusual manmade structures, this is for you!