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Victoria

To Market, To Market

Ruby's Natural Handmade Soaps and jewellery, James Bay Market

Ruby’s Natural Handmade Soaps and jewellery, James Bay Market

Victoria’s vibrant public market scene is an excellent way to discover the unique food and cultural flavour of the Capital Region. From farmer’s markets to outdoor arts and crafts venues, there’s much to discover.

One of the longest-standing markets in the region is the James Bay Market, conveniently located just steps from the Inner Harbour at the corner of Menzies and Superior streets (next to the provincial legislative buildings). With a mandate of “Handmade. Homemade, Homegrown,” this is the place to discover handmade arts and crafts, locally grown fruit and vegetables, fresh flowers, home-baked treats, live music, hot and cold snacks, drinks and much more! Come explore Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.

Other Markets worth a visit? 

• Moss Street Market in Fairfield is chock-full of delicious organic produce, other delicious foodstuffs and an array of artisan wares.

• In the heart of the region’s agricultural area, the Peninsula Country Market has been welcoming shoppers for more than 20 years to the Saanich Fairgrounds, Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm.

• Street markets are a growing trend and one of the region’s best is the Thursday night Sidney Summer Market, when lower Beacon Avenue becomes a pedestrian-only area filled with farmers, artisans and other vendors, not to mention a variety of entertainers and food purveyors.

• The community of Oak Bay, just a few minutes from downtown, also hosts a monthly street market – a great opportunity to explore the works of local growers and producers, but also the many unique shops and services in the neighbourhood itself. Coming markets are planned for July 9, August 13 and September 10.

 

 

Cheech & Chong go Up In Smoke

Cheech & Chong

Cheech & Chong

Take in the antics of one of comedy history’s favourite duos when Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke Tour fills the Royal Theatre July 20, accompanied by music from WAR.

A complete integration of WAR’s timeless catalogue and Cheech & Chong’s hilarious brand of comedy and music, the party begins with WAR performing such hits as Why Can’t We Be Friends, Low Rider and Cisco Kid.

Next comes a combination of Cheech and Chong’s most infamous songs (backed up by WAR) such as Earache My Eye, Basketball Jones and Mexican Americans, plus some of their most iconic comedic skits such as Dave’s Not Here, Santa Claus and His Magic Dust and Sister Mary Elephant.

Cheech & Chong’s first film, Up In Smoke, was the highest-grossing comedy of 1978. In 2009, the duo made history when comedy partners Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong announced their first reunion tour in more than 25 years, selling out shows from coast to coast.

Summer Salon & Gorgeous Glassworks

Tammy Hudgeon, Fused Glass Bouquet

Tammy Hudgeon, Fused Glass Bouquet

Sunny summer days are celebrated at West End Gallery with a Summer Salon featuring leading Canadian painters in an outstanding group exhibition. Showcasing the diversity and talent of Canadian artists and their work, landscapes, still lifes, abstracts, impressionists, urban and figurative styles are all represented in this varied collection from an artist line-up that includes Steven Armstrong, Claudette Castonguay, Rod Charlesworth, Richard Cole, Ken Faulks, Greta Guzek, Patricia Johnston, Paul Jorgensen, Elka Nowicka, Guy Roy, Claude A. Simard and Linny D. Vine.

Accompanying these exquisite painters will be works from an array of glass artists from across Canada including Vancouver Island’s Robert Held, Gabriola Island’s Tammy Hudgeon, Darren Petersen, Paull Rodrigue and David Thai.

Nicholas Bott, Westcoasteventide

Nicholas Bott, Westcoasteventide

Colours of Summer 

Discover the Colours of Summer at Madrona Galley’s fourth annual group exhibition.

Each of the gallery’s artists has contributed new work that embodies their idea of summer, allowing viewers to enjoy a broad range of styles, ranging from the expressionistic abstracts of Scott Pattinson to the majestic landscapes of Nicholas Bott and Rick Bond. Also included in this exhibition will be a selection of important historical paintings from top tier Canadian artists.

 

Girls: Historical Portraits

Images of girls and young women are everywhere, and can affect how we think about girls themselves, as well as their roles and potential in the world. Touched by this truth, Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, is showcasing how artists have portrayed girls with a new exhibition, Girls: Historical Portraits from the Collection.

Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye and Lena Dunham’s hit HBO show Girls, “girls have always been a compelling subject for artists, and it’s very interesting to see a range of artistic depictions of girls and young women spanning the past 200 or so years,” Jacques reflects.

Works include formal and informal portraits, intimate character studies, as well as more poetic interpretations of the young sitters from the gallery’s extensive collection, accompanied by thought-provoking text panels.

 

 

Lively, fresh and local at LURE

Lure

One of Victoria’s favourite culinary destinations celebrates summer with a new taste of “lively, fresh and local.”

LURE Restaurant & Bar, located at Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa, recently re-opened with a fresh, welcoming space set against the spectacular backdrop of Victoria’s Inner Harbour – the perfect setting to savour the incredible local cuisine.

Local Chef Dan Bain puts a creative twist to his comforting local menu using the freshest finds from Vancouver Island’s backyard. The expanded menu will feature fresh, simple and delicious breakfast selections, mouth-watering small plates for sharing and a full dinner menu featuring Victoria’s best seafood and regional cuisine.

Showcasing the unique culinary diversity sourced from Vancouver Island’s growers, fishers, and artisan food and beverage producers, diners can savour mussels from Salt Spring Island, steelhead trout from Lois Lake, honey from Babe’s Honey Farm, organic cheese from Moonstruck Organic Cheese, and craft beer from Phillips Brewing Company.

This summer, stop by the restaurant patio and balcony to enjoy a drink or meal by the harbour or check out a new evening feature with popular local DJs will performing at the bar.

 

Pub Crawl…with a Twist

Victoria is well-known for its lively pub scene, whether your tastes lean to innovative new flavours emerging from our celebrated craft brewers or something a little more traditional.

Explore a few local favourites while someone else does the driving – or sailing – with the Victoria Harbour Ferry’s Pickle Boat Pub Crawl, running daily until September 14. The tour features stops at Bard & Banker Scottish Pub, Irish Times Pub, The Guild Freehouse, Lure Restaurant & Lounge, and Blue Crab Seafood House.

Heart & Hope

DragonBoat

 

Victoria Dragonboat Festival marks 20 years in the Inner Harbour August 15 to 17

For 20 years, the Victoria Dragonboat Festival has welcomed paddlers from across North America to local waters, engaging in challenging paddling competition, cultural celebrations and support for those who have experienced cancer.

The only such festival held in a working harbour, there’s plenty to see and do in Victoria’s Inner Harbour August 15 to 17. The traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony kicks things off August 15 when Taoist priests wake the sleeping spirits of the dragon boats, cleanse the area of competition, bless the competitors and their boats, and charge the boats and their crews with the Spirit of the Dragon and the Goddess of the Sea.

Teams race approximately 470 metres, from the start line at Laurel Point toward the iconic Empress Hotel in the heart of downtown Victoria, to the cheers of hundreds of fans lining the pier. Racing runs from 8am to around 4pm Saturday, with semi-final action starting Sunday morning.

Not all the action takes place on the water. In addition to a full-line-up of multicultural entertainment on-shore, scheduled activities include Chinatown and First Nations walking tours with local historian John Adams and the always-fun Paddlers’ Air Band Contest Saturday. Indulge in flavours from around the world at the Forbidden City Food Court, home to such diverse fare as Filipino spring rolls and Polish perogies, cool off in the beer garden or peruse the market stalls. The festival promises much to see and do, all in the heart of Victoria’s dynamic downtown.

Weekend highlights include Friday’s Lights of Courage Illumination Ceremony honouring those who have been affected by cancer and raising funds for research and treatment, and Sunday’s Breast Cancer Survivors’ Ceremony and Honour Arch, honouring friends who have fought breast cancer, and the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Challenge race, followed by the Carnation Toss ceremony.

To recognize a loved one affected by cancer, simply buy a colourful Chinese paper lantern from Victoria Fairway Market stores, the Bay Centre, Denny’s Restaurant or on-site at the a BC Cancer Foundation tent and write a message as a tribute to anyone you knew who has been diagnosed with cancer. The lanterns will be illuminated Friday evening, as thousands of fellow supporters look on and remain hanging throughout the festival. All proceeds from lantern sales support the BC Cancer Foundation.

Dragon Boats Festival

Festival Schedule

Friday

1pm – Eye Dotting Ceremony

2:30pm – Chinatown walking tour with local historian John Adams

7pm – Headlining band

9pm – Lights of Courage Illumination Ceremony

 

Saturday

8am to 4pm – Racing in the harbour

9am – Kids’ Tent opens

1pm – First Nations walking tour with local
historian John Adams

2 & 3:30pm – Chinatown walking tours

6:30pm – Paddlers’ Air Band Contest

9pm – Saturday night headliners

 

Sunday

8:30am – Semi-Final races begin

9am – Kids’ Tent opens

11am – First Nations walking tour

12 & 1:30pm – Chinatown walking tours

3pm – Award ceremonies, taking place on the Main Stage every 15 minutes, approx. 45 minutes after your final race

 

Island Escapes

Duncan's rich First Nations heritage

Duncan’s rich First Nations heritage

From outdoor adventure to neighbourhoods steeped in history, Greater Victoria offers plenty to keep you entertained this summer, but if you have a few extra days to explore, numerous treasures await your discovery. Here are a few of our favourite Island destinations, all within several hours of the Capital city.

Salt Spring Island

35-minute ferry trip from
Sidney/Swartz Bay

Salt Spring Island is a tranquil, island paradise renowned for its relaxed lifestyle, natural beauty, art galleries, studios, wineries and gift shops. Visit on Saturdays and take in the huge outdoor market where Salt Spring’s accomplished artisans and farmers display their fine products. Hiking trails at Ruckle Provincial Park, country roads ideal for cycling and wonderful kayaking make this an ideal daytrip, or pack for an overnight getaway.

The Cowichan Valley

About 60km from
Victoria to Duncan

First Nations heritage, wineries and numerous family attractions and activities make the Cowichan Valley the ideal destination for a day trip from Victoria. Known as the City of Totems, Duncan is one of Vancouver Island’s most significant centres of First Nations culture and features totem tours, a museum located in a 1912 train station and the Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre, showcasing First Nations heritage. On the north side of town, the Raptors Centre and BC Forest Discovery Centre are excellent for all ages.

Winery and cidery touring is another highly recommended Cowichan Valley activity – pick up a winery map from area Visitor Centres and come explore one of Canada’s fastest-growing wine regions.

Enjoy a drive through the picturesque communities of Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Mill Bay and Cowichan Bay, a scenic seaside village known for its fresh seafood, galleries, shops and waterfront museum. West of Duncan, Cowichan Lake is a hub for fishing, swimming, canoing and camping.

Chemainus

About 70 km from
Victoria to Chemainus

One of the most popular attractions on Vancouver Island is the town of Chemainus, famous for its statues and larger-than-life murals that have transformed the town into one large, outdoor art gallery. Golf, shops, antique malls, tea houses and a great dinner theatre round out the possibilities.

Nanaimo's Swy-a-Lana Park

Nanaimo’s Swy-a-Lana Park

Ladysmith & Nanaimo

Victoria to Ladysmith: 95km;
to Nanaimo: 111km.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Ladysmith’s historic main street or visit some of the many artists and artisans making their home here, about 90 minutes from Victoria. Transfer Beach Park is fabulous for all ages – take in the harbour views, go for a dip, savour a summer picnic or let the kids roam about the unique playground.

A little farther north, Nanaimo is popular for its eclectic shopping, entertainment and beautiful waterfront. BC Ferries links the town to both Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen on the Mainland and the Island Highway continues north, making Nanaimo a great jumping-off point to other adventures. Highlights include the Port Theatre, the historic downtown, Newcastle Island, Harbourside Walkway, Nanaimo District Museum and, for thrilling outdoor experiences, WildPlay Element Park.

Oceanside – Parksville and Qualicum region

Victoria to Parksville: 147km.

About 20 minutes beyond Nanaimo, discover the picturesque communities of Parksville, Qualicum, Nanoose, Coombs, French Creek and Arrowsmith, collectively known as Oceanside. Here enjoy sandy beaches, winding rivers, challenging golf courses and family-friendly attractions including the community beach and playground in downtown Parksville, the Coombs Country Market – watch for the goats on the roof – the Parrot Refuge & Recovery Centre, Milner Gardens and Little Qualicum Falls and Englishman River provincial parks.

From Parksville, travellers can continue north or head west to Port Alberni, the gateway to the Pacific Rim, about 45 minutes from Parksville. From here venture on to the beach-front fishing and resort communities of Ucluelet, Tofino and Long Beach.

The Comox Valley

About 220km from Victoria

Continuing north, travel either the newer, more direct Inland Island Highway or opt for a more leisurely, picturesque route along the Island Highway. About three hours from Victoria, the Valley includes Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and several smaller communities, including Hornby and Denman Islands.

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort celebrates the summer snow melt with hiking, mountain biking and other activities. Down the mountain, ocean, lakes and rivers are popular for kayaking, windsurfing, swimming and exploring. Other highlights include historic Cumberland, a former mining and logging community, and the Courtenay and District Museum, the first stop on the Great Canadian Fossil Trail. In the waterfront town of Comox, visit Filberg Lodge and Park, home to the annual Filberg Festival of arts and entertainment (August 1 to 4). Also a diverse farming community, stop at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market before a picnic at the beach!

7 STEPS to a Sensational Summer

Summertime was built for family fun, and there are few places better to indulge those passions than here in Greater Victoria!

Buskers Festival

Victoria International Buskers Festival
1. Fab Family-Friendly Festivals

Festival season is in full swing, meaning there’s no shortage of special events to keep families busy this summer. Art lovers will want to visit the Art Gallery Paint-In, July 19,  the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s annual outdoor summer art festival, while for music fans, it doesn’t get any better than the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, taking over the Inner Harbour August 3 to perform a full concert from a barge anchored in front of the Causeway. Highlights include Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons, bell ringing and fireworks. Make it a full-day event and enjoy the pre-concert entertainment.

July 18 to 27 brings the excitement of the Victoria International Buskers Festival to a variety of downtown locations while the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival fills the Inner Harbour August 15 to 17 with colourful boats, hundreds of paddlers and many more supporters. Head to the harbour for a weekend full of exhilarating races and cultural entertainment for the whole family!

Other options include July’s SkaFest, August’s Fringe Fest and the Vancouver Island Blues Bash. Now there’s a summer festival line-up!

 2.Canada Day

Happy Canada Day, July 1! Celebrate downtown around the Inner Harbour – including fireworks to finish the festivities – on the West Shore at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, and in Sidney where Canada’s birthday rounds out the annual Sidney Days celebrations.

 

 3. In the Market for Fun

The fertile South Island is home to many farms growing a multitude of products. Many of these can be found at the local farmers’ markets, along with kids’ activities, entertainment, crafts and more. Check out the James Bay Community Market, Saturdays from 9am to 3pm at the corner of Menzies and Superior streets, Moss Street Market, Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at Moss and Fairfield streets, the Peninsula Country Market, Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at the Saanich Fairgrounds, and the Sidney Summer Night Market, Thursdays from 5 to 8pm along Beacon Avenue.

 4.Outdoor Adventure & Whale watching

Discover some of the wonders of the West Coast during an exhilarating whale watching trip with the local experts, Prince of Whales. Whether a thrilling zodiac ride or a trip aboard the Ocean Magic, there’s no better way to discover the majestic creatures making their home in local waters.

Prefer dry land? Take to the trees – Vancouver Island-style with AdrenaLine – boasting eight ziplines that will send you soaring through the towering trees of Victoria’s wild west coast – and WildPlay Adventure Park in the West Shore, with fun and challenging adventure courses through the trees.

Feature 1-Vikings 2

Vikings exhibit at the Royal BC Museum

 5. Creature comforts

Experience some of nature’s most beautiful creatures up close at the Saanich Peninsula’s Butterfly Gardens or enjoy a hands-on experience at another local favourite, the Children’s Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill Park.

Nearby, the Bug Zoo is a hit for kids (and adults) of all ages. Discover amazing insects from around the world, including live giant walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and hairy tarantulas. Don’t forget your camera!

 6.Indoor Escapes

With its fascinating First Nations exhibits, Natural History Gallery, and wonderful modern history displays, the Royal BC Museum is a must-see attraction  for all ages. Of special interest this summer  is the Vikings exhibit, not to mention a full line-up of films at the National Geographic IMAX Theatre, also on-site. Just outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel sits a Victoria institution, Miniature World, with more than 80 scenes from history and literature whose detail and realism are a favourite with kids. New this year, the attraction has added a brand new exhibit depicting the tales of King Arthur and Camelot.

Just a short walk from the Inner Harbour in Bastion Square is the Maritime Museum of BC. Climb the life-size crowsnest, keep an eye out for pirates and explorers, trace the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and BC Ferries and  visit the restored Vice-Admiralty Courtroom where Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, “the hanging judge,” once presided.

 

 7. Just Chill

Cool off with an ice cream! After a busy afternoon at the park, museum or sightseeing, stop by the Beacon Drive-in, a Victoria landmark with some of the tastiest soft-serve in town.

 

HOT SHOPPING

From Our Home to Yours

Victoria’s beautiful West Coast setting is renowned for inspiring everyone from creative craft brewers to fab fashionistas….Here are a few made-in-Victoria treasures well worth sampling:

• Rogers Chocolates – sweet treats to tempt your tastebuds or take home for your special someone. The Victoria-themed tins make for a beautiful keepsake.

• Victoria Gin – Adding to Victoria’s rich agritourism scene, the folks at Victoria Gin prepare each numbered batch by hand, crafting an “intensely flavoured spirit that is as full-bodied and complex as a fine single-malt whisky.”

• ‘Chosin Pottery – Discover simply stunning pieces hand-crafted by renowned potters Judi Dyelle and Robin Hopper at their studio surrounded by gardens and forest.

• Muse Wine – Sample the award-winning vintages at this quaint, Saanich Peninsula winery with its own vineyard, tasting room and bistro.

Hot Shopping-Muse-wine

• Knotty by Nature – Knitters will want to visit this delightful shop in the Fairfield neighbourhood, just past downtown, for its wide variety of local wools and wares.

• Phillips Brewing – The fantastic labels alone are worth the purchase, but enthusiasts know it’s what’s inside that counts! Enjoy these beauties straight from the brewery, or choose your new favourites from one of Victoria’s local liquor stores.

• Sandalman at Heart & Sole – There are few better ways to greet summer than with a new pair of sandals…expect maybe a pair of sandals handcrafted just for you! Visit Heart & Sole shoes on Cook Street to learn about Sandalman Sandals – these local treasures will keep your toes tapping.

Hot Shopping-Jade-Heart pendant

A Gift from the Heart

Stop by Jade Victoria to discover a unique keepsake from your Victoria vacation. The shop boasts a wide variety of gifts for both men and women, including desk accessories, decor pieces and jewellery. During a recent visit we were particularly taken with this charming heart-shaped pendant – perfect for you or your special someone.

 

Spring Forward into Summer Fashions

From bold geometric prints in black and navy to feminine florals, the Bay Centre’s Melanie Lyne is celebrating spring – and summer – with a line of fashions both fresh and elegant. Sophisticated staples like blouses and sheath dresses are re-envisioned with abstract and geometric prints, or take your outfit from day to evening with sequins and silk. Beautiful!

Hot Shopping-Melanie Lyne

Summer fashions from Melanie Lyne

HOT ART

Canadian Landscapes

Visit Madrona Gallery this June for the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition of work by Nicholas Bott, one of Canada’s preeminent landscape artists known for his confident brushwork and strong sense of design.

Since starting his career in the 1970s in Northern BC, Bott has explored many remote areas of Western Canada, always searching out new inspiration. June’s exhibit will focus on Vancouver Island and the west, including a number of major works.

Hot Art-Madrona Gallery-Nicholas Bott, Mount Williams-Kananaskis-48x60 Oil on canvas

Nicholas Bott, Mount Williams-Kananaskis

A Time for Renewal

Be sure to visit West End Gallery June 21 to July 3 for Greta Guzek’s exceptional exhibition of new West Coast paintings, Renewal. Bold contrasting colours, distinctive brush work and distorted perspectives lend themselves to Guzek’s playful expression of coastal life. Here, concentrating on the theme of renewal, she depicts charming seaside cabins, windswept shores and the beauty of the local arbutus trees.

“In this collection of work I am contemplating the wonder of infinite renewal; how the natural world re-generates effortlessly, providing me with constant engagement and inspiration for the thing I love doing: Painting.” Join the gallery for the opening reception Saturday, June 21 with artist in attendance from 1 to 4pm.

May visitors will want to stop by for an exciting exhibit of new work by Victoria painter Ken Faulks, on display May 10 to 22.

Hot Art-West End-Greta Guzek, Sky Embrace

GRETA GUZEK, Sky Embrace

 

 

Through the Looking Glass

Venture Through the Looking Glass with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria this spring when the gallery presents a survey of modern and contemporary art selected entirely from its collection. The exhibit is structured according to Lewis Carroll’s late-19th century tale of the same title, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which the heroine begins in the safe environs of her fire-lit library only to be led by curiosity through the reflecting glass into a world of backwardness, distortion and “upside-downsiness.” Organized by chapter, drawing on the imagery of mirrors, playing cards and chess, the exhibition begins with a portrait of Charles Baudelaire by Édouard Manet and concludes with recent works by major Canadian artists, for a new telling of 100 years of art history.

Hot Art-AGGV - TTLG BC Binning Convoy

Through the Looking Glass,  B.C. Binning, Convoy Under Way

 

 

 

A Cause for Celebration!

The Royal Theatre is turning 100

theatre 11

 It would be significant enough if one of Victoria’s beloved theatres was turning 100, but both? Well, that calls for a party!

To celebrate, the Royal McPherson Theatre Society has created the Centennial Festival, May 18 to 25, honouring the “landmark buildings and the extraordinary impact they have had on Victoria’s cultural life.”

The Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.

The Victoria Opera House Company began construction of the Royal Theatre in the spring of 1913, but when cost estimates of $250,000 soared to $400,000 – with $100,000 for the opulent interior alone – $5 shares were offered and the community rallied with donations of cash and supplies, the society notes.

The exterior is an exceptional example of Rococo/Renaissance revival architecture with four storeys of multi-coloured brickwork, glazed terra cotta tiles and decorative and whimsical ornamentation. Opening Dec. 29, 1913 with a performance of Kismet starring Otis Skinner, the original house held 1,558 patrons and offered a fully functional orchestra pit. The ornate interior featured marble, blue brocade wall panels, scagliola and allegorical murals and frescoes, designed by Paris-born C.E. Dorisy.

War and motion pictures brought challenges and various owners over the coming years, but also the debut of the newly formed Victoria Symphony Orchestra in 1943, and the Victoria Opera Society in 1944. In 1943 the Royal began showing films in addition to live acts, thanks to a removable screen, but as decades passed, a movement emerged to return it to its former role as a performing arts centre.

When building upgrades of the 1980s damaged much of the plasterwork both inside and outside, research and hours of detailed restoration returned cherubs and other creatures to the theatre, designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988.

 

The McPherson Playhouse, Centennial Square

Local lawyer R.T. Elliott began construction of what would become the McPherson Theatre in 1913. Early in construction, when Alexander Pantages was looking for a substantial venue for touring vaudeville shows and motion pictures, the project took a dramatic turn. T.S. McPherson and the Fullerton Brothers joined Elliott in creating a grand performing arts theatre.

The Italian Renaissance-style exterior featured fenestration designs and overhanging boxed eaves, while inside the Baroque revival décor included marble and rich wood paneling. Unusually advanced construction included steel and concrete materials and state-of-the-art fire safety equipment, the society notes. It even boasted electric hair curlers for the performers!

Touring shows referred to the Pantages as the “Golden Barn,” which over the years hosted performing lions, a swimming act complete with a canvas pool, famous troupes such as The Dumbells, The 3 Plunkett Brothers and Al Jolson, and even prizefights including “Gentleman Jim” James J. Corbett. Name and ownership changes followed war and the Depression, and while live theatre and films kept the facility afloat, it was struggling. At his death, Thomas McPherson left the theatre to the City of Victoria, including a substantial sum for renovations, and on July 24, 1964 city council renamed it the McPherson Playhouse.

An army of craftsmen readied the new McPherson for opening night Jan. 26, 1965, when Lt. Gov. George Pearkes cut a ribbon of McPherson tartan draped across the stage. Lights Up – A Gay Musical Revue of Hit Broadway and London Shows was the inaugural performance and the following evening saw a sterling line-up of actors, dancers and singers from the community. The McPherson Playhouse received heritage designation in 1995.

For more information about these venues and their coming events, visit www.rmts.bc.ca

COME JOIN THE CENTENNIAL

Feature 3-AcresOfLions_PromoPhoto

Acres of Lions perform at Rock the Royal! May 24

 

 

May 18 – 100th Birthday Party, 11am to 4pm in Centennial Square – Free, family-friendly concert event, including tours, storytelling, displays, music and of course, birthday cake!

May 21 – Crystal Pite’s The Tempest Replica, 8pm at the Royal Theatre – Enjoy work from the renowed choreographer, dancer and former Victorian.

May 22 – Victoria Conservatory of Music & Vox Humana, Then and Now, 8pm, McPherson Playhouse – A unique pairing of choral masterworks: The Magnificat by J.S. Bach, and the Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

May 23 – Victoria Symphony & Pacific Opera Victoria with Ben Heppner, 8pm at the Royal Theatre – The VSO hosts a gala performance with Pacific Opera Victoria and special guest Ben Heppner, “a tenor titan who has sung heroic Wagnerian roles in the world’s greatest opera houses.”

May 23 – A West Coast Roots Celebration, 8pm at McPherson Playhouse – Enjoy music from Victoria’s vibrant roots scene, ranging from folk to alt-country.

May 24 – Rock the Royal! 8pm, Royal Theatre – From early punk and new wave to the grunge-inspired sounds of the ‘90s, Victoria has a rich musical history…hear some of the city’s finest.

May 24 – Victoria Operatic Society Celebrates the American Musical, 8pm, McPherson Playhouse – Enjoy 100 toe-tapping tunes (including medleys) from classics such as Oklahoma and contemporary shows like Wicked, Grease and Billy Elliot.

May 25 – Raffi, 2pm, McPherson Playhouse –This family concert offers a rare opportunity for fans-turned-parents to introduce their own children to this beloved entertainer.

May 25 – Chris Botti with the Victoria Symphony, 7:30pm, Royal Theatre – One of the most beloved performers in contemporary
jazz, Chris Botti returns to perform his acclaimed “orchestral” show with the Victoria Symphony.

 

AT THE MUSUEM

Venture back centuries this summer to one of the most storied eras of human history:

THE VIKING AGE

 Feature 2-Vikings-Pendant, crucifix, Silver

Silver Crucifix

 

Making its first North American stop, We Call Them Vikings opens at the Royal BC Museum May 16, produced by the Swedish History Museum in Sweden and MuseumsPartner in Austria.

While many stories persist about the Vikings, the  interactive exhibition demonstrates that not all the stories are as we believed. Vikings challenges commonly held beliefs, and with insights into areas such as domestic life, death rituals, the significance of their craft, the power of mythology and the symbolism of their ships, the Vikings emerge in a fascinating new light.

We Call Them Vikings begins with the period between 750 and 1100 CE in Scandinavia, known as the Viking Age, and events in nearby Europe more than a thousand years ago.

The exhibition includes more than 500 artifacts, including jewellery, swords, axes and clothing – some rare, and many which have never before been shown outside Scandinavia. Beyond the fascinating artifacts, visitors can try their hand at board games, building a Viking ship, or dressing a Viking.

Though the word ‘viking’ appears in Old Norse sources, it is mainly used to describe an activity. Men and women went ‘on a viking’ – a commercial trip or raid. People seem to have referred to themselves as a Viking only when involved in this activity.

Viking fleets used rivers and coasts for trading, raiding and settling in new areas. Scandinavians moved into Russia, and also travelled eastward to Byzantium and to what is now the Middle East. By the end of the 8th century they were raiding in France, the British Isles and Ireland, south into the Mediterranean and into North Africa. Other journeys took them to Iceland, Greenland and even to Newfoundland. These new lands brought exotic goods as well as cultural influences. Among the hundreds of artifacts in the exhibition are an Irish cross, a Buddha figurine from India and a Coptic ladle from Egypt. Over time, these voyages to other areas contributed to belief systems, ideology and objects taking on other shapes and forms of expression.

Viking Age society was hierarchical, but not rigidly so. The greatest difference between people was that which existed between the free and the unfree (thralls). Women generally had a more equal position in society, sometimes being involved directly in trade or colonization.

Two very different religious systems were also found in Scandinavia at the time – the indigenous Old Norse religion and the more recent Christianity. The former involved worship of many gods and goddesses while the latter focused on one supreme god.

These belief systems were often merged, and the results are shown in this exhibition in many examples of fine jewellery that include Christian crosses and fish as well as the symbolic tools or animals of the Old Norse gods. (The names of many of these gods live on in our English names. Thor, the god of thunder, has a name that survived as ‘Thursday’ or Thor’s day.)

Representations of these Norse gods reflected in this exhi-bition range from exquisite filigree-work jewellery to rune-inscribed spearheads, from silver embroidered silk fabric to the oldest known crucifix in -Sweden.

Feature 2-Vikings-2.12 Wardrobe Interactive

 

Special events at the Museum 

Check out these not-to-be-missed activities coming up at the Royal BC Museum this spring; see the full line-up online at www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

May 29Viking Feature Lecture: Part 1 UVic’s Dr Erin McGurie shares her expertise about what modern archaeology tells us about the people we call Vikings.

May 31Night at the Museum: Vikings! Spend the evening digging through the archeological record to come up with fascinating new discoveries. In the morning, Viking yoga will sooth your warrior bones and a hearty breakfast.

June 13Vikings and Canada Grant Keddie, Curator of Archaeology at the Royal BC Museum, examines the deep history of the Vikings and shares the DNA evidence of their origins and their visits to Canada.

 

Island Insider:

Vikings isn’t the only exciting new exhibit on its way. Opening June 21 is Our Living Languages: First Peoples Voices in BC. Working in partnership, the museum and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council have developed a 3,200-square-foot exhibition exploring British Columbia’s 34 unique First Nations languages. Learn more about the languages and the people working to preserve them, keeping the region the most linguistically diverse in Canada.

HOT ENTERTAINMENT

HOT TICKETS

Bachman Turner 22 credit Christie Goodwin

Bachman, Turner rock the Royal

Canadian rock icons Randy Bachman and Fred Turner – musicians at the heart of legendary band Bachman-Turner Overdrive – have reunited for the first time in more than 20 years to thrill fans with their power-driven tunes.

Back on the road this summer as full-throttle rock machine Bachman & Turner, the two will rock Victoria’s Royal Theatre May 26.

Fans will hear music from the duo’s all-new studio album, a sound that fits seamlessly with such BTO classics as Takin’ Care of Business and You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.

For tickets: McPherson Box Office #3 Centennial Square; by phone at 250-386-6121 or online at www.rmts.bc.ca

 

JUST FOR KIDS

OK, not just for kids, but definitely designed to entertain and inspire the young – and young at heart.

From May 7 to 11 Kaleidoscope Theatre presents Robinson and Crusoe at the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. Not Defoe’s classic shipwreck tale, this play by Italian Actors Nino D’Intona and Giacomo Ravicchio is a modern fable that puts two very different people in a predicament of unrelenting, involuntary closeness, addressing international conflict, racism, cultural differences, and the effort to survive and overcome adversity in a time of struggle.

Also at Fort Rodd this spring is the annual Historic Military Encampment May 17 & 18. Stroll through the fort amid marquee and bell tents representing various periods from the 1850s to the 1950. View equipment, uniforms and motor vehicles from Canada’s military past, and be fascinated by the authenticity of the military re-enactors, as they chat to you about life generations ago.

New for the site is the June 19 to 25 Timeline event, inviting visitors to journey through time and wake-up centuries ago. Join historical re-enacting groups as they take pride in displaying their colourful clothes and uniforms, tools and creative masterpieces. Be inspired by their stories and join the entertainment.

The Royal BC Museum’s reputation as a family favourite, will only grow with this spring’s arrival of Vikings! Inquiring young minds will also want to explore May 25, when from 1 to 3pm, youngsters will join the experts as they create the second annual Wonder Sunday Mini-Museum. You make, you describe, you display in this interactive, learning-based special event.

ALSO COMING IN MAY AND JUNE

• May 13 – Comedian Ron James returns to Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse to delight fans with his Take No Prisoners tour. Page 27

• May 13 – The stars align for figure skating fans when the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre hosts Stats on Ice, featuring  many of Canada’s Olympic favourites past and present. Page 29

• May 24 – Rock the Royal, with performances from some of Victoria’s best performers at the Royal Theatre. FMI: www.rmts.bc.ca

• June 10 – Home opener for the Victoria HarbourCats baseball team. Page 28

• June 19 – Coronation Street fans won’t want to miss Tyrone and Kirk: ‘Causin’ A Stir’ at the McPherson Playhouse. FMI: www.rmts.bc.ca