Friday, April 03, 2009

Cool grit! Victoria, BC

Death by Bunnies and Rainbows. This is what I expected when I went to Victoria, BC, last November to install a show at Open Space Gallery. I had no idea what to expect besides squeaky-clean streets and lawns, and general British-colonial WASP-ness. Of course it was all that, but with a lot of neat surprises too - many of which I can't remember, unfortunately. I'm beginning to think it's time I start keeping some sort of travel diary as the ol' memory doesn't quite fire up like it used to.

Take for instance Fan Tan Alley, a wonderfully bizarre, barely noticeable, super narrow, winding alley packed with great shops and restaurants (deke left after the post-office box). It seems to go on forever at first, unveiling one interesting store after another, and mercifully isn't overrun with over-priced touristy gew-gaws.

One favourite: Heart's Content. Great shoes (I couldn't resist a pair of FLY London ankle boots)

Just knock on the door and place your take-out order of noodles from the back lane behind this restaurant.

This Coke machine on Pandora street just before you reach Fan Tan Alley, generously offers the cheapest cans in town from behind its otherwise forbidding cage.

A delightful juxtaposition of genres:

The completely unique and intriguing Ministry of Casual Living artist-run exhibition/residency space.

View of previous installation thanks to

Sands Funeral Chapel - We Love Our Hearses

One of the artists in the show (and Victoria resident) Marlaina Busch took me to the legendary Big Bad John's at the Strathcona Hotel, for a rather raucous round of pints. A bit of a rough-and-tumble place but still rather harmless if you can put up with a bit of leering. Oh, and they'll take your bra if you want to add it to their collection.

Worth the visit:

Habit Coffee and Culture, 552 Pandora Avenue
Read review here

Rebar restaurant. Canada's answer to the legendary Moosewood Restaurant and cookbook empire. 50 Bastion Square (off Langley St.)

The Bengal Lounge at the Fairmount Empress Hotel, 721 Government Street. I can't vouch for the food, but the décor is classic grand hotel ostentatiousness!

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