Victoria, BC is a really a gem of a city. It’s British heritage runs strong and whomever is lucky enough to stumble upon this capital city, it’s inhabitants, as well as it’s charm, will likely plan a return visit. I’ve personally made the short trek from Seattle a handful of times without disappointment. B&B’s abound, as well as small motels and impressive large-scale hotels, such as The Fairmont Empress, which quite literally greets each and every guest to the island with it’s grandiose size and central waterfront location. It’s Ivy covered facade, exclusive “high tea,” and superb spa services quite simply scream, highbrow. Its doors were opened in 1908, by San Francisco sisters Tessie and Virginia Fair. They must’ve been a dynamic duo. Incidentally, my sister and I once discussed working on a project together. The idea lasted all of one day, as we quickly realized that although we love each other, we really can’t stand to be around one another for more than a few hours at best ….and liquor is typically involved….
Although I enjoy highbrow immensely, and at times, fancy a stay in such exclusive places as The Empress – sipping the fine wine, dining inside paneled rooms with crystal chandeliers and private Sommeliers, I’m just as comfortable at the Sticky Wicket Pub, chowing down on all things fried while tossing back a vodka club and watching a beach volleyball game on the rooftop sand court.
That said, the one place I’ve never missed while visiting Victoria is the Royal London Wax Museum (which, sadly, is now closed until further notice…..sigh) I’d drag whomever was with me, tickets in hand, giddy at the thought of maybe seeing a new statue, while promising them a lovely waterfront walk afterward.
On my first ever visit to Victoria many years ago, I’d made a point to see the museum. Having never been to a wax museum before I was all at once entertained, creeped out and fascinated. What it was that drew me in, I can’t say. Was it Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, John Wayne, Abe Lincoln or maybe Walt Disney? Perhaps it was the mechanical torture reenactment in the “dungeon?” One thing was for certain; it was a place, like all museums are, that I could stand, stare and daydream, and it was perfectly normal. It’s a strange feeling to examine a replica of a person up close, without feeling as though you are intruding. I would study each little pin-prick mark on their faces and arms, while trying to look for any flaws, and quite literally, act as though I were judging a contest. “Oh they did a wonderful job on Princess Diana’s facial expression, but how could they botch King Henry up so awfully? Maybe they’re new,” I’d critique. As sick as it sounds, after my brother passed some years ago, and for as devastated as I was, I remember viewing the body before the funeral, seeing the tiny pin-prick marks on his wax-like face and thinking, “decent job, but too much rouge………”