It’s only been a few weeks in Victoria, British Columbia but I’m going to make a bold statement and say that I could definitely live here. I loved Bali, Australia was good fun, but Victoria? It’s got it all.
Now, saying I could (and would love to) live in Canada is pretty much the ultimate traitor move for an American, especially one with such close military ties (Navy brat and sponsor sister to many a Midshipmen). And while it has nothing to do with any Presidential Election (‘OMG if so and so wins, I’m SO moving to Canada’), Victoria really has won me over.
Coming from almost two straight years of summer weather, I’m really digging throwing on my boots and heavy jacket and bravely facing the chill. It definitely took a bit of adjusting having gotten so used to life on the equator, but I’ve welcomed it with open arms. I even get a chuckle every now and then when my Aussie crewmates shake with a deep chill in what I would consider pretty nice weather for a winter’s day (does that make me an awful person?).
Victoria doesn’t only offer one climate however. The summers are meant to be lovely and mild, not quite reaching equatorial intensity, but a kinder warmth that won’t leave you dripping with sweat after a busy day. I don’t think I could live anywhere that didn’t offer all of the seasons, because really, what is winter without the “OMG I can’t WAIT ’til summer” and vice versa? Call me greedy, I want it all.
My god. The people in Victoria as a whole have got to be the nicest people I’ve encountered thus far. Even the homeless (which unfortunately there is quite an abundance of) offer kind greetings and smiles despite their situation. And the amount of people who have run out of their way to hold doors for me while I struggle to push E’s stroller is incredible.
It’s so easy to meet people here, you won’t find yourself without friends for long. From the girls helping us out polishing the boat, to the people I’ve met taking exercise classes at the YMCA, to the guys we hung out with at the local ice hockey game last night, there is no shortage of friendly locals.
The ‘Going Out’ Scene
Getting dressed to the nines and teetering in five inch stilettos is fun every now and then, but my favorite scene is a casual sports bar wearing jeans and a flannel kicking it back with your buds and some brews (could I sound like more of a dude?) and there’s no shortage of that in Victoria. Maybe it’s the UMD Terp in me that’s craving a good ‘Big Ass Drafts’ session at Cornerstone, but those are the times when I have had the most fun. I must say that getting denied from most bars/clubs in Australia due to my flip flops was often a source of consternation so I’m really happy to have found myself welcomed with open arms in my not-fancy winter boots.
Watching hockey at Darcy’s in downtown Victoria and then enjoying music from a live band provided for a perfect night out. While I might not be the biggest sports fan in the world, I just love the atmosphere that goes along with it and as far as sports go, hockey’s an exciting one to follow. I’ll gladly fall into the hockey-loving Canadian stereotype if it means I can stay.
The ‘Look’ and ‘Feel’
Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland (technically I live 15 minutes away, so sue me). It’s got the cutest historical downtown area with cobblestone streets, sailboats on the waterfront, and an abundance of local boutique shops and restaurants. Victoria is the perfect Canadian mirror offering all of the aforementioned along with it’s own unique history. Walking downtown reminds me of home in a way that I haven’t had since leaving a year and a half ago and I think that may be part of what makes me love it so much. In addition, past the picturesque town, Victoria offers stunning views of the mountains in the distance, something that Annapolis can’t claim for itself. Come to Victoria, see how quaint and beautiful it really is and I dare you not to fall in love.
The Exchange Rate
Obviously things fluctuate but the Canadian dollar is pretty close to the US dollar so it makes conversion pretty simple and more importantly, the prices of goods are comparable. I kept getting outraged by the ridiculous prices of things in places like Singapore and Australia which I knew I could get back home for a fraction of the price and here I don’t have that feeling of anger. It’s a beautiful thing. Call me cheap, throw out stereotypes, I don’t care.
The French Language
Due to the abundance of French speakers in Canada, nearly everything has labels in both English and French. This might not excite others, but it is music to this francophile’s ‘oreilles’. Having studied French language and literature in college and then missing out on studying abroad due to unfortunate circumstances, it’s been a long road to the day when I will study and live in France, perfecting the language and eating as much escargot as possible. Victoria offers me the opportunity to keep up with my practice of the language and admire it in the way only a francophile can. Je t’aime, Victoria.