Downton Victoria

B.C. is the most British of all the Canadian Provinces and nowhere in B.C. is more British than the capital city of Victoria. ​

Category: Things To Do

Tours and other fun things to do

Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age opens at RBCM


Royal BC Museum is opening its latest exhibition, Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age this Friday, June 3rd. I got to have a sneak peak of the latest from RBCM.


Everyone in Victoria is familiar with the Woolly Mammoth, Woolly at RBCM. It’s sort of like their mascot in a way. Now, Mammoths exhibit will give us the opportunity to tarvel back in time to the ice age and learn about this amazing creature.


At the first section of the exhibit, we will learn about mammoths and mastodon origins and evolutionary adaptations. Elephants, mammoths and mastodons are close relatives (I didn’t know that!) and we can see the family tree of proboscidean. There are a lot of hands-on interactive displays that are great for children (and adults of course!)

The Baby Lyuba

The highlight of the exhibition is the famous baby mammoth, Lyuba (Lee-OO-bah), the remarkably well preserved, 40,000 year-old-baby mammoth. It was found in 2007 by a Siberian reindeer herder. This is the first time Lyuba is in Canada, and it is amazing how close you can get to a 40,000 year-old mammoth. As it’s stated it is incredibly well preserved thanks to a special condition the baby girl encountered when she died (you can read all about it in the display). Technology is an amazing thing… I was in awe. Lyuba is pretty darn adorable too. Lyuba is on loan from the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum and Exhibition Complex in northern Siberia, Russia.


Next section has amazing displays of full-scale replica of a Columbian mammoth, Saber-tooth cat and a short-faced bear (all of them now extinct). You are sure to be awestruck by the scale of these amazing creatures.

Mammoths: Giants of Ice Age is presented in partnership with Chicago’s Field Museum.  There is also a companion IMAX film, Mammoths: Titans of the Ice Age also opening on June 3.  And for the kids who love mammoths (ages 5-6 and 7-11), there are several summer camp  dates available. See the RBCM website for details.

Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age runs until December 31, 2016.

Get your holiday shopping done at Merry & Bright


Intrepid Theatre, home for UNO fest, Fringe Festival and OUTStages, is hosting its biggest fundraiser, Merry & Bright this Sunday at the Atrium.

What you get: One free tasting hour of fabulous beverages, food from Varsha, shopping opportunities with silent and live auctions

What else is happening: Draw for the Westjet raffle (you can buy tickets there if you haven’t purchased yet),  Sale of $10 mystery boxes, and mingling with fun people

When: Sunday, November 29th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: The Atrium (800 Yates Street —Use the Johnson Street entrance)

Tickets: $40 ($45 at the door)

You can see the complete list of auction items on Intrepid Website. Popular items are;

Shake It Up All Night with Simon Ogden of Veneto Tapa Lounge – Classic cocktail class for 4 with Simon, and one night’s stay at Superior King Room at Hotel Rialto. ($550 Value)

Galiano Island Getaway – Two night stay at Galiano Island Oceanfront Inn and Spa ($500 Value)

Snowcase and Snowcaps – Enjoy the – sold out – and greatly coveted Phillips beer winter countdown case AND 2 adult alpine lift tickets to Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington Ski Resort ($250 Value)


Greatly coveted Phillips Snowcase

Rifflandia Superpass– Victoria’s ultimate music festival. From our friends at Atomique Productions, two Super Passes to the Rifflandia Festival, September 15-18, 2016 Super Pass = Four days, Royal Athletic Park & night stages.  ($330 Value)

We also have lovely items from our friends and local vendors;

KODO – The Way of Fragrance  – Discover the ritual with 3 9ml KODO fragrances. Each fragrance is made with organic essential oils, hand-blended to create unique, luxurious eau de parfum. ($87 Value)


KODO fragrance package

THORN and Thistle – Lovely plant and a beautiful candle set ($40 Value)


Thorn and Thistle package

…and so much more.

Be sure to grab your ticket for Merry  & Bright here.

All proceeds go to Intrepid Theatre, which is turning 30 years old next year!

Thank you for supporting the arts in your community.


Obon at Ross Bay Cemetery


obon2014-4In Japan, Obon is a pretty prominent festival usually held around August 15th. It is a festival/holiday to honour your ancestors. It is believed your ancestors return to the family during Obon.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.” – from Wikipedia


Vegetable horse and cow made from cucumber and eggplant, so that our ancestors spirits will ride on a horse to rush home to us, and take the time on their way home riding a cow.

In modern Japan, Obon holiday is as important as Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays in North America. Two of the most important holidays in Japan are the new year and Obon, and people often take time off from work to go visit the families.  This is the time everyone is back at your parents’ (and often grandparents’) house and it’s a time for a reunion. I, too, have some fond memories of going to wash the family graves with my family, and also attending Bon-Odori (Neighbourhood festival with food vendors and dances)

Unfortunately, I don’t have my family’s grave here in Victoria. However, we have Ross Bay Cemetery.


One of the first Japanese people arrived at Victoria as early as 1880, and during the Second World War, many Japanese people were interned to interior BC. After the war, very few returned to Victoria and many graves are abandoned.   You can read more about the history of Japanese graves in Ross Bay cemetery here. (Scroll down for English)

Ross Bay Cemetery houses more than 100 Japanese graves now, but most of them don’t have families any more to care for. Every year, Victoria Nikkel Cultural Society, Old Cemeteries Society, and Victoria Friendship Society jointly hold Obon ceremony and festival at Ross Bay Villa. This year, it will be held on Sunday, August 9th.

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today. -VNCS Website

This is a free event open to the public. Please come help clean and honour the graves.


12:30pm : Grave Washing (Cleaning supplies will be provided, but if you have gloves/buckets etc, they are always welcome)

Flower donations welcome. Please bring them at this time.

Photo credit: VNCS

Photo credit: VNCS

2:30pm:  Obon Service

Reverent Ikuta from Steveston will provide service

3:30pm: Obon Matsuri (Festival) at Ross Bay Villa

Enterianment (Uminari Taiko, Furusato Dancers and Minyo by Rina El-Nahas), light refreshment (including Kakigoori-shaved ice),

and Suika-Wari (Japanese watermelon smashing game)



You can read more about Obon Ceremony and Festival at Ross Bay here at VNCS website.

F.I.T – 30 minute circuit workout now $25/month!

Fierce F.I.T

The warmer weather is upon us! The inertia from the colder months have weighed me down, and for once, I am itching to get out.

I’ve walked by Fierce Studio on Fort and Cook street many times, and I have always been curious what’s going on there. I’m not into martial arts, but when I walk by and see kids in Dogi I couldn’t help but smile. So I was thrilled to hear my friend Christy was going to this studio and told me about F.I.T program.


F.I.T stands for Fierce Interval Training. It’s a 30-minute circuit program. You will go through 12-13 stations in that 30 minutes. Each station has 2 different moves and you will do them 30 seconds each, twice. So you will spend 2 minutes at each station. This video shows the current set. Have a look:

I’ve been trying the F.I.T program for few weeks now, and I am really enjoying it. The atmosphere is friendly, not intimidating, and the all the trainers I met are super nice. It’s a co-ed program and I’ve seen people in their 20’s to 50+. It is definitely not easy, especially for someone like me, who hasn’t been working out for a while, but as Christy said to me the other day, “You can do anything for 30 seconds” – how true is that.

I am turning 40 next week. (Cue the common freakout!) I am not exactly “freaking out” about turning 40, but I have been feeling  “I’ve got to do something about this” about my health…so this F.I.T program has come at the right time. I have also been inspired by my friend Shawn who has started The Rebuild – basically transforming his life – he started F.I.T as well and  we are holding each other accountable.

The circuit routine changes every 3 weeks.  One of the fun things about F.I.T is that they have some boxing moves incorporated in almost every circuit.  I’m hoping to get my own gloves soon.

Fierce studio is offering F.I.T program for $25/month. It’s a steal! Only catch is that the program only runs in the morning – but if enough people sign up, they might open the studio longer. So join us!

Check out the Fierce Studio website for more details.





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