In Edmonton winter stays for a long time. Spring is short, like a haphazard afterthought. The snow melts, then it comes back for a bit, and this repeats several times until finally the snow melts for good. In late May, even early June the trees stand exposed with their dull, bare branches. The grass is brown, and ground muddy. Slowly the grass turns green, and the leaves begin to bud.
I spent a couple days in Victoria before going to Vancouver for TBEX. When I left Edmonton on June 7 only faint signs of green life were starting to appear. However; Victoria was full of green, full of life. Victoria is called The City of Gardens which was noticeable when I left the airport and saw a sign, arranged in flowers, saying “Welcome to Victoria.”
As a prairie girl I’m used to wide spaces and big skies. I love to visit the ocean when I can. Yet in Victoria it was the gardens and the greenery that I fell in love with. I loved how the ivy graced The Empress. I loved how tree branches twisted around park benches. I loved how there was green grass trees and flowers at Beacon Hill Park. I looked up at the giant trees, like the Sequoia by the BC Legislature building, whose roots were as large a tree trunk back home.
While at home the greenery was barely beginning, in Victoria everything was in full bloom. On the ground of The Empress Hotel I sat on a bench in a garden, enclosed with trees, and shrubs I won’t pretend to know. I sat and breathed, staring at the garden’s colourfulness. In that moment the only thought that crossed my mind was, “Victoria, you’re pretty.”