Two Dozen Things We Love About This Place: A look back at the series

From totem poles to Rithet’s Bog and kayaking on the Gorge Waterway, our favourite things about Victoria covered an awful lot of bases — two dozen, in fact.

Beginning on May 16, when reporter Pedro Arrais highlighted the University of Victoria’s Finnerty Gardens as a special place, Times Colonist reporters and photographers have served up a variety of spots and activities, the sort of things unique to Greater Victoria and all very special.

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Over the past 24 Thursdays in the Times Colonist series Two Dozen Things We Love About This Place, reporters and editors developed a list offering a smorgasbord of Victoria specialties.

For reporter Carla Wilson, “special” means the totem poles that stand with their First Nations tales, legends and family lineages all related in visual, painted sculptural form.


Wilson approached Kwagiulth carver Carey Newman for something of an explanation in how to hear the story of a totem pole.

Newman suggested the base figure, perhaps the most important in a totem pole, is a good place to start. For example, he explained, he often relies on a frog, in Kwagiulth legend a storyteller, as a base figure for his carvings.

For reporter Amy Smart, “special” meant a two-hour kayak sojourn from the Inner Harbour to the Tillicum Bridge. It gave a new perspective from which to look at the city and its inhabitants.

Smart noticed the beaches and foreshores lining the waterway gave spaces to a variety of inhabitants to enjoy — seals sunning themselves, teenagers working on tans and police officers catching a break. She also noted the human activity has left a historical legacy of industrial landmarks: gravel crushers, shipyards, scrap-metal works and tugboats still busily puttering about.

For summer intern reporter Nick Wells, the natural oasis of peace and wildlife of Rithet’s Bog was a marvel for the temporary transplant from Vancouver.

Walking along the gravel path, Wells was consumed by the serenity of one of the last remaining natural bogs on southern Vancouver Island. His ears picked up only the calls of swallows and ducks in the distance.

The only people he encountered were a nature photographer looking for a picture of a nesting red-winged blackbird, and one person who had stopped, like Wells, to visit for the first time.

“There’s no place really like it,” Wells said.

His assessment could apply to all two dozen things we love about this place.


If you have any suggestions for a theme for next year’s series, we’d like to hear from you. Email us at

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