Geocaching, wrote one reader.
Or a trip to the Kinsol Trestle, suggested another.
Or, if that prospect induces butterflies, try the Ogden Point breakwater, which, as yet another reader pointed out, became a less-dizzying destination when railings were added.
Or, wrote yet another correspondent, meander down to Laurel Point at the end of day. If you time it right, you’ll see the sunset to your left and the city lights to your right. It’s really pretty.
Last Sunday, I asked readers to submit additions to my end-of-summer bucket list, things to do before we return to short days and long pants. Here are some of their replies.
“Classic Boat Festival Sept. 2-4,” said Jamie Webb.“More than 75 vintage vessels in the Inner Harbour.”
“A walk in Finnerty Gardens at UVic,” submitted Raechel Tupman. “A walk in the historic James Bay neighbourhood to see the beautiful old homes and lovely gardens.”
“Join the Morris dancers to greet the sunrise on May 1 at Clover Point,” urged Don Layman. (OK, technically not a summer suggestion, but still calendar-worthy.)
“Make and fly a kite,” suggested Gord Fish. “Learn how to make wine from the blackberries you picked. Hike the Partridge Hills.” In case you’re wondering, the Partridge Hills are just up from Durrance Lake.
Other outdoor destinations were popular, too. Melanie Pereira proposed a walk around (or swim, paddle-board, canoe, or fish in) Spectacle Lake Provincial Park. Or try Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall, which sounds as though it should feature whiskey-guzzling fugitive outlaws, but instead offers a nice little nature break. “It’s a not-hard walk down, and is a cool respite on a hot day,” she wrote.
Take advantage of all the free music, enthused Glenda Robertson. “Victoria is blessed with almost as many musicians as it has artists and the summer is filled with free concerts in every musical genre,” she wrote.
So many free concerts are offered in local parks and other outdoor venues that Robertson needs to maintain a spreadsheet to keep up. “I have 199 shows on my list from now to mid-September.”
The Beacon Hill Park petting zoo is fun even without children in tow, argued Gail Fattore. It’s worth it just to watch the frolicking kids — both the human ones and the goats.
Still, atop Fattore’s list was HarbourCats baseball. Best hurry, though: Their last regular season game at Royal Athletic Park is Aug. 7.
Several correspondents fixated on food. Hilary Coupland broke away from a three-month canal boat journey in England to extol the virtues of Oak Bay’s White Heather Tea Room. “No, I don’t know the owners and in fact had to Google it to remember its name,” she wrote. “But it is worth a visit.”
The Kiwanis Tea Room at Willows Beach, said someone else. Or sit at a picnic table and lap up ice cream from the Hullabaloo truck by the Red Barn Market on West Saanich Road. Others were willing to venture farther: Port Alberni’s J&L Drive-In — yes, an actual old-fashioned drive-in — for a burger.
Jim Shortreed’s wish list: a return of the herring I mentioned in Sunday’s column. “You can walk from the legislature up along the Gorge Waterway, probably the most scenic walk in the entire known urban universe, but, alas, you can no longer watch herring run at the Craigflower Bridge. Last spring only five were caught and nothing of spawn was seen.”
Anne Light said family and friends were amused by my suggestion that North Saanich’s secluded Moses Point would be a good place to make out. Three years ago a bench there was dedicated to her late husband, Terry Light. “No doubt, he’ll be getting a lot of visitors.”
That brings us to one final — and poignant — reply to last week’s column. Wendy Gibson wrote of retiring here with her husband four years ago, only to have their plans delayed, first by things that needed doing around the house, then by the pandemic. This was to be the summer they finally got to tackle their bucket list.
It wasn’t to be. “Sadly, my lovely husband, Fraser, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on June 23,” Wendy wrote. “I still want to attempt some of the items on our list. It gives me hope and it is my way of honouring my husband.”
That gave me pause. Summer is short. So is life. Carpe diem.
While that bear hasn’t come back, I’m happy to report that three have shown up in its place. After reading about Ruby, two local women decided to part with their own Paddingtons, and a third had a new bear shipped to the 92-year-old.
Ruby has pronounced herself delighted, her belief in the essential goodness of people confirmed.