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Comment: An ode to Victoria: A home of pleasant people

Here are a few impressions about the people of Victoria that we gained during our most recent visit.
Daffodils bloom beside Menzies Street near the Inner Harbour in Victoria on Feb. 21, 2024. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A commentary by a recent visitor from Ottawa.

My wife Karen and I are both retired, in our mid-70s, and based in Ottawa.

We spent from early January to early February as a long stay in a downtown Victoria hotel near the legislature.

This was the third winter that we did this to escape the cold and snow of the east.

The extreme snow and cold in Victoria in early January definitely threw us for a loop. For many days, it was colder in Victoria than in Ottawa.

Here are a few impressions about the people of Victoria that we gained during our most recent visit.

1. People in Victoria are generally more good-natured and in a better mood than people in Ottawa. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about.

During our time in Victoria, we frequently walked two hours a day, in the woods, in James Bay (what a pleasant neighbourhood!), and near Holland Point.

During our walks, we would encounter people also out walking.

More often than not, we would be greeted by a cheery hello and, at a minimum, a smile. Older women, in particular, were always ready to engage with us.

Clerks and cashiers in stores and servers in restaurants were consistently very pleasant to interact with.

In contrast in Ottawa, often many people — especially those wearing earbuds — will not acknowledge our existence.

2. Drivers in Victoria are generally more courteous than those in Ottawa.

At four-way stops, Victoria drivers always wait for pedestrians to cross, at least in our experience.

In Ottawa, we have many drivers who will wait as pedestrians cross. But we also have a large contingent of drivers who glide through intersections without ever stopping.

Sometimes, a driver will swish right in front of us, pretending that we are not there.

These are just a couple of examples of how we learned to love the vibe in Victoria. I have returned to Ottawa “infected” with Victoria cheerfulness.

I’m now trying to pass it on.

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