Differences Between Victoria and Vancouver

As I write this I on on the ferry back to Vancouver again, after a week of solitude in my new home in Victoria.

Julie has been doing a workshop in Vancouver with David Diamond of Headlines Theatre. She took level 2 of the course in Forum Theatre. This is a style in which a play is written with participation from the community that deals with a topical issue. When the play is shown, audience members are asked to stop the action in the play and replace an actor if they believe they see a point where they could affect a positive change by playing the character differently.

I have been to several plays put on in this way, and have found them to be engaging and revealing – the topics have ranged from globalization, to bullying in schools, to water privatization, to South Asian gangs. Actually, that isn’t a range, that’s a list of the topics that were covered by the four plays I have seen. It is a tremendously powerful, engaging, educational, and entertaining experience.

But I digress. Enough about Julie, what about me?

I have been working, unpacking, and swimming in the swimming pool in our apartment building while Julie has been away. did I mention there is a swimming pool? Well, there is. I have found the experience to be a lot like being on a business trip. I am no longer in my house, instead I am in a building with hallways and numbers on doors. I bump into others staying in the building and have awkward moments with them while I travel up the elevator, dripping water in my swimming trunks. I don’t really know anyone, and Julie is far away. I have cable (we never did at our old place). I eat alone in restaurants, or preferably, take out and eat in front of the TV.

I’m looking forward to having Julie back, and starting to get out and meet some people here. I relish a professional and social community like I had in Vancouver. I suspect the former will be easier to attain than the latter, but I’ve got time.

There are several differences about Victoria from Vancouver that have made themselves apparent to me:

  • The transit website doesn’t offer a trip planner. I used to complain about the poor design of the one in Vancouver, but I have to tell you, a trip planning application in any form is better than downloadable pdf’s of schedules and gif images of maps!
  • 7 digit dialing. So quaint, and convenient!
  • Nothing seems to be more than a 30 minute drive away. People say things like “That’s way out in Esquimalt!” – what that means is it’s about a 15 minute drive. Anything more than a 10 minute commute is remarkable in this town.
  • The water tastes gross. I thought so many years ago when I originally moved to Victoria from Calgary. Then I started to think that Calgary water tasted gross. Then I moved to Vancouver, where I found the water tasted gross. Eventually I got used to the Vancouver water, and now I am of the opinion that both Calgary and Victoria water is gross. I am sure in a few months, I’ll be thinking it’s the Victoria water that tastes normal, and it is Vancouver and Calgary water that is gross.
  • The sky appears to be of a different colour in Victoria. More stars at night, I am sure due to less light pollution, but especially at dusk, the colours are much appear more saturated. There is a spectrum from peach through yellow to orange, then cyan, and finally the rich dark blue where the stars start to appear. I am observing this with a clear mind, I promise!
  • English muffins are always an option when you are out for breakfast. In Vancouver, you can always have sourdough toast at any cheap breakfast joint. In Victoria, so far, English muffins – go figure.
  • Cultural diversity – there is lots in Vancouver, not so much here. I re-wrote that about a dozen times trying to make sure I was being politically correct. Suffice it to say I miss Vancouver in this regard. Vanilla is nice, but I prefer neapolitan.

On the whole, I can’t say one is better than the other. At least not yet… maybe later.

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