Visit to Canada offers relaxation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

If you like flowers, then you will love Victoria, Canada.

My wife, Rosalind, and I have just returned from the Canadian Province of British Columbia of which Victoria is the seat of government.

Victoria is called the city of Gardens.

It is home to the Butchart Gardens, acclaimed by several magazines as the number one garden spot in North America.

The Butchart Gardens are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and I find myself agreeing with the &uot;experts&uot; regarding the acclaim owed to this beautiful site.

Each year more than one million bedding flowers in over 700 varieties are used to provide uninterrupted bloom at the Butchart Gardens.

The gardens themselves cover 55 acres of ground and they are viewed by thousands of visitors annually.

Victoria sits on an island just west of Vancouver and just north of Seattle, Washington and is gaining renown as one of the choice destinations in North America.

We stayed at the famous aristocratic ivy-covered Empress Hotel, a national landmark for over 100 years.

It is truly one of the great hotels of North America.

The city takes its queue from the Butchart Gardens and has flowers displayed on every street light.

We were told that a full-time crew of city employees water and care for these live plants every night from 2 am until 6 am.

One of Victoria’s richest traditions is its love of the arts and this is a place where the performing arts thrive.

Victoria is home to more artists and writers than any Canadian city, and it hosts multiple outdoors arts and crafts festivals annually.

On the last night of our visit to Victoria, we were treated to dinner in the private residence of the Queen of England’s representative to British Columbia.

Preceeding the Queen’s representative’s entrance into the dining area, a quartet of bagpipe players marched around the room in Scottish dress playing various tunes.

It was quite a spectacle.

I think the thing I perhaps enjoyed the most was the weather.

It was an average of 70 degrees during the daytime and 50 degrees at night.

There was no humidity and no threat of rain.

It could not have been better weather.

This was my first trip to the west coast of Canada but it was a delightful one.

I recommend it to any of you who love beautiful flowers and mild climates.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.