Having settled into my hotel I set out to explore the downtown area. I had with me copies of advertisements from “The Patrician”, the station magazine of RAF Patricia Bay, and I intended to seek out those establishments that were still active after nearly 75 years. As I was somewhat befuddled, it being around 2pm in Victoria but 10pm in “real time”, I restricted myself on day one to exploring Government Street. Of the dozen or so traders advertising in 1942, only three existed in their original premises.
One was W & J Wilson. I seem to have lost the photograph but this link is to their website.
The lady running the shop told me that when they had a clear out a couple of years ago they found dozens of RAF coats still in stock.
The second shop appeared to be practically unchanged.
This shop retains a traditional interior:
I took the opportunity to purchase a new pipe. When I was a lad my father had a meerschaum pipe with the bowl carved into the head of what we were allowed in those days to call an Indian chief, complete with feather headdress. I believe he bought it in Canada and in all likelihood from this shop. Alas, such things are not now available but this is my tribute pipe:
I have no idea how the business is still running because during the week I did not find a single place except the ferry terminal and the deck of the ferry itself where I could enjoy a pipe. Naturally the hotel was off limits, but so was the balcony. Signs on many shops proclaimed a bye-law banning smoking within 7 metres of any door, window or air inlet to the building. No smoking signs were prominent in the public parks and on the beaches and for obvious reasons in the forests.
Of course the Hudson’s Bay Company still exists but has been transformed into a multi-floor shopping Mall (The Bay Centre), with Hudson’s Bay Co. as a department store at one end of it.
One other establishment still running but in new premises was Brown’s Nurseries. More about them in a later posting.
To be continued…