Having investigated my preferred option of public transport I decided to hire a car, which was a lot cheaper than I had envisaged.
I was now able to drive, within reason, wherever I wanted. I had already discovered that Vancouver Island is a damned site bigger than expected and that I would not have time to explore as much as I had hoped. In fact Vancouver Island is a tad larger than the mainland of Great Britain, so covering it in a week was out of the question.
So I set out to tentatively look at the area where my father actually lived in 1942-3. My first stop was at the British Columbia Aviation Museum, which is on the edge of Victoria Airport, formerly RAF/RCAF British Columbia. When I got there the museum was not yet open, but this place was:
The name “Mary’s Bleue Moon Café” is a tribute to the Blue Moon coffee shop that was demolished with expansion of the airport.
Here are the adverts from 1942.
Well, whatever else has changed, Mary’s Coffee Bar is still The House with the Friendly Atmosphere. I was greeted as I entered, but was more taken aback by the decor:
Apart from the model aircraft over the bar, every wall was festooned with memorabilia in the form of photographs and documents. I was soon moved to tears. A selection below:
The staff here were so friendly, and so interested in my pilgrimage and what their coffee shop had added to it, that I admit to sitting in a corner and blubbing for a few minutes.
When the museum opposite was open I made a brief visit to ask permission for a later engagement and then went in search of more locations from Dad’s photograph album, of which more in the next posting.