Unknown Victoria

Victoria: The Unknown City is a guidebook to an eccentric town on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This is the author's blog. Look here for Victoria lore, updates and additions to the book, and hate mail.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ogden Point, Already

It was a criticism in a review of the original Secrets book. And Jim Gibson pointed it out in his rather catty article today on Unknown in the Times Colonist. So it's sure to come up again: in the Dining section, I failed to mention the lovely Ogden Point Café.

Why leave it out? Lord knows, it's got a fantastic location. But I figure that by the time you get to it, you've already seen the view. The coffee and pastries are no better than you'd find at a hundred shops downtown. And the place is so clatteringly busy (although the cafeteria line moves quickly) that it hardly qualifies as "unknown."

What is unknown is that bigger things were once considered for the café site. In the mid-1980s, a design consultant presented a plan to the city for a "multi-use covered saltwater pool, health spa complex and tourist attraction" at Ogden Point. Along with multiple pools, the proposed facility would've had a saltwater aquarium, totem poles surrounded by an artificial waterfall, and a life-size replica of the Thermopylae tea clipper that often stopped in Victoria. Like many other grand projects described in the "Imaginary Victoria" part of the Landmarks chapter, it never materialized. Ogden Point remains a busy place nonetheless: more than 180 cruise ships are landing there this summer, and several seaworthy events are coming up, such as the Maritime Museum of B.C.'s annual garage sale of nautical bric-a-brac on April 23. Perhaps it's time to build a second restaurant.

PS Another thing Jim chastized me for was the "shocking" admission that I'd never had the $50 tea at the Empress hotel. ("But my girlfriend has," said Crockford by way of credentials. ) 'Tis true. That's what happens when you're writing without an expense account. One thing my resourceful girlfriend did find out, however: the Empress's crustless sandwiches are all-you-can-eat. Enjoy.


At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Guerrero said...

It is not too late for Ogden Point. We can build whatever we want there (or perhaps whatever the James Bay Neighbourhood Environment Association will let us get away with). Of course we are already getting the giant windmill but there could be so much more.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger suefromsidney said...

This blog is just SO wonderful. Thankyou. As a relative newcomer from northern Ontario, to this beautiful city, I find I am learning so much from your writing and conversations back and forth, too.😌


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