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.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Memo From Port Townsend

Port Townsend, Washington, has a population of about 9,000 – a thirtieth of Greater Victoria's. And yet its ornately brownstoned downtown possesses a few things that ours sorely lacks.

It has a city museum, located inside the same building as the city hall. (What a great way that would be to draw tourists to Centennial Square.) It has a teen coffeeshop run by volunteer counsellors, with internet and couches where kids can hang out in hassle-free warmth instead of on street corners. It has a historic, community-run movie theatre. And it has pubs like Sirens, where I am right now: a cozy second-floor beerhall (in the building pictured above right) with free WiFi, fireplaces, shelves of donated books, high-backed leather reading chairs, board games, blues (softly) on the stereo, burgers on artisanal bread instead of crap supermarket buns that disintegrate on the first bite, and a deck overlooking the water – in other words, it's the kind of place you could sit in for hours. Not a single pub in Victoria offers all this.

Another advantage of a strong Canadian dollar: maybe a few more Victorians will travel to Washington State, and see how our neighbours do things better.


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