Victoria Day (in Canada) for kindred spirits

Happy Victoria Day, Canada!! Last year my brother & I got in on the celebratory fun at the start of a two-week bucket-list trip organized by the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver in British Columbia to the Canadian Rockies in Alberta.

We didn’t realize we selected a bank holiday weekend to travel. (Barely making our connecting flight in Toronto due to crowds should have been a hint.) On Victoria Day we had fun hopping on & off a tour bus all around the city, enjoying our first taste of Vancouver @ the Granville Island market, packed out with Canadians celebrating, bagpipes piping, and beverages imbibed to honor Queen Victoria. (Considered the mother of Canadian confederacy; since 1845 a good excuse for Canadians taking a day off to celebrate her birthday.)

even industry gets an art-lift on Granville Island

We purposefully padded our Rocky Mountaineer trip with a few extra days in Vancouver to see a friend while gadding about the city. When I was a young (& woefully clueless) 22-year-old, Edie became my first mentor…and dearest of friends.

As vice president of a Canadian company back in the 1980s (when few women held such leadership positions), Edie led hundreds of employees. (The World Expo building where she worked is still impressive.) She left her corporate position to use her myriad gifts in ministries in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

I’m continually grateful to God for Edie’s influence in my life. What she imparted formed the foundation of my professional toolkit impacting eventual leadership opportunities, but the biggest treasure came through our weekly fellowship: advice (always good), life lessons, spiritual sharing, and fun.

Edie is in her 80s now. When I moved overseas & she moved back to Canada, we kept up through letters, emails, occasional calls – but I had not seen her in over 20 years (although she is always close in my heart & prayers.)

Contacting her about a day together in Vancouver (just one as to not tire her out), I offered to pick her up in a cab (& assist her getting around, nothing too taxing?)

LoL! Edie arrived at our hotel bedecked in a chic turquoise top, svelte in white jeans, and proceeded to wear us out zooming all over Vancouver: a posh luncheon @ Granville Hotel Dockside Restaurant; a lovely stroll in the Rose Garden @ Stanley Park, a full outing @ Vancouver Aquarium (where as a member she gave us an insider’s tour), and a thorough driving tour of the city.

Baby beluga whale  @ Vancouver Aquarium

Other than her blondish (now whitish hair), Edie is still full of zip & verve & joy. We had such a grand time with her… that continued the next night. As a longtime groupie of Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, I arranged tickets to the Vancouver Symphony to hear one of his pieces played as part of the Last Night of the Proms concert, not really understanding what that meant: lots of God Save the Queen, Oh Canada & other patriotic Commonwealth goings-on interspersed with music (like Karl Jenkins) and – laughter! Haven’t laughed so much at a concert since we saw the Canadian Brass years ago.

Canadians know how to do humor (& have a good time, eh?)

Canadian shenanigans @Last Night of the Proms

Edie also had a ticket, so we reconnected for a celebratory meal before the concert & her insider’s guidage of the gorgeous Orpheum Theater. Driving us back to our hotel afterwards (@11:30 p.m.), she asked, “would you like to stop for drinkies?” 🙂

I hope when I’m in my 80s I have Edie’s verve & zip for life – and the joy, joy, joy that powers the love in her heart she so effervescently shares. Altho she retired when she turned 80, Edie continues to mentor women in the city… (and I was her first mentoree back in 1989!)

Edie @ Prospect Point in Stanley Park

The next day Dwight & I were up & out by 6:30AM for an-all day excursion to Victoria (on Vancouver Island) via the BC ferries… (& a hilarious tour bus guide who kept us awake with colorful stories throughout our 15 hour outing.)

Edie told us not to miss Butchart Gardens…

…a fabulous place of incredible beauty…

…and JOY!

Must finish this Victoria Day post with a pic from Victoria, the capitol city of British Columbia (& named for Queen Victoria), where I’m sure they’re celebrating.


grace, peace & kindred spirits

Virginia : )

 “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”  Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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19 Responses to Victoria Day (in Canada) for kindred spirits

  1. BC is beautiful I was there ‘many’years ago when I was only 16 with my other. My sister lived there. Alas I’ve never been back … Diane

    • Virginia says:

      Vancouver is such a GREEN city – there are trees hiding in almost every street, on top of buildings, in every nook & cranny, in addition to the gigantic wooded haven of Stanley Park, plus water all around. When we returned from our trip, i told everyone, “I fell in love… with VANCOUVER!” After visiting Jasper & Banff, words are a hard fit to describe the majestic beauteous mountains there. Canada is so beautiful all over- after grad school, my brother & I did a month trip to the Maritimes- PEI, Nova Scotia & 10 days crisscrossing Newfoundland (an extraordinary place.) Then after Africa we did another Canadian trip visiting friends in Montreal, Ottawa, & then on to Quebec City – the Paris of North America. What an amazing country!! Blessings 🙂

  2. Bernadette says:

    Virginia this is such a fun post to read. I so enjoyed seeing Vancouver and spent almost a whole day in wonder at Butchard Gardens. Your friend is the best.

    • Virginia says:

      You are so right, Bernadette – my friend Edie is the best! I’m so blessed she had the chance to visit Mama & Papa here in Williamsburg several times during our D.C. years. It’s just hard now since Vancouver is on the other side of the continent!

      A whole day in Butchart Gardens? wow! With only 2 hours, we bedazzled our way through at a quick clip. It would be grand to have a whole day to explore the tucked away beauty, but we were blessed with what we did see. Blessings!! Virginia 🙂

  3. Edie Rittinger says:

    Thanks for the lovely memories Virginia. I can assure you you were the greatest of blessings to me! Hope you’ll come back our way again sometime 😃😃

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Virginia says:

      Oh Edie! Miss you & love you & so grateful to God for you!! If you’re headed this way, we’re ready to zoom you all around Williamsburg & environs (that’s an open invitation.) We had such a grand time with you, we’ll never forget! I would love to come back to Vancouver (if you know any eligible, single Canadians, we could always work that angle!) 🙂 pax et bonum – Virginia 🙂

  4. what a lovely post- from the picas- to Edie (who is cute and can’t be 80) to the quote! thank you!

    • Virginia says:

      Thank YOU for your wonderful blog that I look forward to reading. Glad you had a fun weekend in Elizabeth city & blessings as you have your family together over Memorial Day. Blessings — Virginia 🙂

      p.s. Edie is in her 80s (& probably is in better shape than me.) As my Papa always said, “it’s not the years, it’s the miles…”

  5. arlene says:

    I previously saw in a few pictures how lovely this garden is.

    • Virginia says:

      Arlene -the beautiful Butchart Gardens just keep on going.There’s a huge rose garden, an Italian Garden, an Asian walkway with numerous intersecting paths, huge lake fountains, an enormous labyrinth of tree-lined walkways with flowers & unique plants everywhere. It’s like being in a fairy tale. Have lots more pics to share! grace, peace & flower groupies — Virginia 🙂

  6. Pingback: Snapshots & Whatnots: BEAUTY (@ Butchart Gardens) | Roses in the Rubble

  7. Pingback: Snapshots & Whatnots: BEAUTY (@ Butchart Gardens)

  8. TMH says:

    Envious of your trip to my favorite country and my two favorite provinces there.

    • Virginia says:

      Tim – Canada is so amazing it’s hard to pick a favorite place! Newfoundland wowed years ago along with Quebec City & PEI … but Vancouver is such a cool city! We were also blown away by the beauty of Banff & Jasper parks in Alberta. 😎

  9. Pingback: Victoria Day @ Butchart Gardens | Roses in the Rubble

  10. Pingback: Trains, Mountains & Waterfall(s)!! | Roses in the Rubble

  11. Pingback: T-shirt Tours: (a little) kelp @ Vancouver Aquarium | Roses in the Rubble

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