Monday, April 14, 2008

Small(er) Town Living

One of the things I'm noticing about living in a "concentrated city" is that when an event makes the news, I know exactly where the event happened.

Now, many of the people who read this blog also live in either small towns or cities that are less spread-out than our Orlando home was, so this may not come as a big revelation to everyone. :)

But for me, this is a relatively new experience. I've spent most of my life in or very near big cities like London, Atlanta, Miami, New York, LA and yes, Orlando (the actual city limits has only 220,000 people, but the metro area is home to 2.7 million). Victoria is the biggest and most metropolitan city on Vancouver Island, but it's population is tiny by comparison (78,000 in the city itself -- including us! -- and 330,000 for the entire metro area).

A couple of nights ago, there was a hit-and-run fatality in Esquimalt (es-KWY-malt), which we can see from our balcony. This was the result of a drunken driver according to news accounts, even though it took place early in the evening (10:40pm). The driver is now in custody.

In happier news, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (off Fort Street, well within walking distance of us) is going to be getting an Andy Warhol exhibit I've been wanting to see. And of course just outside our window is the Provincial Legislature building (I've been calling it the Parliament House, but that's an inside joke for the Orlando crowd), where all the politicians from across the province gather to make the laws and the news. Here's what that building looks like from the back (you may have seen the front in our holiday card and in other photos we've used):

The area where the rainbow ends ... that's Esquimalt.

The big story here in town, of course, is that the local hockey team the Salmon Kings have reached the ECHL (one of the "farm leagues" feeding into the AHL) playoffs for the first time. Did I mention that hockey is kind of popular here? Until I'm sure I have my "green card," I'm feeling obligated to at least keep up with how the team is doing lest I be deported for an unpatriotic disinterest in ice sports. :) Go S-Kings!

One last "news" note: I'm pleased to say that our province has passed another pro-consumer piece of legislation: outlawing expiry dates or service charges on gift cards. You may not think this is a big deal, but by the government's estimates, BC consumers alone lose $1 billion (yes that's a "b") in expired cards or fees every year. That's a lot of free money we are giving (mostly) big corporations, don't you think? No wonder they push them so hard!

And that's just British Columbia, a modest province in Canada with a sum total population of 4.4 million. Imagine how many billions are getting rooked out of people in the US! Heather and I got "bit" by this "bug" ourselves -- a Spaghetti Factory reward card we had gotten for buying a larger gift card expired just days before we got around to using it. Grrrr.

I am glad to see that we will be snookered no more in this fashion.


Anonymous said...

The rainbow ends in Vic West, to be technical, and you know I always am. :P Just to the west of that is Esquimalt though.


chas_m said...

Thank you, SPOCK.


JHo3000 said...

I've been considering a move from Hollywood, CA to Canada (Vancouver) myself. I'll have to read deeper into your writings. Looking forward to it!

- JH