Following Victoria Day’s namesake Queen

Since we’re in London this Victoria Day, we’ve been able to explore the city where the long-reigning Queen Victoria lived.  Unless you’re in Victoria BC where Victoria Day is a big day of celebration, for most Canadians it’s a long weekend to mark the unofficial start to summer and it’s one of the few times they might think about the namesake monarch.

However, in the UK, Victoria is everywhere, from memorials to palaces to chapels.  The Victorian era has a long enduring influence on the transportation infrastructure, architecture, and style of the United Kingdom and all around Commonwealth.

When you’re in London here’s a few of easy spots associated with Queen Victoria;

Kensington Palace: the palace is the current home of many Royals, including the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince Harry and has a strong association with Diana Princess of Wales, Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Princess Victoria on May 24, 1819

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace: the original Buckingham House, it was later expanded and became the Monarch’s residence when Queen Victoria moved in after her coronation in 1837.

Westminster Abbey: located across from the Houses of Parliament, the gothic abbey is where the coronation of Victoria and all monarchs, starting with William the Conqueror in 1066, has taken place.

St James’s Palace: the Tudor palace is the oldest of London’s royal residences and where the young Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in the palace’s Chapel Royal

Albert Memorial: the hard-to-miss memorial sits in Kensington Gardens across from the Royal Albert Hall, and stands as a monument to Victoria’s beloved husband since the Queen dedicated it in 1872.

Windsor Castle: a main residence for the Monarch and her family, especially after Prince Albert’s death, the magnificent Castle’s grounds also house the Royal Mausoleum the final resting place of both Victoria and Albert.

Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial: a visit to Buckingham Palace has to include a look at the Victoria Memorial standing front and centre at the front gates to the palace, begun in the year of her death, 1901 and unveiled a decade later.

London Victoria Station: located not far from Buckingham Palace, and representative of the major growth in transportation during the Victorian era. Since its opening in 1860 Victoria Rail Station has grown to become the second-busiest rail station in London, adding the Underground and Coach Stations nearly 200 million people travel through the station each year, including most visitors.

These are just a few of the many spots around the British capital that have an association with the diminutive monarch but nearly everywhere you look has a royal story. On your next trip, go out and visit Britain’s royal connections for yourself and find the hidden connections.

If you can’t be in London to celebrate, enjoy whatever you do this Victoria Day!


Origins & Celebrations of Victoria Day

Well before confederation Canada has been celebrating the May Long Weekend, in 1845 the colonial government recognized May 24th as Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Over a century later, we still celebrate Victoria Day on the Monday before May 25th.  Not only a celebration of Queen Victoria but also the Canadian Sovereign’s Official Birthday.

The status of the holiday varies across the Canadian Provinces and Territories but everywhere there is a celebration on Victoria Day (or in Quebec, National Patriots’ Day).
Here in BC, as expected, the Provincial Capital is a hub of Victoria Day celebrations, culminating in the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, today at 9am along Douglas Street.  Now in its 118th year, Victoria’s largest parade is a fun-filled day for the whole family, bringing out an annual crowd of 100,000+ and marks the unofficial kick off to summer for Victorians. Visiting Marching Bands perform all around Victoria for the weekend and the annual “Drum-Off” on the Parliament Buildings’ Lawn, is a crowd pleaser.

Wait for it….! #victoriadayparade2016

A video posted by GreaterVictoriaFestivalSociety (@victoriafestivalsociety) on

In New Westminster, the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Salute at Queen’s Park starting at 1130, has been taking place for 146 years.  The 21-Anvil salute was started in the early days of the Colony of British Columbia by the local fire department.  With no cannons available to perform a traditional 21-gun salute, the “Hyacks” as they were known, improvises by placing gunpowder between two anvils creating a tradition for the ages.

Whether you take in any local activities,  spend your Victoria Day with family and friends, or have to work on today, I hope you enjoy a great day and look forward to the summer ahead!


Picks Of The Week: May 15, 2013

The summer doesn’t officially start for another month but the May long weekend is the unofficial kick-off to the season. Blockbuster Movies, Fairs and Midways, Concerts all begin get people out and about to take in Victoria Day.

Spit: After a too long hiatus, SPIT returns for a Thursday night adventure, Kiss Of Life, at a surprise Vancouver location, cover just $5 for a fun night of dance and frivolity!

Giddy-up: A long weekend tradition, The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair gets underway for the 135th edition. International Rodeo stars, carnival midway, agricultural exhibitions, lumberjack shows, cook-offs and concerts…there’s something for the whole family.

Legends: Rock legends Fleetwood Mac make a stop on their reunion tour at Rogers Arena on Saturday May 19th. If the reunion wasn’t enough, the band is celebrating the April release of their first new album in a decade, Extended Play.

Soccer: Vancouver Whitecaps FC take on their I-5 rivals, Portland Timbers on Saturday May 19th at BC Place. It’s always a raucous event when the Portland buses full of fans arrive to cheer on their team.

Stage: Join hosts Isolde N. Baron and Peach Cobblah as they take a walk through the glamourous history of Vancouver’s drag scene. TUCKED & PLUCKED: Vancouver’s Drag Herstory Live On Stage! is at The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab, May 18, 19, 25 and 26

Bricks: To celebrate the LEGO store’s first anniversary at Oakridge Centre, shoppers are welcome to join LEGO Master Builder Dan Steininger to assemble an 8ft tall Yoda statue.  Special discounts and bonus offers will be featured all weekend, May 17-19th, as well as activities and builder tips along with a Certificate of Achievement for participants.

Afterhours: Extend the weekend and dance the night away late with United: DJ Eddie Martinez from NYC at Gorg-O-Mish. Doors open at 1am, tickets $30

Parade: Head across the Salish Sea for a weekend getaway and take in the 115th Annual Island Farms Victoria Day Parade. A Victoria tradition for generations, the parade winds its way along Douglas Street from Mayfair Shopping Centre to Humboldt Street in downtown Victoria.

What’s On – long weekend May 19-22 edition

“May Long” “May Two-Four” “Victoria Day”
Whatever you call it, it’s the traditional start of summer fun. The first long weekend, it’s time to shed the winter doldrums and have some fun!

Thursday  – May 19
Start the long weekend early with
– While wishing Jay Brazeau a speedy recovery from his recent stroke, the show goes with Andy Toth as Enda Turnblad in Hairspray, continuing at Arts Club Theatre Company.
– Help Joan-E spread some goodwill at the 15th Anniversary Bingo For Life supporting Friends for Life Society
– In Victoria, the 14th Annual UNO Fest begins. Produced by Intrepid Theatre UNO is 10 days of solo works from across the country.

Friday – May 20
– For one night only, catch the hilarious Tracy Morgan at the Orpheum Theatre
– NY based duo Phantogram perform an early show at Venue
– if you’re feeling flush take off to Las Vegas with JetSet Crew as they lead a crew of Vancouverites on a weekend of fun!

Jimmy Eat World

Saturday – May 21
Jimmy Eat World brings their alterna-rock to the Commodore Ballroom
– Grab your disco stick at head to ANZA club for Supernature

Sunday – May 22
– The Vancouver Convention Centre will be shaking as David Guetta gets the city dancing.
– If the smooth stylings of Boys II Men are onstage at Gossip Nightclub.