Eager smiles and infectious energy greeted me as I stepped out of my room early this morning to begin the second day of the 2017 Provincial Heritage Fair journey. The bubbly delegates, some of which had been awake since 6 (6!) AM, rushed out towards the cafeteria to eat their breakfast. After chowing down some hashbrowns, sausages, bacon and other tasty goods, we boarded the bus and drove to our first stop of the day: Goldstream Provincial Park.
With the sun shining down our backs, we split up into groups and toured around the park. Various topics of discussions with our tour guides included types of salmon, the importance of fish on the park’s wildlife, and various trees and plantation. A special fact that I especially liked was that salmonberries received their names from bearing fruit at the same time as salmon came home in the autumn. We toured around the Goldstream Nature House, as some students shopped for souvenirs and others read the exhibits around the house.
After a short break, we resumed our torrid race around Victoria, and stopped at Fort Rodd, a National Historic Site. We toured around the Upper Battery, where various guns greeted us. One 6,000 pound machine was especially loved by the delegates, and they watched in delight as our guide showed us how to load the gun. We also toured the Lower Battery, where we got to examine artifacts such as gas masks and bullet casings. Finally, we walked around the Garry Oak ecosystem, where various endangered native plants were protected amongst each other.
A small portion of the group then took a short walk down to the Fisgard Lighthouse, which was also a National Historic Site. Students posed for photos in front of the towering lighthouse, and visited various educational information sites inside. The wind whipped up around us as we headed back on the narrow gravel path to the parking lot, where we were picked up by the school bus.
Our final main attraction of our hectic day was at Victoria’s Chinatown, where we met our wonderful tour guides led by John Adams. The tour was both informative yet engaging, and we all stood in amazement as he answered all of our questions with astonishing depth. He taught us about important figures of Chinatown, such as Lee Mong Kao, and Sun Yat-Sen. John took us to small alleyways, and murals, as well as the Victoria Harbour and where old buildings such as the Hudson’s Bay Company Warehouse used to exist. We all left the tour having learned so much more about Chinatown, and the history of the area as well. Personally speaking, I had taken a tour of Chinatown before, but didn’t know that so many important events had occurred there, until John’s tour.
Oh – and he also taught us how to play Fan Tan (a Traditional Chinese gambling game)!
Famished from such a long day with lots of walking, we were ready to feast at the Golden City Restaurant. Many delegates taught each other how to use chopsticks, and played several icebreaker games with each other. As each dish arrived, students were excited to try new foods, and often found themselves enjoying the new cuisine! After the meal, we said a big thank-you to Mary Campone, who coordinated the fair.
We returned to our residences, ready for our final activity of the night: the alumni activity (Julia is blogging about it, and you can find it on our website)! Groups of students rotated throughout several stations, learning about important events in Canada’s history. At the end of the activity, the groups arranged a large mosaic, with pictures of other events. The final product could be a metaphor of our fair: different people coming from different places, uniting together as one to represent who we are.
All in all, it was an incredibly busy, yet rewarding day. As students continue to bond with one another and learn about Victoria, BC, and Canada’s history in the next 72 hours, they can only grow as learners, historians, and, most importantly, friends.