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Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs – Exhibit Review

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Ancient Egypt has always enthralled the world with its mysteries. So when the Royal BC Museum announced its latest feature exhibit, it was easy to see why people began planning their next trip to Victoria. Given the enchanting title of, “Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs,” visitors have the chance to explore the wonders of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Exhibits of this grandeur are usually something you’d find in the halls of European museums. In particular, many people are excited about the fact that this exhibit offers an in-depth look into the entirety of the Egyptian culture.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

The overall verdict? Whether you’re an amateur archaeologist or someone looking for something to do this weekend, this exhibit should be on everyone’s must-see list.

The exhibit showcases history ranging from the Predynastic Era (5000-3000 BC) to the Greco-Roman Period (333 BC – 313 AD). Within these periods, the displays are then divided into sections illustrating aspects of average life for the Egyptian people. These sections include:

  • Landscape/Climate
  • Gods/Goddesses/Mythology
  • Pharaohs
  • The Citizens/ Private Life/Hieroglyphics
  • Architecture/Sacred Temples
  • Beauty
  • Funerals and the Afterlife

Many of the visitors seemed to favour the sections that focused on the mythology, the pharaohs, and the funeral preparations. That might be Hollywood’s influence since the movies tend to focus on these aspects, but it was interesting to see fact separated from fantasy.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Here you get to see the complexities of a culture where most everyday things symbolized something far grander. Animals were not only food but sacred pets or the symbols of gods. The pharaohs were labelled the divine rulers of Earth, and the middlemen between the gods and people. The gods themselves were found in every part of life and held supreme power.

Each area of the museum was lined with dozens of artifacts, some of which are thousands of years old. Various interactive elements also exist, making this exhibit great for kids. The presentation of the content wasn’t overly text-heavy and offered lots of visuals. It was also easy to follow along with the story being told, as guests aren’t lost within a sea of technical terms and historical figures.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Reading between the lines, however, the exhibit’s sections each uniquely address a few overarching topics. The themes of power, prosperity, and the struggle for eternal life follow guests throughout their visit. As a result, you leave the museum with a sense of curiosity regarding the secrets of the pharaohs and how history really came to be as it’s known today.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

To summarize my recent visit, I was left in awe of the incredible achievements of the ancient Egyptians. The very first sign you see once you’ve entered the exhibit perfectly describes what a guest will experience, with the statement, “Let’s Travel Back in Time.”

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Entrance to the exhibit is available as an additional purchase on our Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour. See our Royal BC Museum Page for more information.

The Landsea Guide to Government Street

Credit: Tourism Victoria 

 

The Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour is a favourite for many of our tour guides. From a scenic perspective, it’s easy to see why. Unlike so many cities where historic architecture has begun to crumble under the pressures of time and gentrification, Victoria has maintained and preserved their vibrant Victorian buildings seen along both commercial and residential streets. Government Street, in particular, is especially known for its awe-inspiring moments.

It doesn’t matter which map you look at when visiting Victoria, it’s plain to see that Government Street connects you to almost anything you could want downtown. Generally, whenever a Landsea tour guide conducts a Victoria tour, we drive up Government Street turning into Chinatown to get back to the wharf. Even though our guides try to point out their favourite places, it’s hard to catch everything. Most maps only include the main attractions and can’t fit all the details. So here is a list of some of the best spots on Government Street.

History’s Corner

One of my favourite moments whenever I visit Victoria, is turning onto Government Street. You can also hear how excited visitors get once you make that turn. That’s because, within this little corner of British Columbia’s capital city, you not only get to see the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum, and the provincial parliament buildings, but also a breathtaking view of the water. In fact, if you image search the words “Victoria BC,” all you see are various photos of these four things. It’s easy for time to fly by when you’re snapping photos here.

                         Credit: Tourism Victoria

Never Leave Without a Souvenir

Government Street is basically ‘main street,’ for Victoria; lined with restaurants, stores, and galleries. Multiple souvenir shops are located here so no one misses a chance to buy a gift for themselves or for others. If you happen to want a one-of-a-kind piece to remember your visit, I would recommend the following stores:

  •      Out of Ireland: the perfect place to pick up handcrafted, imported Irish clothing, art, or jewellery
  •      Cowichan Traders: a go-to spot for those looking to own some First Nations artwork
  •      Rogers Chocolate: it’s hard to leave this beautifully-stained glass storefront filled with sweet chocolate, and rich with history
  •       Munro’s Books: a book lovers’ dream in an enchanting historic building; this store has been ranked as the third best bookstore in the world in 2016
  •       Murchie’s Tea and Coffee: also has a café, but has a great selection of teas and china for that “Victorian” feel

 

                                  Credit: Out of Ireland and Munro’s Books

Foodie or Fast Food

With Landsea Tours, we also arrive in Victoria around noon – which means lunch. Now whether you are a culinary adventurer, looking for unique local dishes, or if you’re instead wanting a family restaurant that serves chicken strips, then Government Street has something for you. Some places we always tend to recommend include:

  • Sam’s Deli – great if you want to grab a sandwich and eat by the water
  • The Soda Shoppe – perfect place to grab an ice-cream, especially in the summer
  • Frankie’s Modern Diner – good family restaurant with local/seasonal favourites
  • Bard and Banker – historic Scottish Pub (great place for fish & chips lovers)
  • Irish Times – historic Irish Pub (I will personally recommend the forest mushroom pizza)

Don’t worry though, if you want to stick to what’s familiar, there are also quite a few chain restaurants located on Government Street (and yes there is a Starbucks too).

                                                      Credit: Victoria Pub Company/Tourism Victoria

Chinatown

Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America and always deserves a visit. As long as you aren’t claustrophobic, try visiting Fan Tan Alley – the narrowest commercial street in Canada. Containing both history and culture while being a cute bucket list spot, Chinatown is usually as far as we recommend tourists go and we find few guests wander farther north beyond this point.

                        Credit: Brandon McGeachie/Tourism Victoria

For the Person Who Wants to See it All

If you find yourself with a few extra minutes to spare on your trip, there are a few other places that are worth visiting that can be accessed through Government Street.

  •      Bastion Square – leads to Wharf Street and is lined with public art
  •      Market Square – a tucked away corner that is off Yates Street filled with some neat stores
  •      Wharf Street/Johnston Street – follow along with the water and see the colourful Victorian buildings (ie. Snap your Instagram photos here)

                                 Credit: Tourism Victoria

 

While this post offers the highlights of what can be seen, we personally recommend visiting for yourself. With a harmonious blend of Victorian sophistication mixed with a modern appeal that rivals European cities, Government Street offers travellers a way to explore the vibrant highlights of British Columbia’s capital city.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Take a North Shore Tour

Visitors to Vancouver have a lot to choose from when they visit this picturesque city: what to see, where to go, and what to eat. Visitor blogs and books are filled with the must-sees and -dos while visiting Vancouver, and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain are almost always listed. These attractions are in North Vancouver located north of downtown Vancouver across the Burrard Inlet, only a 30-minute drive from downtown. However, not every visitor rents a car when they visit Vancouver because it’s not always needed in such a walkable city. Ways to get to North Vancouver to visit either the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and or Grouse Mountain include public transit, shuttle service offered by Capilano Suspension Bridge or Grouse Mountain, or with a sightseeing tour. All of these are great options, however, taking a sightseeing tour offers many benefits that the other options may not. Below are the top benefits of taking a sightseeing tour to North Vancouver.

1. No Lineups!

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Capilano Suspension Bridge offers a free shuttle from various locations across downtown Vancouver which is a great way of getting to the attraction; however you may have to wait in line because the shuttles come around every 15 minutes and they may be full! Grouse Mountain also offers a free shuttle service, but there still is the possibility of lineups. If you decide to take public transit, you may have to wait to catch the bus at Lonsdale Quay Market. Not only are there line-ups for the bus, don’t forget the lineups at the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Grouse Mountain once you arrive! When taking a sightseeing tour, you get priority entrance, as the attraction ticket is included with the cost of your tour.

2. Hotel specific pick-up and drop-offs

 

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Landsea Tours & Adventures offers hotel specific pick up and drop off at accommodations in downtown Vancouver, Richmond, and North Vancouver. Your tour guide will pick you up from the lobby of your hotel on the morning of your tour, meaning no need to find the seabus station or a shuttle stop! After a fun day on the North Shore, you will have your seat on our air-conditioned mini-coach to rest your feet while you head back downtown.

3. Pre-or Post-Cruise Tour Option

Cruise Luggage Handling
Embarking or disembarking a cruise ship? Landsea Tours & Adventures offers our pre-cruise Peak & Canyon Tour and our post-cruise Mountain Discovery Tour. We will pick you up from you hotel or cruise ship in the morning and take you out for a day of adventure! One benefit of a pre- or post-cruise tour is that we will take care of your luggage for the day. This means you do not have to worry about carrying it around or storing it. Have a flight in the evening from the Vancouver International Airport? Depending on the tour and the time of your departure flight, we will drop you off at the airport with your luggage.

4. Be part of an intimate group

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Instead of getting lost in the crowd, make a few friends along the way while taking part in our small group tours. Our mini-coaches accommodate 24 to 30 passengers, which allows for easier bonding with your group and to have a personal relationship with your tour guide. You will also receive personal recommendations on what to see and do at each attraction and a customized commentary from your guide resulting in a fun-filled entertaining day. On our Mountain Discovery tour, an extra stop is included at the Capilano Fish Hatchery, where visitors can see and learn how fish develop from eggs to the juvenile stage.

5. Guaranteed arrival and departure times

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With a sightseeing tour, you don’t have to worry about a bus being full or behind schedule resulting in a missed bus. Our tour guides will let you know how long you have at each attraction and where to meet when you are done, so you don’t have to stress about catching a bus back home. Lastly, you can rest assured that if you have evening plans that you will be back in time with your guaranteed seat on a mini-coach.

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