As we ghosted towards the harbor entrance in Victoria, BC, the sun seemed to rip a hole in the dark carpet of clouds that was stealing the light from this storied part of North America. The morning dawned cool, and the forecast was for rain, but by the noon-hour we were strolling the streets under blue skies. The temperatures were in the mid-sixties, and it turned out to be a rare October day in B.C.’s capital city on the far-western edge of the world’s largest temperate coastal rainforest! Customs were cleared with very little to-do, and at the civilized hour of 09:00, all were gathered on the dock to head out on our various activities.

Some guests were headed to the Royal BC Museum where they were able to explore the region’s art, cultures, and history at a superb level of detail. Those who had signed up for tours of Butchart Gardens and several of the area’s amazing private gardens were treated to lunch on one property where the owner had amassed a considerable collection of automobiles and large-scale trains that spanned the property. Still others went on walking history tours with master recontour, Chris Adams, bicycle tours of the city’s most beautiful outlooks, and food-tasting tours that were far, far above the ordinary! With the opportunity to partake in so many different activities, there was a palpable excitement when guests reunited and shared their experiences of the day aboard busses that swept us off to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria for cocktail hour.

And talk about being far above the ordinary, the featured exhibit, Symbiosis, at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, explores the role of fungal communities in forest ecology, and our emerging understanding of communication between the trees! A truly cutting-edge exhibit that blended technology with live mycelium that were actually participating in the making of art! I think it safe to say that none of us had ever seen its like, and it will remain in our memories for a long time to come.

Tomorrow we cross back into the U.S. in Friday Harbor, WA, but the events of today have made it hard to leave this most amazing city on the edge of the world.

Photos by Jeff Campbell, Sharon Grainger, Alex Rubenstein.