I had initially suggested to Mark that we meet up for coffee somewhere, but he stepped in with a generous offer to chauffeur me (and my two children) around Victoria and Oak Bay to experience some truly amazing places.
You don’t say no to an offer like that!
Mark met us with his Mercedes SUV in front of the Empress Hotel at 1pm. While I had gone for a 20km run earlier in the day, the kids were (as always) full of energy and ready to explore. What I had anticipated as an hour-long sightsee turned into 4 hours of the most spectacular fun we’ve ever had in Victoria.
Mark whisked us along Dallas Road to some local access points where quiet trails led to rocky promontories into the ocean. He earned the kids’ eternal respect when he was able to deliver on a promise to show them a real wolf, harbour seals, and some of the best climbing trees on the West Coast. We ascended a hidden staircase to access 360 degree views of the Salish Sea, Vancouver Island and Victoria’s downtown. Mark saw people he knew everywhere we went, from kids walking dogs to old neighbours out for a stroll. I loved driving through the quiet, friendly streets of Oak Bay, rhododendrons in full bloom, seeing where Mark had raised his family and getting a real sense for why someone would choose to make their home in this “City of Gardens” by the sea.
Victoria’s harbour is undeniably attractive, but it’s a shame that many people never see the wilder beauty that exists just a short drive away from the horse-drawn carriages and Government buildings. I absolutely recommend spending time with Mark to discover it! You can learn more about him, and ask him questions about any of his tours, through his ToursByLocals guide profile.