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Admire the Beautiful Gardens of Victoria

British Columbia is a lovely, amazing, vital place. Vancouver is the largest city of this westernmost Canadian province but Victoria, fertile, cool and lively, is the capital city. Last spring, we spent a long weekend enjoying some of the most enchanting gardens in North America, including the world-famous Butchart Gardens. Houstonians love to garden and if we only had their magical soil and nurturing climate – the things we would grow! An annual rainfall of 61 inches coupled with a unique abundance of sunshine (more than 2,200 hours a year) perfectly nourishes both the abundant and varied flora and the kind and generous spirit of its residents who seem to find gardening, and I mean thoughtful, serious gardening, practically a universal pastime. A trip to Victoria is inspirational – even to those who are not particularly earthy. A trip here will find you inspired to create smooth, contemplative vistas in your own yards. Built on the Inner Harbor, it is European in feel. Sidewalk cafes, along with lots of artsy galleries, shops and restaurants line the streets. I recommend a springtime trip when gentle sunshine and fragranced flowers fill every window pot, hanging basket and street corner.
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Welcome to Vancouver Island

The rain drowned out another day on Vancouver Island when I arrived on Horizon flight 2388 bringing Southern California sun, which peered through Victoria’s clouds.

I stepped off the plane amongst trees and water, and quiet people. A nurturing feeling of spaciousness surrounded me, a feeling lacking in big city living like L.A.
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British Columbia Wins at 2008 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards

International travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler recently announced the results of its 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition to ranking fourth on the Top 100 Best of the Best 2008 list, King Pacific Lodge was awarded first place in the Top 20 Canada Resorts. “We are thrilled to once again be acknowledged by Condé Nast Traveler as the leading resort in Canada,” said Michael Uehara, Vice President and CEO, King Pacific Lodge. “Being in New York to accept the award, I felt a sense of pride on behalf of our spectacular property and the province of British Columbia.”
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Gal-livanting in Victoria

Every year I escape with two of my best buds for a weekend of gal-palling. We always try to intertwine our girl time with tourist attractions, pampering perks and, of course, lots of shopping. This year, we decide to do it with a royal flair, and as we discover, British Columbia’s colonial capital of Victoria is the next best place to jolly old England!
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Condé Nast readers choose top 10

Here’s a look at the top 10 hotels, resorts and cities for 2007, as chosen by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Vancouver scored very well in both the hotel and resort categories.

10 Best Hotels in Canada
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The Look Of Love

Ripe, luscious fruits nestled together in the complimentary fruit bowl, fresh flowers adorning the center lobby table, and custom-designed elegant furnishings are a few of the lovely European touches gracing the intimate lobby and guest rooms of the Magnolia Hotel & Spa. Located in the prime inner harbour neighbourhood of downtown Victoria, British Columbia, this exclusive boutique hotel is a classy find. With 63 guest rooms offering floor to ceiling views of either the city’s downtown, or harbour, the hotel and spa were recently celebrated by Conde Nast Magazine readers as one of the “Top Three Hotels in Canada”. The results were derived from the largest independent poll of consumers’ preferences, The Conde Nast Readers Choice Survey, second in size only to the U.S. Census. And while this is a very impressive honor to have bestowed upon it, Magnolia Hotel & Spa is not one to rest on its laurels: The exemplary service, from front desk to housekeeping (the latter being particularly adept at maintaining spotless public areas as well as guest rooms as noted on a recent visit), and the charming doormen, maintain a constant level of professionalism that is worthy of this recent accolade. And to be in the heart of fabulous Victoria where you can stroll the waterfront at your leisure, taking in shops, galleries and the Royal BC Museum, this property and city will make it on your list of favourite getaways’ too’ – rest assured.
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A Trip Fit For a Queen

I tend to bring a bit of ambition on trips. With so little time and so much to see, I’m often running around a city, making sure I fit it all in. Years ago, my friend Fay and I were racing through the streets of Edinburgh with nary a look at the incredible views. With a schedule of five shows per day, we were trying to catch our next act. Like true New Yorkers we walked, heads down, hoof to heel, and we were panting when we arrived. As we locked eyes, we recognized the need to achieve in each other. Caught off guard by our own ridiculousness, we bent over howling with laughter in spite of ourselves. It was the best entertainment of the day.
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Victoria’s secret – Magnolia’s unique brand of chic

For years, Victoria was described as being more British than the British; a tweedy town filled with fish–and–chip shops, double–decker buses and tea–sipping residents dressed in sensible shoes. Not so anymore—Victoria’s evolving from lavender soap and clip–clopping horse carriages to a city with pizzazz.
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