False Start

I had this great idea about how I was going to start this blog.

It’s a very exciting time- new to my community, lots of places and people to get to know. When we announced we were moving to Victoria, lots of folks told us they didn’t know much about life here (unless they had lived here already, in which case they waxed poetic). What better way to get plugged in to the new community and tell everyone about it than to blog about it? The bonus was I was going to do it all on my bike, which is both my preferred mode of transport and favoured technique for enlivening cities. I was ready to get out and engage from day one, and document along the way.

A beautiful fall season was upon us and I was raring to go. A plan was hatched with friends for a weekend expedition to launch the project: to ride west sampling beaches and swimming, then ride home sampling microbrews. And then this happened:

My foot

(Not what I envisioned as the first picture on the new blog)

When people ask how I broke my leg I tell them that “home built” and “rustic” are not descriptions you want applied to a zip line.

So a shift in approach was needed. Time to start seeing what I could see from a pair of crutches. I knew that Victoria has much to explore in both history and culture, but it turns out I got started a short but exhausting crutch trip down the hall from my radiology clinic. I had already gotten great care at Jubilee, but I felt extra confident after seeing one of Canada’s first modern operating theatres.

The Pemberton Operating Theatre was built in 1896 and remains largely in its original condition, now tucked away in the courtyard of a modern new facility. It’s a reminder that as recently as the turn of the 20th century, antiseptic operating conditions were kind of a big deal. Good to know the local hospital has a strong track record! Not where I had planned to start, but it fit with my interest in the form of a community.  I could see the balance between history and modernity that’s a defining feature of Victoria. They literally built the new building around the old one.

Faced with up to 12 weeks off the bike and pretty restricted mobility, I had to accept the reality that my explorations, intended to be pedal powered would begin in the passenger seat of a car. I also took it as a challenge to really utilize the transit system.  I was a total nuisance to my extremely patient wife, who carted me around (noting dryly that next time I should try to break my left foot so as to be able to drive).

I figured if I couldn’t move that far afield, I would try to meet as many folks as possible (the cast proved a good conversation starter). I had heard from a number of people that Victoria is a town where “you have to know someone” to get anything done. Frankly, I’m not sure what that means. If that means that you have to get out there and make an effort to meet people, well then no problem here. I’m not sure getting to know people is really a challenge considering how proactive and positive folks are here.

In my first couple of months on the ground I’ve met a great group of keen people. The Resilient Region Exchange and Victoria Green Drinks have proven to be a great place to start.

I am in the last couple of weeks on crutches and circling my bike like a hungry shark. Look for me soon out on the road!

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