Architectural, Cultural sights in British Columbia
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The colonial elite used to hobnob at the beautiful 1860s-era mansion that is Point Ellis House and Gardens, which now houses one of Canada's finest collections of trinkety Victoriana. The house has 5000 artefacts, ranging from flowery teapots to intricate needlepoint artworks. Fascinating photos show how the upper-echelon O'Reilly family adapted to life on the fringes of the far-flung British Empire - apparently Mrs O'Reilly had a couple of affairs to salve her homesickness. Tea and fresh-baked scones are served in the fragrant gardens. If you have a monocle, this is the time to wear it.
Ask staff about the mansion's ghost stories, and save time for the fragrant gardens.
On your way out from the Royal British Columbia Museum, visit Thunderbird Park, the museum's oft-photographed clutch of brightly painted totem poles, then duck into the adjacent pioneer buildings, including Helmcken House. One of BC's oldest structures, this tidy 1852 doctor's residence is lined with the minutiae of everyday family life. Refreshingly little is roped off and wandering guides provide the stories behind the displays.