Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Letter to the Buzz: New Zealand tourist pens open letter to Victoria


In a heartfelt letter to the “People of Victoria,” a New Zealand tourist recounts their transformative experiences exploring the city from 2015 to 2017.

Victoria’s harmonious blend of modernity, tradition, and the tranquil island pace, captured the heart of Cole Menzies. The picturesque landscapes, warm summer embrace, and cultural richness appears to have left an indelible mark.

The Songhees Nation visit deeply moved Menzies, witnessing the harmonious fusion of old and new. Engaging with local art taught him the beauty of quiet contemplation.

Natural sanctuaries like Mount Douglas and Mount Work offered solace and cherished memories. This letter conveys profound gratitude to Victoria for its magic and warm welcome, celebrating the connections made across continents.

You can read the letter in its entirety below:

Dear People of Victoria,

I hope this letter finds you well and surrounded by the beauty that graces your remarkable city. As I sit down with a cup of warm tea memories of my time in Victoria come flooding back, and I find myself compelled to express my gratitude for the unforgettable experiences I had during my visit between 2015 and 2017.

Stepping off the plane in Vancouver, the sight of a North American sports stadium left me in awe, a modern symbol of the journey I was about to embark upon, ironically.

Vancouver city’s unique blend of modernity and tradition, epitomized by the rows of neatly placed houses, struck me with a sense of wonder. Despite the closeness of these dwellings, each seemed to possess its own space, reflecting the harmonious coexistence that defines your community.

The ferry ride to Vancouver Island was a thrilling North American adventure in itself, a warm and dry journey filled with twists and turns that offered glimpses into the distinctive lifestyle of your region. It was here that I began to perceive the gentle pace of island life, a sentiment familiar to me from my homeland in the southern hemisphere.

Arriving in Victoria, I was immediately captivated by its picturesque landscapes and warm summer embrace. Exploring the natural wonderland that your city offers became a joyful quest, and every corner seemed to reveal a new facet of its charm.

The juxtaposition of modern architecture and historical buildings created a unique atmosphere, but it was my visit to the Songhees Nation that truly moved me. The blending of old and new within that beautifully crafted building spoke to my heart, offering a sanctuary of peace and strength that I had never encountered before.

Engaging with the local artwork at the Songhees Nation was a journey of introspection and discovery. The young guide’s wisdom in sharing just enough to kindle curiosity, while allowing space for personal interpretation, was a lesson in itself. The experience taught me that true understanding often lies in quiet contemplation and embracing the beauty that simplicity can offer.

The warmth and hospitality of the people of the Songhees Nation felt like a homecoming, evoking memories of similar welcoming gestures back in New Zealand. Your city’s island pace of life resonated deeply with me, reminding me of the slower, more mindful existence shared by island communities around the world.

Mount Douglas and Mount Work evolved into my sanctuaries, providing a place of solace for contemplation, energizing runs, and cherished hikes alongside my young daughter.

The enchanting mornings spent at Willows Beach remain ingrained in memory — the yachts resting securely in your embrace, while sunrises stroked the heavens with hues of red and driftwood bestowed an enchanting aura upon the shoreline.

Victoria, your city and its people left an indelible mark on my heart. The memories I made there are etched into my soul, a testament to the unique blend of modernity, tradition, and natural beauty that define your home.

Thank you, dear Victoria, for welcoming me with open arms and for sharing your wonders. May your community continue to thrive, and may the spirit of your city continue to inspire all who have the privilege to experience its magic.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Cole Menzies

To have your letter featured, send to with the subject “Letter to the Buzz”. Letters may be edited and altered for clarity.

Victoria Buzz Staff
Your inside source for Greater Victoria happenings. Established in 2012.

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