Due to COVID19 restrictions that went into effect this past mid-March, all step-on guide bookings have been cancelled till now. One of my retirement residence clients has booked my services for a bus tour in October. The company has put in place very strict protocols to protect their residents, the driver and myself.
Over the past few years, I’ve provided themed commentary tours for the Carlton House of Oak Bay, Ross Place Residence, the Kensington and Parkwood Place. Each of these residences either have their own bus and drivers or they contract a bus and driver.
All tours start at the particular retirement residence and usually run an hour. During the tour, I direct the driver along a route that will take the residents past carefully selected sites which help illustrate the theme. A considerable amount of research goes into learning some of the interesting stories that related to the sites and themes.
So what have been some of the themes for these bus tours?
- National Historic Sites of Greater Victoria;
- Heritage Trees and the Urban Forest of Victoria;
- James Bay: Victoria’s First Neighbourhood;
- Rockland: Victoria’s Knob Hill;
- The First Humans in the Area and their Decendants: The Lekwungen People;
- Historic Saloons, Bars and Pubs in Victoria;
- The Railways of Greater Victoria (1890 – 1930);
- James Douglas, Hudson’s Bay Company & the Creation of Fort Victoria;
- The Gold Rush & the Transition of the Fort into a City;
- The History and Future of Agriculture in the Region;
- Migratory Birds and Greater Victoria’s Three Migratory Bird Sanctuaries;
- The Wetlands of Greater Victoria; and
- Greater Victoria’s Parks: Green Jewels in the City’s Crown.
In April of 2019, I was contracted to provide step-on guide services for four faculty members: one from Nova Scotia Community College, one from Camosun College, and two from the Kenyan Coast National Polytechnic. They were collaborating on a project under the auspices of the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP). This a five-year (2016-2021) $20.6m program funded by the Government of Canada.
These visiting faculty all teach tourism courses in their respective institutions. As a consequence, they not only wanted to see how I went about giving tours, but they also wanted to tab my knowledge and experience in tourism more generally.
We had about an hour and half together during which time I spent much of the time either talking about and showing them sites pertaining to the early history of Victoria or answering questions about tourism.
In Oct 2019, Reliable Bus company out of Vancouver contacted me to see if I would be available to serve as a step-on guide and deliver an hour long tour of Victoria for 24 post-secondary students and two faculty visiting the city on an exchange program. The company left it entirely up to me as to the theme, route and sites.
They obviously enjoyed the tour as I’ve been asked whether I would be available same this year!