“Sweetest of All Things”

This article is Reverend Connell’s ode to springtime in Victoria, to the native plants and flowers of the region, and to all life of the botanical realm in general. Strongly reflecting Connell’s own British roots, it is also an ode to one of his literary and philosophical mentors and inspirations, the English nature writer RichardContinue reading ““Sweetest of All Things””

Jaunts by Highways and Byways

Reverend Connell hits the road via automobile, visiting Elk and Beaver Lakes and Cordova Bay beach with plenty of stops along the way. Read about “guddling” fish, magnetite at the beach, and what sounds to have been one amazing arbutus tree! From the Victoria Daily Colonist, March 16th, 1941. The first of March came inContinue reading “Jaunts by Highways and Byways”

In February Showers

In this article Reverend Connell takes a walk among the firs and oaks of a still-forested section of the old Hudson’s Bay Company lands on the Lansdowne slope, near the Saanich/Oak Bay border, almost exactly 80 years ago. His reflections on the historic landscape and the abundance of introduced species of flora and fauna thatContinue reading “In February Showers”

Salt Air by Shoal and Oak Bays

Reverend Connell’s botanical ramble along the shoreline of south Oak Bay. From the Victoria Daily Colonist, December 7, 1941. I hardly think anything could be finer than this Victoria November day with a little breeze from the east for additional zest. We leave the Victoria boundary at Foul Bay Road, and follow Runnymede to Mountjoy,Continue reading “Salt Air by Shoal and Oak Bays”

February Grey and Green

Reverend Connell paints a visceral portrait of the hills and farmlands of Strawberry Vale and the Colquitz River valley in late winter. From the Victoria Daily Colonist, February 22nd, 1942. The bus as it runs along Burnside Road gives a broad view of dark sloughed fields with a background of dark timber. It is surprisingContinue reading “February Grey and Green”

 Old Orchards by the Colquitz           

In the fall of 1941 Rev. Connell set out to find the remains of a heritage orchard on the banks of the Colquitz River. His narrative weaves together the environmental and settler histories of the area. From the Victoria Daily Colonist, Oct. 12, 1941. I have just returned from a visit to the Provincial ArchivesContinue reading ” Old Orchards by the Colquitz           “

The New Mount Douglas Road

Follow Rev. Connell along Shelbourne Street and up the unfinished “new” road to the summit of Pkols/Mount Douglas. Take in some of the flora, geology and history of the valley, with a little turkey trivia for good measure! From the Victoria Daily Colonist, January 1st, 1939. After a night of frost a brilliantly sunny morningContinue reading “The New Mount Douglas Road”

By Willows Beach at Ebb-Tide

In this article Connell reminisces about his early visits to Willows Beach in Oak Bay and how the area has changed since those days. He then takes a close look at some of the wildlife encountered there, concluding with a short walk through Uplands Park. From the Victoria Daily Colonist, March 12th, 1939. As IContinue reading “By Willows Beach at Ebb-Tide”

A Ramble ‘Round Northern Suburbs

Reverend Connell’s writings for the Victoria Colonist newspaper (1936-43) are a vast and yet virtually unknown treasure-trove of local history, natural history, and settler-era folklore for the region. Full of fascinating information and anecdote, they concisely and intelligently- though not without a poetic sentiment- represent a crucial and transformative period in the collective cultural pastContinue reading “A Ramble ‘Round Northern Suburbs”

“…And There Shall Be Snow”

Connell recalls some of the “Big Snow” winters of his youth and various adventures through the snowy landscape of rural and suburban Victoria. From the Victoria Daily Colonist, November 24, 1940– Despite all temporary and local discomforts there is a fascination about snow most of us never quite cease to feel. Children always are peculiarlyContinue reading ““…And There Shall Be Snow””