Alexander Eagle, mascot and protector of Beaver Dam Elementary School, continued his summer goodwill journey with a visit to our neighboring country of Canada. Like Montana, Canada is home to many of Alexander’s family; it is not uncommon to see golden and bald eagles flying overhead. Alexander’s destination was the “garden city” of Victoria, which is the capital of British Columbia and located on the island of Vancouver. The Empress Hotel used to dominate the skyline in this picturesque city, but it has been overshadowed by the many high rises and condominiums which have built up over the years.
No visit to Victoria is complete without stopping at the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Alexander was astounded by the array of flowers, meticulously tended over acres and acres of land. Jennie and Robert Butchart made their fortunes in Victoria through the limestone used to make cement. Bad luck for San Francisco with the earthquake of 1906 turned to good luck for Jennie and Robert .After the quake’s dust cleared, the demand for cement was phenomenal. Subsequently Jennie decided to turn the exhausted limestone quarry into a sunken garden. The family still owns the property, and they keep the gardens open to the public throughout the year. On a boat ride within the estate Alexander met a friendly guide named Catherine who took him through the Tod Inlet and waters of Brentwood Bay. He encouraged her to follow her dream, which is to be an elementary school teacher. From his perch high on the boat, Alexander waved his wings at seals, otters, and cousin eagles.
Before bidding farewell to his new Canadian friends, Alexander put on an extra warm coat and headed out to do a little whale watching. On the way he saw many seagulls and cormorants, as well as sleepy seals basking in the sunshine. This part of the ocean is home to many killer whales. The guides are familiar with the whales and can identify them by name simply by taking photos and looking at their tails. Alexander was pleased to learn that animals of all kinds are nourished in this environment and that the people of Victoria work together to keep the environment clean and healthy.
As the beautiful landscape of Canada disappeared under his wings, Alexander took to heart the advice frequently given to him during his time in this friendly country: no worries! He had one more stop before returning to his beloved eaglets; he was bound for the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.