Thursday Doors: Vancouver Island

I’m not sure the full blame rests on Norm’s* shoulders, but it has become extremely difficult to travel to a new area and not look for interesting doors to photograph. On our recent trip to Vancouver Island, Canada, I was concerned at first that I may not have any doors to show for our efforts. Afterall, is a vacation without any pictures of eye-catching doors really a success? I think not.

Fortunately, the dearth of interesting doors that we first experienced was remedied when we drove to the northeastern end of the Island. The small communities of Port Hardy and Port Rupert are infused with the rich history and proud traditions of the Kwakiuti First Nation. There, we found beautiful art, traditional crafts, intricately carved totem poles, and yes, doors worthy of a Thursday Doors post.

Big House door in Fort Rupert.

I think this building was a school. 

A very different array of doors were waiting for us at the southern tip of the Island in Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. We have visited Victoria before and – being July – the main waterfront area was overrun by tourists. So, we decided to head in the opposite direction to see what we could find

Our first stop was Fisherman’s Wharf where we found a flotilla of color and whimsy. Although still touristy (but less crowded), Fisherman’s Wharf is an eclectic collection of shops and restaurants, and floating private residences. Although we were careful to respect the privacy of the people living there, who could resist admiring the brightly painted homes and, of course, taking door pictures? Not me.

Floating homes on Fisherman’s Wharf.
I love this color… sort of a pinky-red.
Lovely door… but the sign in the window (under the plant) caught my eye… beware!
Someone had some extra wood.
Wouldn’t this be a great door to come home to?
Aren’t these water taxis adorable? And, look! They have doors!
If you pass this sign, you’ve gone too far.

The rest of our walk included admiring the World’s Tallest Totem Pole (127 feet, 7 inches), discovering Mile ‘0’ of the Trans-Canada Highway (which spans the entire length of Canada – over 8,000 km), and visiting an old cemetery (which, I’ll admit, was the whole reason I suggested the walk in the first place). No doors, but indulge me in a few tourist pictures:

One very tall totem pole (that’s me at the base).
The beginning (or end, if you start in Newfoundland) of a very long highway.
I understand that cemeteries are not considered “must sees” for most tourists, but that just means they aren’t crowded… by the living, anyway.

And finally, I have to share this last door that we saw just around the corner from the Parliament Building.

It is a terribly boring door, I’ll admit… but look who works inside: The Conflict of Interest Commissioner! According to a Canadian government website, the “Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of the House of Commons responsible for helping appointed and elected officials prevent and avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests.” Imagine that! A government that believes so strongly that conflicts of interest should be avoided, they have created a dedicated office to help prevent them.

I think I just fell in love with Canada a little bit more.

* Thursday Doors is a weekly celebration of doors hosted by Norm Frampton (Norm 2.0). Head on over to see his beautiful collection of doors from Kingston, Ontario and to see what others have shared from around the world.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

96 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: Vancouver Island”

  1. Wow, your quirky doors do not disappoint this week. They are so very interesting, the painting and embelishements in first photo are quite eye catching. The plum door is my favorite I think but I had to look twice for the sign to which you referred…did you meet owner?

  2. Hi, Janis – I must confess that when I first saw the title of this post, I was afraid to read further. I have frequently complained about the lack of interesting doors near where I live. I have gone out looking many times (honest I have). Despite my best efforts, I usually ended up with very slim pickings. I was relieved that you had the same door hunting experience on the mid-island (misery loves company). I fully agree that Port Hardy and Victoria provide a completely different door-lovers experience. I’m also glad that you went to Fisherman’s Wharf. I LOVE it there!

    1. We both live in suburbia… not a hot spot for interesting doors, for sure. Older communities and areas where artists live seem to make for the best door hunting grounds. I couldn’t believe that I had visited Victoria twice before and never knew about Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a fun place to wander around.

  3. Such lovely doors, Janis! I think you hit the jackpot with these. I just love the Native American culture and art of the northwest coast on up through Alaska. That is one tall totem pole. I’m still waiting for Hans to carve me one for our backyard. I’m glad your trip was fun and it looks like you had beautiful weather!

  4. The Fisherman’s Wharf doors are great. I’d love to have an interesting front door but ours is very ordinary. I’m astonished to hear that cemeteries are not generally considered a tourist must-see. What’s wrong with people 😉?

    1. I read an article recently about people actually picnicking in cemeteries in the 19th century. I guess the garden-like atmosphere (aside from the tombstones 🙂 ) made them a lovely place to enjoy the outdoors. Odd to think about people doing this now.

      1. My mom’s father died when she was four years old. For years, when the weather was nice, she and her mother and brother went to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. Others were there, too, and the children played. Mom said as the hearse carried her mother’s coffin into the cemetery, the feeling washed over her that she was coming home.

  5. I love these doors! I haven’t been to Vancouver Island since 1980. I don’t remember doors, but I do remember many eclectic things to see.

  6. This was a fun post – from the artistry of the First Nations to the woodwork inset in the door panels. I love the totem pole and Fisherman’s Wharf. You hit pay-dirt!

    I did a double-take on the Conflict-of-Interest part of the title. I’ve heard it referred to as only the Ethics Commissioner but I guess BC is different. BC is always different 🙂

      1. Your post caused me to go and look up the official title in Ontario. It’s the Integrity Commissioner and the office was created in 1988. Now I’m impressed 🙂
        … now if only they could do something about the disaster we have in the Premier’s office 😕

  7. Oh, it’s definitely Norm’s fault! Before I discovered his challenge, I didn’t have hundreds of door photos in my collection. Now I take door photos everywhere I go!! Your collections this week is wonderful. Looks like you had a great trip and I love the Office of the Conflict of Interest. Sounds a bit Harry-Potterish. 🙂


    1. Not only am I obsessed with finding interesting doors, I’ve recruited my husband to be on the lookout too. I would love to have the kind of house that a red door would look good on. I’m afraid it would look out of place on our current home.

  8. You’ve proven the best things are found off the beaten track. Love the color explosion at the Fishermans Wharf and the Kwakiuti First Nation inspired artistry above that. Was lovely to see your smiling face (online) at the Canadian Blogger Fete. Wish I could have joined in the fun

    1. We try to avoid the more touristy locations – too crowded and frankly, often less interesting. I like to see the real neighborhoods and hike in places we find quiet, not chaos. You would have made an excellent addition to the group!

  9. I so enjoyed this post and the unique tour you provided. I visited this area almost 25 years ago with 3 children under the age of 13 so had to see it from a different perspective. Seeing it from your perspective is great!

    1. Although we don’t have kids, I imagine traveling with them vs. as adults only is a very different experience. Although there may still be some whining (usually me because I’m hungry 🙂 ), we can probably go further and stay out later… all bonuses as far as I’m concerned.

  10. I’ve been to Vancouver a number of times over the years but I have yet to get over to the island. This post reminds me that I want to change that soon.
    I think it’s kind of cool that folks all over the world are looking for doors to photograph while on vacation. In fact not only will I happily take the blame for that, I’ll admit that it truly warms my heart 😀
    As for your doors, I gotta pick the one with the porthole in it as my fave. And yes I agree, the ethics commissioner needs a nicer door.

    1. You have a lot to be proud of, Norm! I love the one with the porthole too… it fits in so well with the overall nautical theme of Fisherman’s Wharf. I wonder if we all took up a collection to replace that commissioner’s sad door, would it be considered a conflict of interest for him to except the donation? 🙂

  11. I love those doors at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. We walked around there as well, last October – cute and colorful – and I have the same funny photo of the sign entering the ocean. 🙂 I’m so glad you managed to get to the other extreme side of the island as well. It’s a lot of driving, but we enjoyed visiting the northern towns.

    1. I was surprised at how big Vancouver Island was! And, since they don’t have a bunch of highways crisscrossing it (a good thing, in my book) it can take a good amount of time to get from Point A to Point B… but what a beautiful drive! I thought that sign was pretty funny (I wonder if anyone has ignored it and fallen in?).

  12. I have to show your post to my husband, Janis. A couple of months ago we were setting up a Sunday date, lunch plus explore. I told him I had heard about this “Thursday Doors” thing. This time he did roll his eyes at me. He said there would not by any interesting doors to photograph in Victoria. I can now give him a big “I TOLD YOU SO!”

    The First Nation’s art work is interesting, colourful and very beautiful. Fisherman’s Wharf is always a fun place to explore. Funny on the beware sign. Did you end up going on the water taxis? I don’t know whether you heard they do a Harbour Ferry water ballet on a regular basis. Little did you know Victoria could be this exciting;) Thank you for sharing!

    1. I really liked the quirky doors we found at Fisherman’s Wharf, but there were a lot of pretty doors attached to the Victorian homes we saw all over. I bet during the Christmas holidays, when they are decorated with wreaths, etc., they’d be even more beautiful. We didn’t ride on a water taxi but we did walk over that gorgeous (and, I understand VERY expensive) new bridge. Victoria is lovely, you are lucky to call it home.

      1. We would have loved to spend more time with you and Paul and shown you more sites, Janis. Just the way timing went this Summer. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Summer:)

  13. Janis, keep on taking photos of doors. When we visited Ireland, we were so infatuated with the store facades. The doors and facades make it more interesting. I think Charleston and the rows of pastel colored houses. Keith

  14. Hi Janis! I’m so glad to see the awesome photo you took with the First Nation artwork. Both Thom and I just love it and the only souvenir we bought on our trip was a beautiful bowl with a similar look. And good for you for getting away from the crowds and finding interesting neighborhoods (with doors) to wander through. We had such a great time there on the island and enjoyed the cool temps too. A really wonderful place to visit. ~Kathy

    1. I love the artwork of the First Nation! Even though its history goes back quite a bit, the style also looks modern and streamlined to me. Very graphic. Vancouver Island was a delight and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to explore it more.

  15. Hi Janis – I love all the colors in this post – in fact it is just as colorful with your scenery, the totem pole and your featured doors, as when you were in Mexico; even the mailboxes are bright colors. This is a beautiful area – Vancouver and Victoria are on my bucket list for travel after retirement – I’d be going back to my roots as I am Canadian, but I think you knew that already. I’ve lived here since 1966, but am still a Canadian citizen. You have captured some beautiful doors, but the one to me that would be the most interesting to come home to looked like a porthole glass.

    1. Yes, I remember that you are a Canadian citizen… lucky you! Next time, I hope we have the opportunity to get to the city of Vancouver; I’ve heard such great things about it. I love the porthole door best too!

      1. I know Canada has so many beautiful places to visit and I’ve never been out of my native Ontario. A friend of the family moved his antiques shop to Victoria in the early 90s and sent pictures of Butchart Gardens and other beautiful sights. He missed family so moved back to Guelph, Ontario again. Another family friend moved to Calgary and sent stunning shots of that venue. With international travel being scary (in my opinion) I’d like to able to see some of Canada later when I’m retired. That was an incredible door and the totem pole were so colorful and you looked so small next to it.

  16. Hi Janis, firstly, sorry that it’s been a while since I visited your blog, not intentional I have to say! Loved these doors and reminded me to take a visit over to Norms Thursday doors myself. Some really interesting photo’s there. That totem pole!!! Wow! The first photo of the barn door in Fort Rupert was my favourite I think, but I also loved the extra wood on the already wooden door, a great idea. I absolutely love Canada, but have only been in Winter snowboarding, would love to go for a tour in Summer, I bet it’s so beautiful 🙂

    1. I remember your posts about your winter snowboarding in Canada… I have to say, I prefer summers 🙂 I was amazed at how tall the totem pole is. It’s hard to get a sense of its height unless there is a object (in this case me) next to it for comparison. It would have been interesting to see them erect it in place. I’m glad you are back visiting my blog… I missed you 🙂

  17. We had a chance to visit Vancouver a few years ago and wanted to visit Vancouver Island too but simply run out of time. Your photos are really beautiful and I enjoyed every single one of them, thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    1. Thank you for visiting and your comment! I just visited your site and read your post about Vancouver. Your experience, and obvious affection for the city, has prompted me to add Vancouver to our travel list. Vancouver Island and Victoria were lovely, but the city of Vancouver looks so vibrant and engaging.

      1. There’s a reason why Vancouver is one of the most livable cities in the world – from magical forests to colourful sunsets – finding beauty in this place is super easy and the more time you spend exploring it the more you fall under it’s charm! Happy venturing my friend 😊

  18. The color combinations are really attractive and cheery! What a wonderful trip. And I like to visit cemeteries when I travel. 🙂

  19. You found some really beautiful doors to photograph! I would love to visit BC again and go to Vancouver Island this time. I think we need a Conflicts of Interest Commissioner here in the US! 🙂

  20. Janis, my niece manages a restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. I’m glad you discovered that part of the city. As for totem poles, I used to work with several First Nations in northern B.C., and had the opportunity to attend a traditional pole raising. They do it with ropes.


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