Doors can be purposefully designed, fabricated and embellished to intimate many emotive reactions.  The gamut of intentional creation ranges from open invitation that expresses safety, comfort and fulfillment contained within or may be devised to intimidate, project dysphoria, harm and entrapment if you deign to enter.  Doors also seem to be haphazardly constructed and put into service.  It is clear that many shop owners give too little thought to, or don’t have the capital available to create interesting and inviting doors to their establishments.  Most successful shops clearly given a lot of consideration to their scheme to visually promote ingress.  Many shops in Victoria on the main streets near the water keep their doorways wide open even in winter to make sure that all are welcome to come in and browse, the ultimate, if not expensive, open door policy, even when the temperatures outside are 40 degrees F, and there is a sprinkling rain afoot.

The areas around the current city of Victoria were populated by several communities of Coast Salish peoples, when early explorers began arriving in the late 1700s.  Development of the city began in the mid 1800s.  It is interesting to note from a pharmaceutical perspective, that in the latter half of the 19th century, the Port of Victoria became one of North America’s largest importers of opium, serving the opium trade from Hong Kong and distribution into North America. Opium, the dried latex obtained from the seed capsules of the opium poppy, contains 12 percent of the analgesic morphine, which most readers have probably heard of.  Morphine, a powerful analgesic, can be processed chemically to produce heroin, a more powerful analgesic.  There are other chemical compounds contained in the latex that have had therapeutic uses over the years, but, for the purposes of this confab, opium did have a major impact on early Victoria.  Some of the doorways I will present later had their origins in the sale of opium and gave access to illegal opium dens within China Town.  Interesting that opium was legal but Opium dens were illegal.  Imagine that.  Of course the doors to each type of establishment were quite different.  Many were most likely open.  Many others were not, or were camouflaged or difficult to open.  The opium trade was banned in 1908, but the buildings where the opium trade was accomplished and the doors that service them still exist…

Credits to Wikipedia.org:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria,_British_Columbia#Early_history_(1770–1871) (Click twicer to access)

One of my favorite and most inviting doors. It is an open doorway into an open courtyard of little shops. The plantings inside include a small fountain which echoes notes of flowing water, imbues serenity and offers an additional enticement to wander in and explore the offerings.

The endless red carpet and series of open doors of one of the inner hallways of the Parliament Building send a strong message. Walk this way. The lighting adds to the ambiance, getting brighter down the hall as if further down is where it is happening and that is where you should go… which we did… An open invite in action.

This one is interesting. Previously a church, now a performance hall. It looks like the bannisters are a later addition added for safety. They don’t match the façade at all. The doors… hmmm… the doors just seem to say we are closed. Come back later. I’m nothing special now that I’m no longer a house of God.

Versus this one. Doors closed, much better selection of blue versus red. No cheap railing to assist ingress. The doors are closed, but you just might want to walk up and open one and walk in. It is a church after all…

Spectacular entrance door and so over the top with it’s Christmas “dress” on. The main door to the front of the Parliament Building. Actually it is seldom open. There are 2 small wooden doors to the right and left of the grand entrance that are easier to manage. The foreground is the stage setup for several choirs that sang during the annual Christmas Tree lighting

Three other doors to the Parliament Building. None of them open for security reasons, but during earlier times they were. Beautiful carved oak, leaded glass, classy…

Is this inviting to you? Dark interior, triangular portal, sandy veranda. Well… I climbed in, but that’s me. I grew up in Washington State and went to the beach every now and then. We went to a particular beach named “Driftwood Beach” South of Twin Harbors State Part, Ocean Shores and Westport. A magical place for a kid with endless pieces of driftwood to build forts. I went back there about 10 years ago and all the driftwood had been washed away. So it goes along the wild coast of Washington.

This domicile is located on the beach of Cadburo Gyro Park on Cadburo Bay, close to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

A wooden Teepee on a beach close to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island, one of the Discovery Islands. To small to crawl into, but interesting none the less…

First looking North then South from the same spot on a skinny alley in China Town, Victoria BC. All of the little shops were once shops that sold opium. It was legal to sell until 1908. The alleys were narrow, and some of the rooms above the ground floor shops housed opium dens. Camouflaged, heavy metal doors and labyrinthine passageways helped to slow down constables intent on shutting down the opium dens…

Some of doors facing off the part of the alley closest to the main street

Bard and Banker. Once a bank and now a sports pub. Loads of craft beers and flights of whiskey. We didn’t try the whiskeys but I had a nice craft IPA. Service was great, the fish and chips not so much…

Slightly intimidating, but it just states a casual “no”. Fairly easy to overcome so not seriously secure. It’s probably not hiding much to speak of.

We’re not sure if we want you to come in, but if you need some legal assistance, it might be OK.

A much better job at welcoming. Nice bright yellow door and security gate opened all the way.

Both signs say “we’re open” but the nice gate clearly states the opposite. Kai is not impressed and shows that his interest was elsewhere. So was ours…

Nothing more than an interesting take on a portal…

Not sure I want to know what is behind this…

And this was across the 6 foot wide alley:

Here is the alley

Another door in the same alley.

Further inside. Darker… older… abused… Tagged by different gangs. A boundary between worlds

Encased in concrete and steel. What awaits the questioning traveler beyond the threshold?

Perhaps the final portal you may ever confront…

The stylized curve of the white lintel

Graceful and embued with strength

The contrast of faded rose and the shadowed black door and welcoming the green of life

The glint of light underneath the door

Hints of the courtyard inside

An inner city oasis signaling a welcome into its sheltered domain…

One thought on “Portals…

  1. This is a-door-able. Some of these doors are quite enticing and I would like to swing them open to see what’s inside. Others I would definitely skip. I’ve even seen or been through a few of them!


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