Turn to face the strange

Change is something we must learn to accept

No one likes change.

However, many of those voices heard screaming “Don’t change the Empress,” probably haven’t stepped foot in it for years.

When the news broke that the iconic Bengal Lounge in the Empress Hotel would close in April, it took no time for social media to burn with fury over the apparent loss of heritage.

Last year, residents were upset when the weeping sequoia trees that framed the entrance of the hotel were taken down and ivy that had been growing on the face of the 108 year old hotel was removed.

But the reaction to the closure of the Bengal was visceral, including an online petition that begged readers not to allow the “historic landmark to sink to corporate greed.”

The $30-million renovations at the Empress began last year, inside, with some 250 rooms. They continue with upgrades to the dining room to include a new restaurant with a large bar and patio.

Yes, the loss of the Bengal Lounge is sad, but is it “corporate greed”? New owners Nate and Flora Bosa of Vancouver are the first BC residents to own the hotel in its history and have been quoted as calling the project “hobby-philanthropy” and a labour of love for the Victoria icon.

Like many Victoria residents, I will miss the unique surroundings of the Bengal Lounge but to accuse the owners of greed and destroying heritage is an unfair assessment. Just because something looks beautiful on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s healthy and viable on the inside – just ask the hundreds of mice that were living in the ivy.

David Bowie fans around the world were shocked by the entertainer’s death Jan. 10. While tributes poured in from around the world for Bowie, it was the man himself who gave his fans what he knew they would need – Bowie’s 28th album (Blackstar) entered the charts at #1 in more than 20 countries including Canada since its release Jan. 8. Also, according to Newsweek, the performer left a long list of unscheduled musical releases he planned before he died, assuring his place in the future of the ever-changing music scene.

 

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