OLD NEWS: This week in Saanich history – April 6-12

The News’ weekly historical feature looks at Saanich’s plan to erect a life-sized statue of the Queen on the municipal hall lawn

To mark the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, Saanich planned to erect a life-sized statue of the monarch on the front lawn of municipal hall.

Local sculptor Nathan Scott was asked to make a model-sized version of the Queen first, which featured her sitting on a bench with one of her corgis on her lap, the other at her feet, and a handbag over her arm.

It was this week in 2002 that Saanich scrapped the idea, after Mayor Frank Leonard shared the plans with the Saanich News perhaps a little prematurely.

“Leonard says the ‘intent was to have a celebration to mark the occasion of the Queen’s and clearly we’re not fulfilling the purpose.’ Instead, the proposal was kicked around like a political football,” reads the article in the April 10, 2002 edition of the News.

Then-councillor Carol Pickup, chair of the Saanich Arts Advisory Committee, argued Saanich put the cart before the horse, since the committee hadn’t heard anything of the proposed public art piece, and council hadn’t approved anything. She said the estimated $15,000 cost of the project could be better spent, perhaps establishing a youth arts grant.

Coun. Nichola Wade, who was a member of the Saanich Special Events Committee, laughs when she thinks back to 2002. She says the statue was scrapped for an entirely different reason.

“When the (information) got to (the Lieutenant Governor’s office), we were advised it was never going to pass the approvals process because she had a handbag – the Queen never carries a handbag,” Wade says. “The other thing was because it was proposed for a bench there was the potential that folks could take less than respectful photographs of themselves doing stuff there. And you can understand that that would probably not be in keeping with the image that they have maintained over the years.”

The Victoria branch of the Monarchist League of Canada at the time was “very disappointed” that the issue became political, rather than one to honour the Queen’s 50 years on the throne.

“It was a creative opportunity for us to commemorate the Jubilee, but I don’t think Saanich is any less beautiful as a result of the fact we didn’t get the statue,” Wade says. “We found other ways to commemorate the Jubilee with grants to young people, which while it’s not a physical reminder (of the Queen’s visits to Saanich), it’s an investment in the folks who live here.”

editor@saanichnews.com

••••

In other news this week…

• 1994 – The province announces the acquisition and protection of land between Goldstream Park and the Saanich Peninsula, that will be known as Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The land had been under private ownership, but the province acquired it after a “number of intense months of negotiations,” said then-environment Minister Moe Sihota. Gowlland Tod Provincial Park spans 1,280 hectares on the east side of Finlayson Arm and the Saanich Inlet.

• 1996 – Felicita’s Pub at the University of Victoria gets the OK from Saanich council to serve liquor on an outdoor patio adjoining the pub. Two councillors didn’t support the proposal, arguing that an academic institution shouldn’t be “spending its resources” on expanding drinking opportunities on-campus, and that UVic doesn’t contribute to municipal taxation so on-campus business shouldn’t expand.

• 2000 – Former Saanich councillor (1987 to 1999) and butcher Ray Williams is found guilty under Canada’s Food and Drug Act for selling and labelling food at his shop in a false, misleading or deceptive manner. Among the charges are selling foreign beef labelled as Canadian beef, and not identifying items that had been previously frozen. In June 2000, he was given a $5,000 fine.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New programs and services aimed at helping the unhoused find shelter or housing in Victoria, and to take advantage of support services of various kinds, could be funded if a City of Victoria grant application is successful. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria seeks $3M to $4M in grant funds to enhance community services for unhoused population

Various supports, services for unhoused population part of broad-based funding application

A Victoria parks staffer turns compost made from organics collected in the parks. Piles of this steaming, nutrient-rich stuff will be handed out between April 12-18. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Victoria shovels free home-made compost out to gardeners

Ideal for prepping food gardens, the compost, mulch and wood chips will be at city parks for pick up

Victoria Police Department seized a replica firearm during an early morning call to the 100-block of Gorge Road East on April 11. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police seize replica firearm in early Sunday morning call

Officers called to temporary housing facility in 100-block of Gorge Road East

Road improvements in Sooke are nearing completion . (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
Sooke road work nears completion

Projects part of $5.7 million in improvements

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School South Campus Monday morning to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Students protest proposed cuts to SD61 music programs

Proposed $1.5-million cut would hit elementary and middle school programs

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read