City of Victoria turning clock back to 1862

Ceremonies, activities this week culminate Victoria’s 150th anniversary program

Pioneer Players members Sylvia Van Kirk

The City of Victoria is hosting its 150th birthday party tomorrow (Aug. 2) in Centennial Square by offering a window into its diverse history.

The celebration, happening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes a public ceremony kicked off by Mayor Dean Fortin, historical exhibits, music, refreshments, and period-dressed performers, who will transport visitors back to 1862.

“I think it’s a very significant day,” said Victoria 150 co-ordinator Alice Bacon. “It provides people with the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.”

Back in 1862, the city’s downtown was still a work in progress and Vancouver Island remained a British colony.

The grounds of Centennial Square have their own story. They housed dozens of Chinese market gardens 150 years ago, when entrepreneurial gardeners grew their own vegetables and went door-to-door selling their goods.

“A vegetable peddler with a bamboo pole was a very common sight in those days,” said John Adams, who hosts several historical walking tours of downtown Victoria.

At the time of incorporation, the land that is now Centennial Square was owned by Kwong Lee & Co., a Chinese merchant house that rivaled the Hudson’s Bay Company as far north in British Columbia as Barkerville.

“Centennial Square itself would have been mostly Chinese,” Adams said, adding the sparse wooden buildings would have made a much more quaint cityscape.

Victoria’s first mayor, Thomas Harris, was elected soon after incorporation by a show of hands.

The 300-pound butcher, who remained mayor until 1865, built a house at the corner of Government Street and Bastion Square, where the Irish Times pub currently stands.

In addition to Thursday’s celebration, organizers are hoping the B.C. Day holiday will bring out the crowds.

On Monday (Aug. 6) from noon until 9 p.m., enjoy an eclectic mix of live music and hands-on activities for children at St. Ann’s Academy and the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park.

“There’s something for everyone at both of these events,” Bacon said. “But the ideas are rooted in the importance of community living.”

For more information, visit victoria.ca and click on “Victoria 150” or head down to Centennial Square on Thursday.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

Saanich police ask for public’s help locating missing high risk youth

The 12-year-old was last seen before school on Monday morning

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read