The west side of the 1300-block of Douglas Street, circa 1960. The intersection may have been a pedestrian scramble at the time. (City of Victoria Archives)

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

People are definitely scrambled following the announcment of a new X intersecton coming to Government and Wharf streets as part of the next phase of the bike lane network, but the concept isn’t new and not the strangest quirk in that block either.

An existing, albeit unmarked, scramble already stands at Government and View streets, and several readers have written in to describe a more established scramble that existed around the Eatons Centre –now The Bay Centre– in the late 1950s.

READ MORE: Hidden pedestrian scramble intersection already exists in Victoria

Multiple reports say a scramble crosswalk existed near the Eaton’s Centre, either at Douglas and Fort streets, or Douglas and Yates streets, though City officials have been unable to confirm which intersection it was.

The photo on the left show the Yates-Douglas intersection (west side) in 1960, versus the same intersection in 2017. It’s possible this intersection was a pedestrian scramble in the early 60’s (File contributed/ Victoria Archives, Google Maps)

City staff, however, can confirm that in the area there was a tunnel underneath Broad Street which connected the two Eaton’s buildings.

“There was an east/west tunnel for pedestrians that ran under the Broad Street right-of-way, part of the old Eaton’s development,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement, in an email. “When the Eaton’s site was redeveloped in the late 1980’s, the portion of Broad Street between View Street and Fort Street was closed to traffic, and consolidated into the development site bounded by Douglas, Fort, Government, and View (the current Bay Centre).”

ALSO READ: UVic Properties charts ambitious course for off-campus holdings on Broad Street

In the same neighbourhood is the Duck’s Building, at 1312 Broad Street, built by then MLA Simeon Duck in 1892. The building operated as a brothel in the early 1900s.

Around the same time, Douglas Street served as an artery of a trolley line that ran around the downtown core.

Douglas Street looking north in 1925. Tracks of a trolley line can be seen running north-south along Douglas Street. (City of Victoria Archives)

Know some more fun history facts about the downtown core? Send an email over to vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

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

Just Posted

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Electrical issue causes heavy smoke to billow from Oak Bay Avenue coffee shop

Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded to smoke at Victoria café

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Most Read