Market Square gets a face lift

The roof on the square is being removed and the walkway at the Johnson Street entrance is being widened.

Crews work at dismantling the large timber shelter inside the courtyard of Market Square. The wood used in the structure had deteriorated and the structure could not be saved.

The Market Square on Johnson Street is receiving a facelift.

The roof on the square,located in Victoria’s Old Town, is being removed and the walkway that is visible from street level at the Johnson Street entrance is being widened.

“You’ll be able to see right through to Pandora,” said property manager Kim Harrat. “It’s nice to see the sun shining in the square.”

The exterior brick wall at the back of the square is also being lowered from roughly 12 feet to five feet. There are plans to add seating such as benches and specialty items.

“There’s going to be something built out of the timbers,” Harrat said.

The $1-million project has been in the works for several years and is expected to be complete at the end of June in time for the summer.

Harrat noted two spaces in the courtyard have already been leased since renovations began.

“The big thing was to improve the walkways. It’s so nice to be downtown and walk from Waddington Alley into our premise, looking at the shops, and going through to Dragon Alley,” she said. “Everyone can go right through to Capital Iron, basically by cutting through old town.”

There are more than 60 businesses in the square.

Moira Pittam, owner of Paboom, thinks the renovations will attract more locals and tourists to the area.

“It’ll be nice to see it all done and opened up and bright — a clean palette,” Pittam said. “It will bring more people into the square out of curiosity. A lot of people remember Market Square in its heyday. The renovations will be the impetus for them to come down.”

Market Square was originally built in the late 1800s and offered hotels, saloons, and shops for thousands of minders en route to the Klondike gold fields.

 

kendra.wong@vicnews.com