A picnic at Macaulay Point in August 1897.

ESQUIMALT HISTORY: For the love of picnics

Esquimalt offered several locations that became favourite spots for family picnics

By Greg Evans, Municipal archivist

Picnics have acquired a special place as a social event in many people’s lives.

From the outset, the concept of a picnic was that each person, especially adults, would bring food to be shared with the group. The notion of mutual sharing is still at the heart of these social gatherings.

Esquimalt offered several locations that became favourite spots for family, community and religious organizations’ picnics.

People from throughout the region would gather at Macaulay Point, Gorge Park or Saxe Point, each location having its own distinct qualities.

Macaulay Point offered gentle sea breezes, ships sailing to or from Victoria harbour and, on a clear day, the vista of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Saxe Point offered a somewhat unique experience as picnickers for a time shared the space with campers.

Before officially becoming a park in 1934, Saxe Point was a campground. After obtaining permission from the chief of police and town council, families could set up a tent for the summer.

Some people only moved a few blocks from their actual homes; but still it was the adventure of living outdoors. History shows that campers and picnickers returned year after year hoping to secure their favourite spot.

Gorge Park offered many diversions for the public. In addition to hectacres of beautiful grounds in which to picnic, the public could play games of chance, ride the carousel, test their marksmanship in the shooting gallery, have tea in the Japanese Tea House, roller skate in the skating rink, watch a regatta or take a cruise up and down the Gorge in a paddle-wheeler.

To top things off, in the summer, a nightly outdoor stage show and fireworks rounded off the day.

And as for the word picnic, it is believed to have its origins in the French word “picque – nique” and first appeared towards the end of the 17th century to describe the type of event that we know now.

Today, you’ll still find picnickers gathering in the same spots popular with those of 100 years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

International, Disney and Hallmark films set to be filmed in Victoria in 2019

Local and international production companies seeking out film locations in town

Toy Run organizer says motorcyclists unfairly targeted

Motorcycle toy drive returns Sept. 29 to Turkey Head

Saanich councillor wants the municipality to support opponents of Quebec’s secularism bill

Councillors will debate notice of motion from Coun. Zac de Vries on Aug. 12

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

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

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Most Read