Freeman Ken Hill Park officially opened

'Mr. Esquimalt' honoured

The man known as Mr. Esquimalt and Mr. Buccaneer was honoured Saturday with a new park that shares his name.

With tears in her eyes, Sandi Ferguson said her father Ken Hill, who died from cancer in 2006 at age 78, would have loved Freeman Ken Hill Park because it isn’t ostentatious, just as he wasn’t.

“He was not a selfish man,” said Ferguson, an Esquimalt resident.

Rather, the small wheelchair-accessible park, which offers a view overlooking HMC Dockyard where Hill worked as an electrician for 39 years, honours a man who tirelessly gave back to his community.

Hill was born and raised in Esquimalt, and was first elected to public office in 1969. He served as alderman for 16 years and eight years as mayor. He sat on the Capital Regional District board, the Victoria Senior Citizen’s Housing Society, the Provincial Capital Commission, and a long list of other boards and committees.

The park was made possible by the Township, Esquimalt Buccaneer Days committee, Esquimalt Garden Club, the Hill family and the Esquimalt Lions Club.

Hill was also instrumental in establishing the Westsong Walkway and the Esquimalt library and he breathed new life into the annual Buccaneer Days festival.

“He worked damn hard, but he would have appreciated being recognized,” said former Esquimalt mayor Darwin Robinson, who led the effort to have Hill honoured as Freeman, the township’s highest honour.

“He was a cornerstone of his community,” Robinson said.