Exhibition Building at Willows Fairgrounds. Built in 1891, it was totally destroyed by fire in 1907. (Courtesy Oak Bay Archives)

Lost Victoria: Story of the Crystal Palace

Historian Stuart Stark launches book about iconic Oak Bay structure that was lost to flames

Historian and heritage consultant Stuart Stark launched his book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows with a reading Friday at the Oak Bay Library.

The book and launch are about celebrating the beauty and history of an iconic Oak Bay building that nobody alive today had the chance to experience.

Stark weaves historical tales of horse races and agricultural dreams to bring to life the story of the impressive Exhibition Building at Willows, known as the “Crystal Palace,” that was built in 1891 (in a heroic 65 days) and that tragically burned down in 1907. Stark shares that the great oak that stood at the gates to the exhibition grounds, still stands today in Oak Bay – a marker to what once was.

Hosted by Oak Bay Heritage, Oak Bay Archives, and the Greater Victoria Public Library, the book launch included a cake cutting that saw Mayor Nils Jensen and Stuart Stark cutting a replica of the book cover.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

 

Stuart Stark does a reading at his book launch at Oak Bay Library for his new book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark pointing out features of the exhibition building at his book launch at Oak Bay Library for his new book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mayor Nils Jensen taking a photo of Stark presenting one of his books to Caroline Duncan of the Oak Bay Archives as a thank you for all her assistance. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A cake to celebrate the book launch with a photo of the old exhibition building. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mayor Nils Jensen and Stuart Stark cut the cake. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

The old exhibition building. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark signing books. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark signing books. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Front gates to the Exhibition Building at Willows Fairgrounds. Built in 1891, it was totally destroyed by fire in 1907. (Courtesy Oak Bay Archives)

Just Posted

BREAKING: Protesters block access to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Motorists unable to access 7 a.m. sailing

Esquimalt explores creating portage beach for choppy Gorge waters

The portage beach would add safety to the Victoria Waterways Loop

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

Number of U-Hauls entering Victoria plummeted in 2019

Data compiled from two million one-way U-Haul transactions

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Itska back in owner’s arms after Island man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman reunited with lost dog Itska on Sunday

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read