Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps (left) and former Victoria Mayor Gretchen Brewin plant a Garry Oak tree in the Mayor’s Grove in Beacon Hill Park. (File submitted/ Derek Ford)

City of Victoria celebrates first woman to serve as Mayor with tree planting ceremony

Gretchen Mann Brewin was first elected as the Mayor of Victoria in 1985

A new Garry Oak sits in the Mayor’s grove in Beacon Hill Park to honour the first woman to serve as the mayor of the City of Victoria.

Gretchen Mann Brewin was elected as a city councillor in Victoria in 1979, before being elected as mayor in two consecutive terms from 1985 until 1990, during which she played a key role in bringing the Commonwealth Games to Victoria.

Over the weekend Brewin and current Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps planted the Garry Oak tree amongst 34 others, including some planted by Winston Churchill (a Hawthorne Tree in 1929), The King Prajadhipok of Siam (an Oak in 1931) and Lord Robert Baden-Powell (an Oak in 1935), a British Army officer and the founder of Boy Scouts.

“It was lovely, a really beautiful day with a wonderful crowd,” Brewin said. “Garry Oaks are endangered, and they’re a really quirky kind of tree sometimes growing tall and sometimes really digging into the ground… not that I’m drawing any parallels to my own personality.”

ALSO READ: Oak Bay commemorates Hiroshima, Nagasaki with tree planting

After her role in municipal politics, Brewin transitioned to provincial politics, serving as an MLA for Victoria Beacon-Hill from 199-2001, during which she served as the first deputy speaker and speaker in the Legislative Assembly. She also served as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Social Development and Economic Security and as the Minister for Children and Families.

Now Brewin has retired in Vancouver, keeping herself busy with her dog, grandchildren, and extracurricular activities, including volunteering at a local soup kitchen.

ALSO READ: Victoria celebrates Tree Appreciation Day in Beacon Hill Park

“I’m a recovering politician, so I always keep my ear to the ground,” Brewin said, adding that she thinks the current Victoria council is doing a good job. “There’s a lot going on in the city that they’re improving.”

For Helps, it was an interesting opportunity to meet a leader in politics.

“Gretchen Brewin’s legacy is her tremendous record of service that includes blazing a trail for myself and many other women in leadership roles,” said Helps. “As we watch this Garry oak grow and flourish, it will provide a lasting demonstration of what time and perseverance can accomplish.”

Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Greater Victoria group helps low-income, at-risk seniors stay safe

Victoria chapter of 100+ Women Who Care donate $30,300 to Eldercare Foundation

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Researchers head out from Sidney to explore Canada’s largest underwater volcano

The Explorer Seamount is as large as Greater Vancouver and full of previously undiscovered species

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Wolves not gnawing into Island’s prey population

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

Most Read