City of Victoria turning clock back to 1862

Ceremonies, activities this week culminate Victoria’s 150th anniversary program

Pioneer Players members Sylvia Van Kirk

Pioneer Players members Sylvia Van Kirk

The City of Victoria is hosting its 150th birthday party tomorrow (Aug. 2) in Centennial Square by offering a window into its diverse history.

The celebration, happening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes a public ceremony kicked off by Mayor Dean Fortin, historical exhibits, music, refreshments, and period-dressed performers, who will transport visitors back to 1862.

“I think it’s a very significant day,” said Victoria 150 co-ordinator Alice Bacon. “It provides people with the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.”

Back in 1862, the city’s downtown was still a work in progress and Vancouver Island remained a British colony.

The grounds of Centennial Square have their own story. They housed dozens of Chinese market gardens 150 years ago, when entrepreneurial gardeners grew their own vegetables and went door-to-door selling their goods.

“A vegetable peddler with a bamboo pole was a very common sight in those days,” said John Adams, who hosts several historical walking tours of downtown Victoria.

At the time of incorporation, the land that is now Centennial Square was owned by Kwong Lee & Co., a Chinese merchant house that rivaled the Hudson’s Bay Company as far north in British Columbia as Barkerville.

“Centennial Square itself would have been mostly Chinese,” Adams said, adding the sparse wooden buildings would have made a much more quaint cityscape.

Victoria’s first mayor, Thomas Harris, was elected soon after incorporation by a show of hands.

The 300-pound butcher, who remained mayor until 1865, built a house at the corner of Government Street and Bastion Square, where the Irish Times pub currently stands.

In addition to Thursday’s celebration, organizers are hoping the B.C. Day holiday will bring out the crowds.

On Monday (Aug. 6) from noon until 9 p.m., enjoy an eclectic mix of live music and hands-on activities for children at St. Ann’s Academy and the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park.

“There’s something for everyone at both of these events,” Bacon said. “But the ideas are rooted in the importance of community living.”

For more information, visit victoria.ca and click on “Victoria 150” or head down to Centennial Square on Thursday.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Junior rowers with the Victoria City Rowing Club, (left to right) Teagan Zecher, Eryn Whale, Hui-Lin Shan, Willow Tzonev, Quinn Parfitt and Stella Graham, won the Rowing Canada Aviron Row to Tokyo challenge and are looking forward to getting back in the crew boats after the pandemic. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Young Greater Victoria rowers find community during solitary training sessions

Rowers train virtually, social distanced at Elk Lake amid COVID-19 restrictions

Victoria police are looking for Serene Cook after she was last seen in downtown Victoria on May 6. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: VicPD seeks high-risk Indigenous woman missing more than a week

Serene Cook, 38, last seen May 6 in downtown Victoria

The Greater Victoria Rent Bank has seen an overwhelming need for financial assistance by renters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Funding will allow Greater Victoria Rent Bank to operate until March 2022

More than $300,000 distributed to 200 renters in program’s first 10 weeks

Potatoes have two genetic centre of origins, one from the lowlands in Chile and the other from the highlands in Bolivia. The highlands potatoes flower and produce fruit profusely, which is where the seeds come from. They contribute to exciting and ecologically imporant genetic diversity of potatoes. (Submitted/Fiona Hamersley Chambers)
Metchosin farmer shares how to invent a new potato

Using seeds anyone can name their own variety

Kay Gallivan paints a mural on the east wall of North Park’s Tiny Home Village (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)
North Park Tiny Home Village opens at Royal Athletic Park lot to 30 unhoused

Residents will settle into new private units and the North Park community over the weekend

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Tagen Marshall of Parksville is looking to raise funds for a new specialized van. (Submitted photo)
Wolf: Parksville’s Tagen Marshall inspires others, aims to invest in himself

VIU honour student with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy seeks help achieving big dreams

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

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

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

Most Read