The west side of the 1300-block of Douglas Street, circa 1960. The intersection may have been a pedestrian scramble at the time. (City of Victoria Archives)

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

People are definitely scrambled following the announcment of a new X intersecton coming to Government and Wharf streets as part of the next phase of the bike lane network, but the concept isn’t new and not the strangest quirk in that block either.

An existing, albeit unmarked, scramble already stands at Government and View streets, and several readers have written in to describe a more established scramble that existed around the Eatons Centre –now The Bay Centre– in the late 1950s.

READ MORE: Hidden pedestrian scramble intersection already exists in Victoria

Multiple reports say a scramble crosswalk existed near the Eaton’s Centre, either at Douglas and Fort streets, or Douglas and Yates streets, though City officials have been unable to confirm which intersection it was.

The photo on the left show the Yates-Douglas intersection (west side) in 1960, versus the same intersection in 2017. It’s possible this intersection was a pedestrian scramble in the early 60’s (File contributed/ Victoria Archives, Google Maps)

City staff, however, can confirm that in the area there was a tunnel underneath Broad Street which connected the two Eaton’s buildings.

“There was an east/west tunnel for pedestrians that ran under the Broad Street right-of-way, part of the old Eaton’s development,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement, in an email. “When the Eaton’s site was redeveloped in the late 1980’s, the portion of Broad Street between View Street and Fort Street was closed to traffic, and consolidated into the development site bounded by Douglas, Fort, Government, and View (the current Bay Centre).”

ALSO READ: UVic Properties charts ambitious course for off-campus holdings on Broad Street

In the same neighbourhood is the Duck’s Building, at 1312 Broad Street, built by then MLA Simeon Duck in 1892. The building operated as a brothel in the early 1900s.

Around the same time, Douglas Street served as an artery of a trolley line that ran around the downtown core.

Douglas Street looking north in 1925. Tracks of a trolley line can be seen running north-south along Douglas Street. (City of Victoria Archives)

Know some more fun history facts about the downtown core? Send an email over to vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Victoria puppy dies after consuming poisonous mushrooms

A chocolate lab turned in to the Victoria Humane Society died Thursday morning

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombudsman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of fatal bus crash

Mobile palliative care team launches for downtown Victoria’s homeless population

UVic, Cool Aid, Victoria Hospice and Island Health team up for end-of-life care services

Cougar sighting reported near two Sooke schools

Sighting near Ecole Poirier Elementary and Journey Middle School

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Human case of West Nile virus reported on Vancouver Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

B.C. Liberal leader says private sector development will help housing affordability

Andrew Wilkenson spoke in Kelowna during a real estate conference

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

Most Read