This archival photo shows a regatta on the Gorge from around 1916

This archival photo shows a regatta on the Gorge from around 1916

Saanich history tour highlights the Gorge

The Gorge was once Victoria’s playground, a place where folks would converge to take in the regattas and vaudeville shows

The Gorge was once Victoria’s playground, a place where folks would converge to take in the regattas and vaudeville shows, to swim for the day or dance the night away.

From 1890 to 1930 it was a social hub of the city. Those days are long gone.

This year is a landmark year for Victoria and Esquimalt, with each celebrating their 150th and 100th anniversaries, respectively, and six years since Saanich celebrated its centennial anniversary.

The Gorge, the common border between the municipalities, has been the focus of a push from local community groups to get locals back out there swimming in the waterway again. It’s also been the focus of one historian’s research for the last 20 years.

“The Gorge’s history is probably the most colourful you’ll find anywhere in Victoria,” said Dennis Minaker, author and resident of the Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood. “It’s quite remarkable, actually.”

That colourful history spans from the early farmlands of the Craigflower area and all along the inlet, where the Royal Navy regularly hosted regatta events.

“It became the centre for outdoor recreation, and that included swimming, boating, picnicking, camping – and the centre for some of the grandest houses ever built in Victoria,” Minaker added.

Those houses, built along Gorge shorelines in all three municipalities in the latter part of the 19th century, have all but disappeared, as did the amusement park and Japanese tea gardens that once lined the waterway. But tales from the day remain and Minaker, author of The Gorge of Summers Gone, is just the guy to tell them.

Minaker hosts the annual Saanich Heritage Bus Tour & Tea on Sunday Sept. 16 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s tour highlights the Gorge Waterway, including a stop at the Naval & Maritime Museum at CFB Esquimalt and afternoon tea at the historic St. Paul’s Garrison Church. Tickets to the event, which sells out annually, went on sale today for $30 plus tax.

Register in person or by phone at any Saanich recreation centre or online at recreation.saanich.ca (course code 492204).

For information contact Saanich Archives at 250-475-1775 ext. 3477 or email archives@saanich.ca.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read