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Centennial Square


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#1 Nparker

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 11:11 PM

So in regards to the above. Am I alone in thinking this urban renewal project from the era of The Jetsonsis long overdue a major re-hab? Let's start with knocking down that ghastly parkade ("updated" with the 1980s pastel palette) then work our way over to the abominationthat passes as the addition to City Hall.

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#2 Holden West

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 11:48 PM

I would love to knock down that parkade but we're already gobbling up major surface parking at a healthy pace (Just in the last couple of years we've lost the Bambu and Falls lots and we'll soon be losing the Capitol 6 and Lund's Auction lots).

Before we start getting rid of parkades we need a new parking strategy. But that's a topic for another thread. :)

That Antonios restaurant has got to go. Same with those useless seedy hangouts under the Macpherson behind the Knot Garden. Oh, where to begin?!
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#3 Number Six

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:48 AM

Let's hope they don't wait until the bi-centennial. I'm not a fan of 60's design so let's hope Elroy will zap it so we can try again.

#4 stargazer

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:01 AM

I would love to see them improve that area (not hard to make it nicer!) I guess one should go to underground parking, which makes a lot of sense when you are downtown. It will be more expensive, but I see no problem with that.

I know the people in the suburbs will be shocked. But then, I have encoutered various suburbians complaining there is "no parking downtown"! At first this surprised me, but then, after quizzing them further, they mean no "FREE parking"...
I would say, if you want to park downtown, you better pay for it. You're not living here, we do. We don't want to see parkades and parking lots. They wouldn't like it in their neighbourhoods.

But we could have cheaper parking away from the downtown
core, so people can walk into town. It's better for their health, and for the atmosphere on the street and better for the shops! Maybe in doing so, we can make Victoria feel a bit more European.

#5 Doc Sage

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:03 AM

This urban park has lost it's appeal years ago (if it ever had some, that is).

I understand that the fountain had been modified to be less appealing to some frequent users (some where sleeping there regularly) but this may have chased away more than the few intented.

The building where Antonio resides, for yours truly, never fulfilled it's intended design. Wedge between the theatre and the city hall, all it's doing is sheilding the view of the park from Douglas/Pandora crossing. I think it should be removed all together.

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#6 G-Man

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:33 AM

There is not reason the city could not sell off the lot at a reduced rate so that they could ensure underground parking. If they put a nice 8 to 10 storey office building there with 4 levels of U/G parking it would work out about the same.

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#7 Holden West

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:37 AM

Hmm...public library, perhaps?

A map from 1947 showing the old street layout before construction of the square:

http://vihistory.ca/... ... n.1947.jpg

(vihistory.ca is a great site, especially for you map freaks!)
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#8 Nparker

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:17 AM

That map is cool Holden. Nearly 60 years old and look at how many businesses are still around (English Sweet Shop, Odeon Theatre, Dominion Hotel)

As for CS blow it up, knock it down or do whatever is needed to revamp this area.

I loathe above ground parking structures;I have never seen one that was not butt-ugly. They are second only to surface parking lots as blights on the urban landscape.

I think the idea of some sort of taller building (15+ stories - office/retail mix) on the current parkade space would enliven the square without having to lose it altogether. Make the new building tall and slim enough to allow for better access and views to Fisgard.

Underground parking is a must.

In theory Centennial Square is a good idea, but it needs to be more open to the street, especially on the Pandora and Fisgard sides. Lose that weird arcade structure attached to City Hall. The city can move into some of the office space in the new mix-use tower on Fisgard Street. A new Greater Victoria Library could also be part of this mix.

Once the square is more open and visable, it will become more user friendly and safer, especially if there is a reidential component involved.

If things got started on this project right away it might even be ready for Victoria's sesquicentennial in 2012.

I know - I'm a dreamer.

#9 stargazer

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:17 AM

The city could decide to put underground parking there, and make it fairly large (extend it under the square), and open up the square, i.e. turn it into a real town square. The idea of a library (combined with office space to offset the cost?) is great. That could seriously revitalise that area.

#10 Number Six

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:36 AM

I think I must be a map freak because I have this fire map I want to share with you :roll:

If you look closely you can just make out the original street layout below the new one (the map underneath is from 1957 and the one on top is 1967).



#11 aastra

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 12:00 PM

Wasn't the addition to city hall included in the recent list of modernist buildings that needed to be protected?

I would love to see the new wing of city hall demolished and replaced with something beautiful.

I'd also love to see the parkade and everything east to Douglas knocked down and replaced with a daringly modern main library/condo development. Condos along Fisgard would be a great bridge between Chinatown and the Bay/Well, and a landmark modern library would be...well, a landmark modern library. A new underground parkade similar to the one under the current main library would be essential.

I think a new library could be just the thing to save Centennial Square. It needs to be done right, of course. That means the architecture needs to be interesting/controversial enough to draw people to it just to see. "Bland is beautiful" just doesn't cut it anymore. We know it doesn't work. Also, I disagree about opening up the square. This is its main problem, in my opinion. It's much too open. The new entrance from the Chinatown side looks like a roadway, it's so wide. I'm surprised a tourist hasn't tried to drive into it yet. The new buildings would need to crowd the square, really pinch it and make it feel cozy and comfortable. And there'd need to be all sorts of terraces and ramps and levels in the square for people to sit on and read and all of that great stuff.

Retail on the ground floor along Douglas and Fisgard.

Colourful mural on the blank walls of the McPherson.

#12 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:37 PM

I don't have much love for Centennial Square. I'm downtown every day, but I never go to Centennial Square, probably because there's just no reason for me to go there. I'd be interested to see a survey of Victoria residents to find out how many actually went into Centennial Square in the past year.

#13 Baro

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:49 PM

I've never seen anyone but street people and punks in the square, and every corner smells heavily of smoke, pot, and urine.

The problem is there's no reason to go to the square. Nothing fronts onto the square. At best it's a lonely or uncomfortable shortcut, at worst, it's a failed waste of space.
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#14 gumgum

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:09 PM

Hopefully once there is a much higher population of residents around the square it might be used for what it's meant, but at the moment, it's just a big waste of space.
I just didn't get it when they decided to add the CRD space next to it. Why, why, why are we wasting this vital space and wasting our taxes by underutilizing our tax base?
Sure Cen. Square could be useful someday. Today it is a pointless black hole. Public spaces in larger, more dense cities, serve a vital role. not in underpopulated ones.
Sidenote: that transient zoen between the CRD and the Cen. Square is a favourite place for all walks of life to piss. I see it at all times of day, by many types of men.

#15 zoomer

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:30 PM

Sidenote: that transient zoen between the CRD and the Cen. Square is a favourite place for all walks of life to piss. I see it at all times of day, by many types of men.


umm...where you by any chance hanging around there on Saturday night at about 10:30 or so...drinking a Bullmax??

#16 gumgum

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:35 PM

^nope. Every single time I've witnessed it, (3 times) it was during daylight hours. I kid(B) you not.
Walking from gov and fisgard walking towards Cen. square, look right once you make to the "thoughway" section, between the two squares. There's a covered, cubby-hole area that's perfect for a drain.

#17 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:48 PM

Fact: gumgum watches men pee


:wink:

#18 gumgum

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:53 PM

I just c-c-can't help myself. :lol:

#19 zoomer

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:56 PM

^nope. Every single time I've witnessed it, (3 times) it was during daylight hours. I kid(B) you not.


:lol: good one!

I'm starting to think that even if there were public washrooms installed, people would still pee in the bushes. I don't mind people peeing in bushes, in doorways and sidewalks, alleys is just plain bad and gross. but that's another thread...

back on topic, I actually like the fountain in the middle! Not the rest though...get rid of the parkade, have a new library and remake the square. One thing Victoria squares are really lacking is beautiful tiles or brickwork or stonework as you tend to see more in Europe. I was hoping that when they did the work by the CRD it would be an improvement, but no it was a major disapointment. Perhaps Oxford can point us out some good examples.

#20 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 09:10 PM

One thing Victoria squares are really lacking is beautiful tiles or brickwork or stonework as you tend to see more in Europe. I was hoping that when they did the work by the CRD it would be an improvement, but no it was a major disapointment. Perhaps Oxford can point us out some good examples.


Victoria seems to have abandoned stone in favor of grey concrete.

Victoria has a long history of beautiful stonework, but I don't see it being used very often anymore, and when it is, it's often done poorly, like it was on the Astoria courtyard.

Selkirk and Shoal Point have some nice stonework though

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