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The CPR Steamship Terminal on Belleville Street


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#61 KAS

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 08:47 PM

The second floor of the Terminal is the Robert Bateman gallery.  I was there this fall, and it's a lovely space - complete with views out to the harbour from the windows.  

 

I agree that the Maritime Museum needs a reno.  But, why does it need to exchange one heritage building for another?  I can't imagine that there is any cost savings to upgrading an old building over building fresh, regardless of the interest in public investment - but I'm just a layman in these matters.    But why do heritage building have to be reserved for overtly heritage-related uses?  I find it much more interesting to see how already-built spaces evolve within a city.  

 

I agree with Mike K re: the demise of tourism in Victoria.  If tourism is solely based on kitschy attractions that have nothing to do with the actual culture of the area, then sure, it's fading.  But then, following my first visit here 25 years ago, I didn't then choose to live in Victoria based on the existence of Miniature World and the Undersea Gardens. 


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#62 Old Esquimalt

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:39 AM

I realize the money and the political attention is now focused on Victoria as a retirement community obviously, for the upcoming wave of retiring boomers, but tourism is still pretty vital to downtown, at least to the merchants who make up the tenants downtown. Everything is connected to everything else economically at some point isn't it?  The economic activity generated through tourism benefits everyone; not least because it publicizes the city to folks who may want to move here and buy one of those condos. 

 

As a Victoria native it seems to me that very little has been done to build on our strengths as a tourist destination and we are not talking about updated versions of Miniature World and the Undersea Gardens.   Look at something as basic as Thunderbird Park: dilapidated, poor signage or none; it's actually worse than it was 40 years ago.   Or take Mile 0; a shabby little wooden sign without even a map of the Trans-Canada Highway, and yet tourists stop there by the thousands for photos every year.  Is that the best we can do?  Or the Pavilion rotting away on top of Beacon Hill?  Wouldn't it make a good interpretative center or viewpoint? 

 

Yes, we Victorians feel we lost nothing when we lost Fable Cottage, and not much more when the Olde Englande Inn went, but maybe we shouldn't sneer if enough tourists enjoyed visiting those places?  Fact is, we don't have much else!  Every modern city maintains a core of attractions, public, private and joint, and a city with a significant tourist industry like Victoria should be doing better than average.  Compare us to cities in Europe; it's embarrassing frankly.  The Princess Marguerite used to bring in over $6M a year in tax revenue from tourists, for a subsidy cost of less than $2M a year.  Most countries in the world consider that good business sense.  (I'm no NDPer and I had no connection to the vessel by the way)

 

The reason to put the Maritime Museum into the old Terminal was it would allow moorage next to the Museum and create something interesting and historic right on the waterfront.   When we travel most of us want to visit more than restaurants and shops.  The people that come here are no different.  The little things add up, in a good way, or in a bad way. 

 

Are we ever going to get a proper cruise ship terminal?    Maybe we ought to dig out some of that vast infill parking lot and create a couple more berths?   The industry the land was filled in for is long gone after all.


Edited by Old Esquimalt, 03 December 2013 - 12:41 AM.

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#63 jonny

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 09:09 AM

Victoria tourism seems to be dying gradually and it's not hard to see why. 

 

Overall I agree that we could do better, but you can always do better. Your perception of the "death" of tourism does not align with reality. A bit off topic, but below are some excerpts from a recent TC article on tourism http://www.timescolo...strong-1.715634

 

Victoria’s tourism industry is still riding the momentum of a strong summer season as visitor numbers are up through the end of October, versus last year, according to statistics compiled by Chemistry Consulting.

Average occupancy, daily room rate and revenue per available hotel room were all up significantly in October compared with the same month in 2012, and year to date. Increases were also seen in ferry traffic and passenger numbers at Victoria International Airport.

“This has nothing to do with the weather. It’s definitely a turn in the economy,” said Chemistry principal Frank Bourree. “This is a really good sign that, in October, we can post those kinds of gains. It’s pretty impressive."

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Average hotel occupancy was up 3.5 percentage points to 63.3 per cent in October compared with the same month in 2012. Year-to-date occupancy was up 2.9 points to 68.75 per cent. The daily room rate was up $10.55 last month to $119.86, and year-to-date it’s up $8.87 to $132.40.

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B.C. Ferries also saw increased traffic with vehicle numbers up 3.1 per cent in October compared with last year and up 0.29 per cent year to date. Passenger numbers were up 2.5 per cent in October and 0.22 per cent through the first 10 months of the year.

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Buoyed by Westjet’s new Encore service — with daily flights between Victoria and Vancouver that started in June and went to three times a day in October — there were 133,603 passengers through the airport’s gates in October. That’s up 1.8 per cent from October 2012, while year to date the airport has seen a 2.7 per cent increase to 1.305 million passengers.

 



#64 Mike K.

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:10 AM

Tourism is doing fine here. The only deaths related to tourism are the closing of financially unsustainable tourist attractions.

That being said the biggest obstacle to tourism is the cost of BC Ferries sailings from the mainland. That's keeping a lot of people from taking a quick jaunt to the Island. 10 years ago it wasn't such a financial strain as it is now.


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#65 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:05 AM

Look at something as basic as Thunderbird Park: dilapidated, poor signage or none; it's actually worse than it was 40 years ago.   Or take Mile 0; a shabby little wooden sign without even a map of the Trans-Canada Highway, and yet tourists stop there by the thousands for photos every year.  Is that the best we can do?  Or the Pavilion rotting away on top of Beacon Hill?  Wouldn't it make a good interpretative center or viewpoint? 

 

 

 

Yup, yup, yup.  Now I'm a little biased, but social media means these images are whipped all over the world.  In another thread somewhere I've championed the idea of a new Mile Zero sign and/or exhibit.  EVERYONE would want their picture taken in front of the big Canada map.

 

ah, here it is....

 

The existing sign, while quaint, and well-maintained, is very lacking in information (on the back side at foot-level there is a plaque that says Newfoundland 3486 miles or whatever, but no other explanation really). And you nearly have to step in the plants to get up-close.

I think it's a bit sad for such a historic marker. Consider that of all the photo-ops in this city (the harbour, The Empress, the legislature, the blue bridge) it has to be up near the top-10. It's also literally the cornerstone of Beacon Hill Park (it's at the corner, and made of stone - kind of the 1958 version of Langford housing river rock, predecessors to theTinto Rocks). 

My plan for the new sign would be a big Canada map, or big North America map, showing many city markers, and the length of the TCH. It would be situated at such an access level that anyone over 3' tall could point at their home-town, and their sister could point at Victoria, as their older brother takes a picture of them. 

 

 

 

Thread:   http://vibrantvictor...ject-2012-2014/


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#66 aastra

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:34 PM

It's another one of those things that Victorians take for granted. Doesn't every city have a mile zero?

 

 

Fact is, we don't have much else!



#67 LJ

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:34 PM

I never visited Miniature World or Undersea Gardens and don't feel saddened that I won't be able to see them now.

 

The UG was an ugly tourist kitsch of the highest order.  

 

Like having merchants selling T-shirts and other junk on the Great Wall of China, I went there to see the wall not a flea market.

 

I love the inner harbor for what it is, it is it's own attraction, I don't think you have to go there to see something else.


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#68 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:57 PM

Sooooooooo, is the Steamship Grille open?  Or are they really gonna do their grand opening party on opening night.


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#69 tedward

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:30 AM

I never visited Miniature World or Undersea Gardens and don't feel saddened that I won't be able to see them now.

 

I believe Miniature World is operating just fine inside the Empress Hotel. Are you perhaps thinking of the long-gone wax museum?


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#70 LJ

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:41 PM

^Perhaps, I've never been to it either. :)


Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#71 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:58 PM

You really should go check out Miniature World. I promise you, if you have so much as a shred of inquisitive intelligence in you then you're going to enjoy it immensely. It's a bit uneven but the very detailed/elaborate exhibits in that place are legitimately fantastic.

 

If you enjoy any combination of the following:

 

models and miniatures,

cars,

toys,

trains,

airplanes,

cities,

travel,

war,

history,

photography

 

...and you haven't been there then you're missing out.


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#72 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:46 PM

Sooooooooo, is the Steamship Grille open?  Or are they really gonna do their grand opening party on opening night.

 

God damn it, they have not answered their phone all day.


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#73 Sparky

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:04 PM

^ Relax, they are just getting ready for the VIP opening. I will tell you all about it.

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#74 sdwright.vic

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:21 PM

God damn it, they have not answered their phone all day.


Wow! That came across a little needy.
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#75 Old Esquimalt

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:59 PM

Yup, yup, yup.  Now I'm a little biased, but social media means these images are whipped all over the world.  In another thread somewhere I've championed the idea of a new Mile Zero sign and/or exhibit.  EVERYONE would want their picture taken in front of the big Canada map.

 

ah, here it is....

 

 

 

Thread:   http://vibrantvictor...ject-2012-2014/

Kudos to  you VicHockeyFan; I'll post in that thread.  Now what about the pavilion on Beacon Hill, do we have a thread on that?



#76 Hotel Mike

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:34 PM

Okay, so Wahini Mike and I went to the Steamship Grill for dinner last night...no taphouse, because they won't have their liquor licence until next Tuesday. For the most part I really like what they have done with the building. It's now something for the people of Victoria to enjoy and to appreciate the heritage steamship building.

 

Some of the tables have benches for their seats, and I think the idea of to recreate the type of seating you may have had on a steamship coming to Victoria. They've made nice use of lights to give it a period feel without overdoing it. I had their scallop special and it was very tasty and nicely presented. Mrs. Mike had the mussels and enjoyed them.

 

When they get that big deck done on the harbour side of the building, I think this place will hit a home run.


Don't be so sure.:cool:

#77 Nparker

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 04:42 PM

Who knew that the new deck being installed outside the Steamship Terminal Building is just replacing what was once there...

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#78 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:32 AM

Heeeeyyy.

 

I was just thinking.  The City owns this place now, right?  And the Harbour Authority is a long-term tenant, who in turn sublets space to the commercial operations, right?

 

Is there any good reason the City ought to keep this thing?  ie. do they need to be in the commercial real estate industry?  

 

They don't do much of a job with their commercial tenants in the conference centre, or in Centennial Square, or in the Johnson St. parkade frontage.  Quick, name the name of a business in any of those places the city runs.... In short, I think they are a lousy commercial landlord.  

 

Why don't we sell this to someone just for some cash.

 

Having said all that, maybe the province owns it now?


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#79 Hotel Mike

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:46 AM

Good question. Who does own the Steamship building now?


Don't be so sure.:cool:

#80 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:00 AM

Now I'm just starting to think it's part of the whole Belleville Terminal.  So the province has always owned it, but it went from PCC control to ... transport ministry?


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