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The More Victoria Changes, the More It Stays the Same...


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#21 G-Man

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 08:39 PM

^Good point!

Aastra this is great stuff! Were you holed up in the library all day?

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#22 aastra

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:23 AM

When I left I figured it was about 4:30pm but it was actually 6:00pm.

I wanted to find articles on the BC Permanent Loan Building and Orchard House and things like that. Not enough time.

#23 Holden West

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:59 PM

The Vancouver Sun, March 25, 1987

Letter to the editor:

Your editorial "Keep Victoria's Special Charm" (March 11) reminds me of one of the reasons for my leaving that city eight years ago. The watchdogs of Victoria's heritage have done a fine job over the years, and could teach Vancouver a lesson. But in this case Victorian eccentricity is standing in the way of its future.

The shopping malls there are commercial satellites draining the downtown core of business, as they are in so many North American cities. Victoria is unique in many ways, but not immune to this malaise. In my recent visits I've witnessed a main thoroughfare sliding into vacancy.

What you call the "charmingly eccentric wings of Eaton's" have long been stripped of their heritage value to the point where they resemble any Eaton's store in Canada. And the loss of Broad Street for one block is really only the loss of loading bays. No charm there.

Victoria will never become just another North American city. Heritage buildings abound there and the redevelopment of a decaying block can only help that which is truly worthy of being preserved.

In 1962, during the city's centennial, talk began about the need for a convention centre. Now, after 25 years of infighting and missed revenue, a centre is being built. Does downtown Victoria have to wait until 2012 to get back on the track?

IAN McCOY


Er. Yes.
"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

#24 Bernard

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 08:17 AM

I left Victoria in early 1989 for much the same sort of reasons as the letter above. I did not come back in 2004 because things had changed, as far as I could tell they had not.

#25 aastra

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:09 AM

The watchdogs of Victoria's heritage have done a fine job over the years, and could teach Vancouver a lesson.


My scorecard shows Vancouver in the lead by a fair margin.

Imagine what could have been done with the MEC building in Victoria:

BEFORE:

Picture from http://pricetags.wor...he-flack-block/

AFTER:

Picture from http://www.flickr.co...ers/3230158044/

Vancouver has Gastown, which compares very well to Victoria's old town, and Vancouver also still has the Dominion Building, the Marine Building, the Sun Tower and many others, whereas Victoria has lost many of its most significant commercial heritage buildings. And the bridge is on the chopping block.

But Victoria has stiff height restrictions.

Edit: I decided I was being over the top when I said Victoria has lost "most of its significant commercial heritage buildings" so I toned it down a bit.

#26 victorian fan

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:32 AM

sigh
This thread has made me feel old. I was married in the '60.

#27 aastra

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

Whatever happened to victorian fan?

Anyway, we all know Victoria has a housing crisis. The situation is just not sustainable. Oh, wait, this is from 1993:

Trouble in the Garden: Behind Victoria's Grand Facade Lies a Crisis in Affordable Housing
Vancouver Sun
May 1993

VICTORIA - CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?

There is certainly no sign of a housing crisis in Victoria's high-society Uplands neighborhood...

...all's quiet down on the waterfront in the James Bay district overlooking the inner harbor, where life hums along in a perpetual holiday mood and the classy, brick-faced Harbourside condo towers are all sold out save for a couple of suites for $320,000 and $580,000.

Yet across town, a block or two down from where the street kids hang out, Kaye Melliship, intense and intelligent, is fighting a lone and losing battle to generate more affordable housing and stave off what she perceives as the "serious housing crisis" that has Victoria in its grip.

...Melliship says she can't find any affordable housing for her waiting list of 1,060 families, 361 seniors and 154 disabled people...

"There is a vast need for affordable housing right now in Victoria. We know that 20,000 to 30,000 households are paying too much for their housing and could require some assistance to make ends meet," she says.

...she points out that Victoria is the most difficult city in Canada for people to get out of renting and buy their own place.

Only 7.5 per cent of renters in Victoria can afford to buy a house or condominium of their own compared with 20.5 per cent in Vancouver, 27 per cent in Toronto and 35 per cent in Montreal.

***

And we all know how Victoria has changed so much, it's just so much like Vancouver now. Oh, wait, this is from 1994:

Beware, Victoria, We're Getting a Vancouver Look
Times-Colonist
February 1994

Do you like to visit Vancouver occasionally to get that big city buzz - the tall buildings, massive capital-A Architecture, bastions of business and government?

Well - soon you will not have to make that tedious ferry trip any more. It appears that Vancouver is coming to Victoria. There are a number of large "Vancouver style" office buildings either under construction or in the planning stages that will dramatically change our downtown forever...

The green and white BCBC office building at 800 Johnson at Blanshard is elegant and modern (sometimes a difficult combination) and seems so in place that I already think of it as always having been there.

The new building by our architect city councillor at Quadra and Pandora is, while a little over ecclesiastical, certainly in scale and is pleasantly finished.

The latter-day Greek temple at Herald and Douglas has received popular acceptance even though the large mechanical box on the roof disturbs the simple formality of the design. The big-city glass curtain wall also relies on reflections for any architectural detail between ground floor and roof.

The Centra Gas building just completed alongside the Bay has shaped up quite nicely, although the brick insert at ground level seems a bit superfluous. Presumably it is designed to make the building more "Victoria" at street level. It may work.

So far, so good, but we better not drop our guard because there are at least as many buildings again in the works...

The major player in the next lot of buildings is the British Columbia Buildings Corporation (basically the government)...

BCBC's first major new building, the Jack Davis building, opposite Memorial Arena on Blanshard, is unmistakably "Vancouver." Unfortunately it is not a good example...

Fortunately, it is far enough from the downtown that its impact can be largely overlooked...

It is by Victoria standards a big building, so be prepared for the fact that their next building on "Y" lot (just northeast of the Crystal Garden) is proposed at three times this size . It is as high as the Chateau Victoria and the Executive House and vertical, with no relief on the north side facing the city. It is really big, not by Vancouver standards where it was designed, but by ours.

The residents of the Savoy to the northeast of the site are calling the proposal the "towers of darkness." They may not be far wrong...

The big question here is, do we really want to lose our image of what Victoria is to us for the sake of this large-scale "development?" When an influential group of citizens in Santa Fe (a tourist destination town of similar population) held back the forces of "progress" and brought about their low-rise, adobe-look design bylaws, it is fair to say the impact has been entirely positive. We could do more along these lines.

I've made this observation before: when Victorians look for examples and comparisons, they tend to look down, usually to cities that are half Victoria's size or smaller. It's really goofy.

***

The Titanic threat to Victoria
Globe and Mail
November, 1998

In a city blessed with natural splendours and the magnificent legacy of early colonists and settlers, it's troubling to consider what our current civic leaders are leaving to future generations...

...leaky condos, prison-motif apartment towers and shotgun strip malls...

...In recent months, the city council has approved a massive condo development at the approach to the harbour that will cast long shadows on a quaint neighbourhood of fishing boats and wood-frame Victorian homes. And it seems transfixed by a proposal for a vastly overbuilt hockey and entertainment arena in a city that has consistently failed to support its minor-league teams.

This gigantism is peculiar in a city whose message to the world is that small is beautiful, or at least comfortable. In this age, it seems redundant to have to tell people to remember the Titanic...

But perhaps just as threatening, the council seems intent on tinkering with the city's basic principles, trying to fix what isn't broken. This is part of a trend by some elected officials to squeeze every measure of tax revenue and economic stimulation out of every public asset. In this regard, the city seems to take its leadership from city manager Donald Roughley rather than second-term Mayor Robert Cross or the other eight councillors.



#28 gumgum

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:52 PM

I too wonder about Victoria Fan.

#29 Holden West

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:36 PM

Some good stuff in this thread. I would post those Davison cartoons but you've all memorized them by now. The same old tropes, catchphrases, stereotypes and battlecries.
"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

#30 jdsony

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:28 PM

I think it was probably fair to compare early Victoria to other cities like San Francisco, London, Vancouver etc. At that time Victoria was actually on the map. Many other cities across North America since then have had various industry booms, have grown much faster, and are more well known for being either more "culturally advanced", or offering much more opportunity.

What I find amazing is all over the country visitors flock to the old parts of town in almost any city they visit. I think it actually has less to do with a feeling of stepping back in time and more to do with it being dense, walk-able, and visually interesting. Despite The "burbs" keep building completely uncompelling shopping areas where everything is built according to a book of rules and codes. If a city like San-Francisco were built today you can bet most of the hills would have had their inclines reduced or stepped with cement blocks to keep everything level. I find myself intrigued by the imperfection in road planning, strange alleyways, and other oddities that you find in old cities. New cities try to be efficient but the efficiency we gain in speed we lose in thinking.


Thanks for the articles.

#31 Bingo

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:14 AM

Old Town...Uptown



#32 amor de cosmos

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:24 AM

we always hear from people that new building will annihilate the character of a neighbourhood, maybe they're right. not a single nail or picket of the original fort exists & the whole character of that neighbourhood is obviously totally different. just go down there & see for yourself :P


http://www.fortvicto....ca/gallery.php

#33 amor de cosmos

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 04:06 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if roads like mcneill ave & whatnot were originally dirt access roads along the bundaries of the farms in south oak bay. these maps focus on midland rd, but it's also possible to see the creation of uplands park when the municipality took over the project after the developer missed one too many tax payments (1944 & 1947 maps):


http://www.webturf.c...dland_way.shtml

this site has a bunch of street/place tutorials
http://www.webturf.c...istory/streets/

there's a jog in allenby st because originally it was on either side of the exhibition grounds & then later joined up:

http://www.webturf.c...y/allenby.shtml

#34 amor de cosmos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:47 AM

I can't find a map, but originally the southern terminus of the v&s was in the middle of what is now centennial square, right outside a market hall when cormorant st went all the way through:


http://www.bcarchive...122/d_05693.txt

later it was moved to where the parkade for the bay is. the northern terminus was on first between beacon & bevan (then called bazan), and continued to a big sawmill on the water a block north of there.


http://www.bcarchive..._74/c_06969.txt

and there was a spur that went onto a wharf at the end of beacon. in those days that was the main commercial centre of sidney, which is still true today.


http://www.bcarchive...113/c_03679.txt

did I say that there was a market hall where centennial square is now??? & now there's going to be one just around the corner in the hudson building.

#35 Bingo

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 09:56 AM

Here is the route from the terminus that follows what became an extension of Blanshard.

From an excellent book by Darryl Muralt "The Victoria and Sidney Railway 1892 - 1919"



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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:11 AM

I can't find a map, but originally the southern terminus of the v&s was in the middle of what is now centennial square, right outside a market hall when cormorant st went all the way through:



This picture is great.
The engine is sitting at what is now the corner of Broad and Pandora.
The building on the left is now part of Victoria city hall but in this picture it is the firehouse and the steeple on the right is of the FIRST WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH (built 1859) which sat where the CTV station is now.
There is a brass plaque on site for those who are interested in reading about it and seeing a photo.

#37 amor de cosmos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:31 AM

Here is the route from the terminus that follows what became an extension of Blanshard.

From an excellent book by Darryl Muralt "The Victoria and Sidney Railway 1892 - 1919"


yes! that's the map I couldn't find online. you can also see that the route of blanshard turned at queen's st to where it is now, to follow the old V&S route. in that map it goes in a straight line to bay st on the other side of the island farms place, but it's called dowler now. & nanaimo st didn't go through to hillside, that part was where the V&S depot was. I also notice what a barrier blanshard st is with the big median running down the middle of it. I think that goes a long way to explain why our east-west streets have no identity. it causes everything to be on one side of blanshard or the other, a situation not unlike one caused by the viaducts in vancouver, no doubt a relic of the highway-building era here. over time maybe it would be a good idea to remove parts of that median as the city grows outward to allow traffic to move east-west across blanshard again. they could start with putting a light at cormorant when the roth site is built out, or sooner, and another one at herald & north park, when the hudson is closer to being finished.

I can't find a map, but originally the southern terminus of the v&s was in the middle of what is now centennial square, right outside a market hall when cormorant st went all the way through:


http://www.bcarchive...122/d_05693.txt


This picture is great.
The engine is sitting at what is now the corner of Broad and Pandora.
The building on the left is now part of Victoria city hall but in this picture it is the firehouse and the steeple on the right is of the FIRST WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH (built 1859) which sat where the CTV station is now.
There is a brass plaque on site for those who are interested in reading about it and seeing a photo.


that looks more like the mason's building, so fisgard would be on the other side of the train. the V&S never would have gone all the way to pandora or else it would have crossed cormorant, which it didn't. so judging by the map, that market hall would have been just about where the fountain is now. you can also make out the steeple of the old iron church across douglas:


http://www.bcarchive..._68/a_02789.txt

#38 Bingo

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:24 PM

The engine is sitting at the corner of Fisgard and Douglas. The church is on the corner now occupied by the Hudson. (see the previous map) The building in the background is still there.




Courtesy of BC Archives
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#39 AllseeingEye

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:44 PM

yes! that's the map I couldn't find online. you can also see that the route of blanshard turned at queen's st to where it is now, to follow the old V&S route. in that map it goes in a straight line to bay st on the other side of the island farms place, but it's called dowler now. & nanaimo st didn't go through to hillside, that part was where the V&S depot was. I also notice what a barrier blanshard st is with the big median running down the middle of it. I think that goes a long way to explain why our east-west streets have no identity. it causes everything to be on one side of blanshard or the other, a situation not unlike one caused by the viaducts in vancouver, no doubt a relic of the highway-building era here. over time maybe it would be a good idea to remove parts of that median as the city grows outward to allow traffic to move east-west across blanshard again. they could start with putting a light at cormorant when the roth site is built out, or sooner, and another one at herald & north park, when the hudson is closer to being finished.



that looks more like the mason's building, so fisgard would be on the other side of the train. the V&S never would have gone all the way to pandora or else it would have crossed cormorant, which it didn't. so judging by the map, that market hall would have been just about where the fountain is now. you can also make out the steeple of the old iron church across douglas:


http://www.bcarchive..._68/a_02789.txt


Quite correct, that is not City Hall but rather Freemason's Hall which was originally built in 1878 and remodeled in 1909, the hall is currently home to 6 Lodges that are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. And I concur this is a great picture, never seen this one before.

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:53 PM

yes! that's the map I couldn't find online. you can also see that the route of blanshard turned at queen's st to where it is now, to follow the old V&S route. in that map it goes in a straight line to bay st on the other side of the island farms place, but it's called dowler now. & nanaimo st didn't go through to hillside, that part was where the V&S depot was. I also notice what a barrier blanshard st is with the big median running down the middle of it. I think that goes a long way to explain why our east-west streets have no identity. it causes everything to be on one side of blanshard or the other, a situation not unlike one caused by the viaducts in vancouver, no doubt a relic of the highway-building era here. over time maybe it would be a good idea to remove parts of that median as the city grows outward to allow traffic to move east-west across blanshard again. they could start with putting a light at cormorant when the roth site is built out, or sooner, and another one at herald & north park, when the hudson is closer to being finished.



that looks more like the mason's building, so fisgard would be on the other side of the train. the V&S never would have gone all the way to pandora or else it would have crossed cormorant, which it didn't. so judging by the map, that market hall would have been just about where the fountain is now. you can also make out the steeple of the old iron church across douglas


Good eye and you are 100% correct the building style of Masons and City hall are similar and confused me .
Thanks for the good detective work

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