Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just some history on local landmarks and streets...

I don't know if this is of interest to anyone, but I don't think you have to live here to find this interesting for historical reasons...
Squares & Alleys

Bastion Square
Part of historic Olde Towne, the Court House (designed by architect H.O.Tiedeman) was the first concrete building in Victoria. Built in 1889, it now houses the Maritime Museum. The Law Chambers, designed by F.M.Rattenbury, was built at the turn of the century. Burnes House, originally a hotel in 1882, then a brothel and later a warehouse, was restored in 1967. Strousse Warehouse was built in 1885 as a supply centre for gold miners. The Board of Trade building was built in 1892 by A.M. Muir.

Centennial Square
Built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation (in 1962). It includes: City Hall, the McPherson Playhouse, a senior citizens activity centre, the Capital Regional District services. It also contains shops, a parkade, a fountain and a small knot garden.

Fan Tan Alley
Located in Chinatown, this alley is the narrowest commercial street in North America.

Market Square
Formerly part of Olde Towne Victoria, with three levels of unique shops and restaurants, the shopping area was renovated by Sam Bawlf in 1975.

Pioneer Square
On Quadra Street between Meares and Rockland (north of Christ Church Cathedral), the second cemetery in Victoria was in use between 1858 to 1873. Many distinguished pioneers were (and still are) buried here.

Trounce Alley
Just north of View Street, off Government, are authentic gas lights more than 125 years old. The alley was named after Victoria pioneer Thomas Trounce. W&J Wilson Clothiers has been at its present location since 1862 (the same year Victoria was incorporated as a city).

Street Names
A great number of Victoria street names have their roots firmly planted in history. Here are a few explanations to make the city's illustrious past spring to life:

Streets named after warships: Cormorant, Fisgard, Herald, Chatham, Discovery, and Pembroke. H.M.S. Pandora was Queen Victoria's survey vessel, which plied the waters around Vancouver Island.
The original big, sprawling farms: Hillside, Cloverdale, Fernwood, Deans and Uplands, gave their names to streets, too.
Cook Street was named after the explorer and navigator Captain James Cook, who first explored the waters on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in 1778.
Douglas Street was named after the Hudson Bay Company's first Chief Factor, Captain James Douglas, who was the founder of Fort Victoria and, later, the second Governor of the Crown Colony of British Columbia.
Fort Street took its name from the Hudson Bay Company's fort, Fort Victoria.
Foul Bay was named after the term sailors used to describe a snagged anchor. Due to the rocky bottom of the bay, many ships lost their anchors here.
Gonzales Avenue, Hill and Observatory take their titles from the Spanish explorer.
Government Street was named after the Colonial administrative offices located at Fort Victoria.
Johnson Street was so called either after the Commander Charles Johnson, the Captain of H.M.S. Driver, or after Dr. George Johnstone of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Quadra Street was named after Juan Francisca de la Bodega y Quadra who, as Viceroy of Mexico, met with Captain George Vancouver to restore to the British lands taken by the Spaniards in 1798.
Tolmie commemorates Dr. William F.Tolmie, one of Victoria's pioneer greats.
Vancouver Street was named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored this coast in 1792 aboard H.M.S. Discovery.
Yates Street was named after James Yates, an independent trader and member of the first legislative council on Vancouver Island.


Anonymous said...

Some more info interesting information on James Douglas - in light of current interest in President Obamba. Governor of colonies of Vancouver Island and BC 1851 to 1864.

He was born in Guyana - to a mother who was half black - and therefore likely the first black head of a colony in North America. I will let other history buffs correct me with an earlier instance in another colony.

The first black governor in the US was PBS Pinchblack (according to Wikipedia) in 1872.