Downtown Public Realm Plan

Project Update

Following the completion of the final stakeholder and public meetings the final Public Realm documents are now available here following them being presented and approved by City Council.

Final Downtown Public Realm Plan 2017.pdf [PDF - 16.1 MB]

Final City of Victoria WayfindingStrategy.pdf [PDF - 93.6 MB]

The City appreciates the public's valuable input and information, which has been considered in the preparation of the draft plans.  We hope you have a chance to review the plans prior to the final public information session and come prepared to help us consider the priorities for implementation of these plans once they are approved and finalized by City Council.

What is Visual Victoria?

Visual Victoria is a program that will refresh the overall look and feel of downtown, and will introduce an efficient system to help people find their way to key points in the city.

Victoria has one of the most vibrant, walkable, and recognizable downtowns in North America, and our public spaces play a significant role in promoting social interaction and a sense of community.

In any city, the best places to walk are ones that are full of pleasant surprises that make people excited to explore, and will encourage them to keep discovering. Comfortable places to sit, engaging public art, vibrant social spaces, creative playgrounds: these are rewards for exploring. When people anticipate such things, or when they find features that intrigue them, they embrace public spaces and bring them to life.

Your input to Visual Victoria will help develop a new Downtown Public Realm Plan and City-wide Wayfinding Strategy. The four step planning process is taking place over several months with an expected completion date of March 2017. 

The Process 

To view interim reports click here: VisualVictoriaPhase2Report.pdf [PDF - 5.8 MB]

  • Broad support for simplifying the palette of materials, furnishings and colours, with an elevated level of quality for the Downtown, to create a more cohesive and consistent look and feel while distinguishing key character precincts such as Chinatown, Old Town and the Inner Harbour.
  • General support for temporary interventions (such as Ship Point Pop Up, parklettes, moveable chairs and tables, etc.) to activate currently underutilized or underinvested spaces, but with concern over quality and appropriate choices made on a case by case basis to ensure any temporary streetscape treatments, such as at Yates and Douglas, do not detract from the quality of the surrounding streetscape and architecture.
  • Support to better connect the network of alleyways and midblock connections, through more permanent solutions such as signage, special pavers, and potentially paint.   
  • Strong support for working with the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations to incorporate First Nations Place Names into the signage system, along with other interpretative information and potentially art
  • Strong support for incorporating historical, cultural, ecological and other interpretative information into wayfinding Pylon Signs where feasible and appropriate.

Priority Public Realm improvement areas: around the City included:

  • Centennial Square: support for activating the square along the edges with commercial uses in existing – and potentially redeveloped – parkade framing the square, with mixed opinions about the use of food trucks for activation. Not much support for changing/removing water feature and fountain, leave and improve existing feature.
  • Douglas Street: Support for short term improvements to elevate quality of furnishings and materials and consider new street and pedestrian lights compatible with the scale of Douglas and to more uniquely identify Douglas as the city’s ceremonial and traditional retail high street. Over the long term general support to reconfigure Douglas to emphasize it as a highly urban and pedestrian oriented transit corridor.
  • Government Street: Support to extend pedestrian mall treatment to Pandora as a priority. Support to create a shared street or Woonerf (curb-less environment where different modes share the same space but where pedestrian space is demarcated with bollards and other physical design treatments).

Check out what was discussed in phase 2 below:

At this workshop, we explored some proposed directions for the plans, including:

  • Clarifying and updating the downtown character areas (e.g. Chinatown)
  • Updating the catalogue of street furniture, materials and colour schemes
  • Confirming wayfinding destinations, routes and sign styles

To view either the Public Realm or Wayfinding presentations click below:

To share ideas or to provide input on Visual Victoria, please feel free to send a message to You can also let us know on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #visualYYJ to send us photos or comments about how we can reimagine the spaces you use every day downtown.

See what we heard in the first phase and read the phase one findings here.

What is Wayfinding?

As more cities seek to encourage walking, biking, public transit, and other forms of transportation, the need for good signage to help find your way around the city becomes more apparent. At its simplest, wayfinding is knowing where you are, where you want to go, and the best route to get there.

Visual Victoria will help to provide clear visual language and graphic standards that can be universally understood, to efficiently and elegantly direct and assist people in navigating their way to key attractions, destinations, public parking, and other special places in Victoria.

What is Public Realm?

The public realm is simply public space.

Creating vibrant street life relies on certain physical qualities of these public spaces: sidewalks, city squares, streetlights, and even benches. Streets and public spaces are both a setting and an agent for social interactions that make a place interesting and engaging.