Centennial Square Action Plan

Every great city has a dynamic public square where people gather for celebrations, play, or quiet contemplation.

Around the world, civic squares function as the heart of a city’s downtown. They provide something for everyone year round, including a place to gather for celebration, a place to sit and relax, play elements for people of all ages, and a unique attraction that makes it a destination for residents and visitors.

About the Project - Council Direction

Community input received through the development of the City's Downtown Public Realm Plan helped to identify Centennial Square as a priority public space for improvement.

The plan's key strategies to bring more vibrancy to Centennial Square include:

  • Increase ground-level commercial and cafe/restaurant space in the area
  • Facilitate temporary installations such as cafe kiosks or food trucks in the Square
  • Improve the Square's connections with Douglas Street
  • Incorporate play elements to make the space welcoming for children and families
  • Introduce new surface material to complement the existing heritage brick

Council has directed staff to develop a draft action plan to guide future programming and design improvements over the short (1-2 years) and medium term (2-5 years), with a long-term framework that identifies redevelopment options in the future.

Enhancements to Centennial Square identified through the draft Action Plan will be intended to energize the public square, provide support for major outdoor events and festivals and better connect the space to adjacent streets.

A stakeholder working group representing residents, community groups, businesses, arts and culture groups, festival users, and heritage is working with staff on key themes identified through public input and provide guidance for draft concepts for improvements and programming possibilities.

Community Input

In July 2018, more than 1,400 people shared their input and ideas through an online survey, emails and pop up events in Centennial Square.

Improvements to make the Square feel more welcoming and safe, family friendly, and a desire to see more year-round programming were some of the top themes identified by the community.

Upcoming Event - Wednesday, September 12

We need your input to help create the Square that reflects your ideas. Preliminary draft concepts and ideas for improvements to the Square based on input received to date will be shared at an upcoming open house event: 

What:    Centennial Square - Ideas Jam Open House
When:   Wednesday, September 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where:  Victoria City Hall, Antechamber

Drop by and discuss your thoughts and ideas about the preliminary ideas and concepts with the design team and stakeholder working group members.

The sketches and material shared at the open house will be the results of a workshop with the design team and stakeholder working group. The draft concepts and ideas boards are intended to be sketch-like illustrations of possible ideas and concepts. Your input and ideas will inform further improvements and updates to the draft concepts.

Please RSVP to engage@victoria.ca to let us know if you plan to attend the event.

Material shared during the open house will also be available here on the project webpage after the open house event, for citizens who wish to provide input online.

For more information about the event, email staff.

Next Steps and Project Timeline

Later this fall refined draft design concepts, programming recommendations and priorities will be shared with the community for further input to help inform a draft action plan.

A draft action plan for Centennial Square will be considered by Council in early 2019. Opportunities for public input to inform the draft action plan include:

  • Identifying key themes and big ideas (July 2018)
  • Review of workshop sketches and draft “big move ideas” (September 2018)
  • Draft concepts, programming recommendations and priorities (November 2018)
  • Draft Action Plan review (late 2018/early 2019)

History and Background

Centennial Square was constructed in the 1960s as part of a major initiative to preserve, restore and revive downtown Victoria, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Victoria. A major renovation to the south-west corner of the plaza was completed in 2009 adding the area known as Spirit Square.

Learn more about the creation of Centennial Square - A Townscape Rediscovered [YouTube]