Centennial Square Action Plan

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

The new Council has paused the Centennial Square Action Plan as it considers this and other ongoing City Initiatives as part of development of the 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan. Staff will be bringing a report to Council in the coming weeks to update them on the Action Plan process and seek direction on next steps. We will be providing a further update and information following this report to Council, anticipated to be May 2019.

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 Downtown Public Realm 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 for Centennial Square 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.

Community Input

Since July 2018, more than 1,400 people have shared their input and ideas through an online survey, emails, pop up events in Centennial Square and an “Ideas Jam” open house event.

A stakeholder working group representing residents, community groups, businesses, arts and culture groups, festival users, and heritage is also working with staff to provide guidance and input for the development of the draft Action Plan.

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.

Consultation with community stakeholders will continue through 2018.

Ideas Jam Workshop and Open House - Emerging Ideas

Emerging ideas for improvements to the Square were explored during an “Ideas Jam” in September. Staff and design professionals along with the stakeholder working group and members of the public explored preliminary design possibilities to improve the Square and achieve community desires identified through earlier community input.

Here are four of the 12 emerging ideas from the workshop (click the link below for a full summary of ideas):

Idea 1: Douglas Street Plaza area - Hard surface plaza and event space

Idea 2: Douglas Street Plaza - Lawn, seating and event space

Idea 3: Improved Connections and Accessible Grades

Idea 4: Refreshed Fountain and Central Plaza with Contemporary Seating

These are just a few of the emerging ideas. Check out the full workshop summary and all the emerging ideas [PDF - 2.5 MB]

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]