Victoria 150 Countdown
We counted down 150 days to our anniversary of incorporation -- Thursday, August 2, 2012 -- with a daily historical fact about Victoria.
Historical Fact #1: Today marks the 150th anniversary of incorporation of the City of Victoria. Join us today at Centennial Square for a public ceremony at 11 a.m. followed by 150Forward, a celebration of our proud history and bright future. Happy150th Anniversary Victoria! It's time to cut the cake!
Historical Fact #2: 2012 is the 75th Anniversary of the United Way of Greater Victoria. "Community Chest”, “Red Feather”, “United Appeal”, and for the past four decades – “United Way” – these are the terms which have been used to describe the United Way of Greater Victoria since their inception in 1937. Over the past 75 years, they have been working hard to build a vibrant community. The history of the United Way movement in Victoria mirrors closely the history of our city itself, as a great many caring people and organizations have contributed to the modern, diverse and exciting community that we enjoy today. On BC Day (August 6) celebrate the City's 150th and the United Way of Greater Victoria's 75th anniversaries at the City United! Anniversary Celebration and Concert, an exciting, fun, interactive afternoon event at St. Ann's Academy and evening concert at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park, featuring Juno and Aboriginal Music award winners ‘Digging Roots' with special guests Jon and Roy.
Historical Fact #3: In February 1912, the British Columbia Forest Service was established following the Forest Reserves and Parks Act of 1911. The BC Forest Service celebrates 100 years in 2012, and celebrations in Victoria include a rendezvous of wooden BC Forest Service vessels in the Inner Harbour on the August long weekend. Be sure to visit their interactive display at the 150Forward Celebration on August 2 at Centennial Square.
Historical Fact #4: Victoria City Hall is the first and oldest surviving town hall in Western Canada, and is designated as a municipal heritage site and a National Historic Site of Canada. On August 2, as part of the City's 150th Anniversary, the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust will launch a beautiful publication dedicated to #1 Centennial Square, entitled “Test of Time: The Enduring Legacy of Victoria City Hall”.
Historical Fact #5: Emily Carr was the youngest of five daughters and was born in a house on Carr Street, a little dirt road in the suburb of James Bay in 1871. Her childhood memoirs are contained in two books, “The Book of Small” and “Growing Pains”.
Historical Fact #6: Waddington Alley, located between Lower Johnson and Yates Streets, was built in 1858 during the Gold Rush. It has retained much of its history through the building materials used, including the Douglas fir blocks with which it was paved, the metal curb that edges the sidewalk, and the clay bricks and granite in the buildings. Lower Johnson Street and its myriad of alleys and nooks contains a rich texture of detail that brings to life this area's exciting history. Throughout the month of August, artist Alison Bigg will demonstrate aspects of this history through “A History in Layers”, a photographic exhibit on display throughout Lower Johnson Street.
Historical Fact #7: The 2012 Summer Olympic Games begin today in London, England, with many local athletes competing. Over the years, many Victorians have competed in the Olympic Games. Victoria's very first Olympians competed in London, in 1908. James Foulkes and Robert “Bobby” Powell represented Canada in Men's Singles and Doubles Tennis at the 1908 Summer Games.
Historical Fact #8: Victoria abounds with tales of mysterious tunnels and underground passageways. Some waterfront tunnels are the remains of old streams, which were culverted to maximize the use of land around the former streambeds. One such stream that flows to the sea originates in the vicinity of Cook and Oxford Streets, and can be heard flowing underground near St. Ann's Academy. Recent efforts by groups such as the Bowker Creek Initiative aim to return these underground streams to the light and to improve the health of the creeks and watersheds. Many of these streams were used by First Nations for navigation and as early sources of potable water.
Historical Fact #9: The historic C.P.R. Alexander Cup was first presented in 1926 at a competition between the Canadian Pacific Railway Lawn Bowling Clubs of BC. This challenge trophy was last awarded in 1940. Join members of the Canadian Pacific Lawn Bowling Club today in celebrating the resurrection of this historic event. Drop by between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. for afternoon tea and cheer on the home team, who will be playing the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club at 720 Belleville Street.
Historical Fact #10: The City Hall clock was installed in 1891. In 2006, the City of Victoria restored the clock tower's exterior to its authentic appearance, earning an Award of Merit from the Hallmark Society in 2007. City Hall is designated as a national heritage site and its clock tower is a significant heritage landmark in the Old Town District. Before the mid-20th century, the majority of people did not own a watch. A tall clock tower was placed near a town's centre so that it could be seen by many.
Historical Fact #11: The statue of Captain George Vancouver on top of the main dome at the Legislature is made of copper and plated in gold.
Historical Fact #12: Master carver Tony Hunt has been commissioned by Lieutenant Governor Steven Point to create a replica totem on the grounds of Government House of a pole that he assisted his grandfather and renowned artist, Mungo Martin, in carving. The original pole was commissioned 50 years ago by the Royal Canadian Navy to be given to the Royal Navy. The totem stood for many years at the naval yard in Portsmouth, England, and remained there after the yard was closed. In the 1980s, the original pole collapsed, but was retrieved and stored in Esquimalt and now serves as the template for the new pole. Tony Hunt is carving with traditional tools made for him by Mungo Martin.
Historical Fact #13: The famously popular "Paint-In" on Moss Street celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year. The event began in 1987; in its first year, it was held on a cold autumn day and included 10 artists who spent the afternoon painting outdoors and then met inside the Art Gallery to show their work and warm their hands. Approximately 150 artists will participate in this year's event, with 35,000 people expected to attend on July 21.
Historical Fact #14: Pioneer Square is a small, rectangular park adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral. Known as the "old burying ground," it served as a cemetery from 1855 to 1873. A City park since 1908, Pioneer Square is home to close to 1,300 interments, marked by a number of heritage gravestones and bench tombs. Many fur traders, gold seekers and navy men are buried there.
Historical Fact #15: A clear water spring on a private lot behind Langham Court Theatre in Fairfield was once tapped by the Crystal Springs Soda Company, which bottled pop from their bottling works on Richardson Street in the early part of the last century. Other springs throughout the city included one in Fernwood (an area once referred to as Springridge), which supplied much of Victoria with its water at one time.
Historical Fact #16: Richard McBride (1870-1917) was the first Premier of BC who was born in the province, the youngest to assume office and the only BC Premier to be knighted. During the 12 years he held office at the Legislature in Victoria, he established the BC Forest Service and the first provincial parks.
Historical Fact #17: Hollywood actress Tallulah Bankhead was a regular visitor to Victoria in the 1950s and 60s. As a close personal friend of Dola Dunsmuir (daughter of James Dunsmuir), the two were known to carry on in an outrageous manner from their base at Hatley Castle (now Royal Roads University). Though Ms. Bankhead claimed to come to the area for the fresh air and sunlight, she was better known for her enjoyment of wild, lavish parties and general overindulgence.
Historical Fact #18: In the decade before the turn of the last century, Victoria was enjoying a heyday as a small but cosmopolitan city which boasted streetcar and telephone systems, electric lights and running water, a solid commercial district, manufacturing and canning industries, government, grand buildings and stately homes. The port of Victoria was the largest shipping port in British Columbia. By the turn of the century, however, Vancouver was starting to overtake Victoria, due in large part to the shift to rail transport.
Historical Fact #19: In March 1860, the "Société Française de Bienfaisance et Secours Mutuel de Victoria" and its French Hospital were established by Sosthènes Driard, Jules Rueff and Dr. N.M. Clerjon. The French Hospital eventually merged with the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital in October 1890.
Historical Fact #20: During the worst drought in the recorded history of Victoria, on this day in 1951, a much publicized rainmaker from Saskatchewan arrived with his apparatus to attempt to make it rain. Done partly as a publicity stunt and partly out of desperation to rescue the withering strawberry crops in Saanich fields, the cost of the "artificial precipitation" was borne by the British America Paint Co. and The Daily Colonist.
Historical Fact #21: A notice in the British Daily Colonist on this day in 1888 offered a $1,000 reward “…for such information as shall lead to apprehension and conviction of the persons concerned in the robbery of the British Columbia Express Company's Stage, on the Cariboo Road” on Saturday June 20, 1887.
Historical Fact #22: The Vancouver and Quadra Lodge A.F & A.M. #2 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, located on Fisgard Street, celebrates its 150th Anniversary this year. The Lodge was established in October of 1862.
Historical Fact #23: On this day in 1894, William “Billy” Barker died in Victoria. Bill Barker was born in England, came to BC from California in 1858, and became one of the most successful and well known of the province's gold prospectors. He was known to have a fortune in the hundreds of thousands, but was equally free with his money and died in Victoria's Old Men's Home a penniless man. The historic town of Barkerville was founded near his claim and bears his name. Barker was buried in an unmarked grave in "Potter's Field" at Ross Bay Cemetery. A brass plaque was placed at the site in 1962 after Barkerville became a famous Gold Rush historic site.
Historical Fact #24: The MV “Chinook” was launched in 1947 and was tagged the “Queen Elizabeth of the inland seas”. Built for $2.5 million, the Chinook was a car ferry that travelled between Victoria and Port Angeles and was noted for its comfort and elegance. It became part of BC Ferries' fleet in 1954 and was refitted and rebuilt as MV Chinook II and then as MV Sechelt Queen. It was retired from service in the 1970s.
Historical Fact #27: What is now Camosun College's Lansdowne Campus was once Victoria College, the precurser to the University of Victoria and the Victoria Normal School, which was established in 1915 to staff the schools of the province with qualified teachers.
Historical Fact #28: In 1906, the Victoria City Library moved from City Hall into a new structure on the corner of Yates and Blanshard Streets. The neo-Classical stone building, constructed for $53,000, was financed by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie and was controversial at the time as he was linked to the Homestead riots and anti-monarchy groups. When the library opened in the new Carnegie building, only the first floor was used. By 1910, that floor had become too small to serve the needs of Victoria's growing community. The reading room was moved to the second floor, followed by a games room opening on the same floor. Noise from the "gamesters" disrupted reading room users and the games were moved upstairs in 1913, where they remained for another 10 years.
Historical Fact #29: The BC Electric Railway Company's open observation car began service in Victoria on July 11, 1909. Three-hour trips around the rail system cost 50 cents. Victoria's last streetcar made its final trip on this day in 1948.
Historical Fact #32: Sir Winston Churchill visited Victoria in September 1929. He spent time in the archives looking at historical documents and maps, visited the drydock in Esquimalt, and planted a tree in Beacon Hill Park.
Historical Fact #33: The province of British Columbia joined the Dominion of Canada in July 1871, in accordance with the British North America Act of 1867. Happy Canada Day!
Historical Fact #34 - Victoria citizens have been attending the Saanich Fair for 145 years. In October 1879, they travelled by steamer and "wheeled vehicles" to the Saanich Agricultural Fairgrounds where they enjoyed displays of roots, fruit and grain, including two turnips weighing 40 lbs each, “creating much astonishment amongst those present, who had never before beheld turnips of such extraordinary dimensions,” according to the Daily British Colonist.
Historical Fact #35 - In 1936, Safeway bought the Piggly Wiggly chain of grocery stores, which in time resulted in Safeway being the longest established grocery chain on the Island. At the time, ads for groceries encouraged shoppers to “shop where your neighbour saves”. A package of bacon sold for 15 cents, two heads of California lettuce could be bought for nine cents, and beef sold for under 20 cents per pound.
Historical Fact #36: Thinking about possible ferry waits and traffic for the long weekend? Consider this: the 1960s saw many significant changes to traffic patterns and travel in Victoria and surrounding areas. The intersection at Hillside and Douglas was once a roundabout, which was removed and replaced with traffic lights in 1963. In 1968, Victoria implemented the one-way street system still in existence in much of downtown, and BC Ferries started offering regularly scheduled service between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen. The average load on the MV Sidney was 32 cars per sailing.
Historical Fact #37: Archaeology and anthropology can tell us much about history that is not written down. Excavation at Finlayson Point near Dallas Road revealed a deep wide trench and pallisade that indicates a fortified area for protection against invasion during conflict. Whalebone and stone clubs were found, likely used both for warfare and for hunting and fishing, and body armour and shoulder protection made from bone are believed to have been used as protection against attack. These artifacts likely date to an archaeological phase referred to as the Gulf of Georgia Period, approximately 1700 years ago.
Historical Fact #41: “The Crimson Paradise” was one of many films made in Victoria in the early part of the last century. Released in 1933 and filmed at Craigdarroch Castle, its launch at the Capitol Theatre was heralded with 20,000 advertising fliers dropped from an airplane. The film was a bomb and ran only three days.
Historical Fact #42: In 1882, Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, arrived here intending to stay several weeks. Her visit lasted three months and she was the talk of the town.
Historical Fact #48: North Park is one of the oldest residential neighbourhoods in Victoria with landmarks dating well back into the 19th century. Since those days, the neighbourhood's residents and businesses have played a significant role in the city's history.
Historical Fact #49: The Victoria Police Museum contains many interesting items and artifacts. The oldest police force west of the Great Lakes, VicPD has on display a collection of antique uniforms and weaponry, as well as century-old books of criminal charges and even mug shots.
Historical Fact #50: Livery stables in downtown Victoria in 1890 were so plentiful that artist Emily Carr wrote “the smell of horse manure was so much a part of every street that it sat on your nose as comfortably as a pair of spectacles.” Horses were the only practical form of transportation until the turn of the century, as the roads remained unpaved and were unsuitable for bicycles.
Historical Fact #55: The Royal Theatre opened in 1913. At the time, it was one of the grandest theatres on the West Coast. It became a movie house in 1946, and was taken over and restored to its original purpose by the McPherson Foundation in 1982.
Historical Fact #56: In 1884, following a dispute over a bill payment between Mayor Joseph Carey and a local law firm, the High Sheriff seized the assets of City Hall, including the corporate seal, the books, furnishings and horses, and ordered them sold at auction. Despite efforts by prominent ratepayers to return the goods after signing a bond, Carey stubbornly refused and instead rented furniture to furnish the hall. A civic election was held soon after, and R.P. Rithet was elected; upon which all seized property was returned to City Hall.
Historical Fact #62: The Maritime Museum of British Columbia is located in the 1899 courthouse building and features displays of Victoria's maritime history, including a working steamship engine, an Enfield machine gun, a heritage courtroom (designed by Francis Rattenbury), and one of the oldest functioning birdcage elevators on the continent. The museum also owns a vast array of archival photographs, and to celebrate Victoria's 150th anniversary, will be re-creating a different photo each week all summer long on downtown sidewalks, entitled "Chalk One Up for Maritime History!"
Historical Fact #63: On this day in history in 1863, the cornerstone was laid for the Congregation Emmanu-El, which today remains the oldest active synagogue in Canada.
Historical Fact #69: Miffin Gibbs was Victoria's first black City Councillor (elected in 1867), and Canada's first black politician. Gibbs was born in Philadelphia. He was well known for his role in the migration of African Americans from California to Vancouver Island in the 1850s, following encouragement by Governor James Douglas. He was involved in business and politics during his stay in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1901.
Historical Fact #70: Streets, lighting, municipal boundaries and building ordinances have long been the work of the City of Victoria. Within one year of incorporation, the City of Victoria awarded the first contract for street construction, forbid construction of wooden buildings over 18 feet high or more than one storey within town, moved the town boundary east to Douglas Street, and lit the business district with gas lights.
Historical Fact #75: The Victoria Day long weekend falls half way though the 150 countdown! What better time to get in the spirit of the anniversary season, as many activities get underway starting this weekend. The Victoria 150 CITYVibe is your free guide to the exciting line-up of summer festivals and arts, cultural and community-based events that mark the City's anniversary in 2012.
Historical Fact #76: In the 1860s, the Scottish Games, which were sponsored by the St. Andrew's and Caledonian Society, were so important to the life of early Victoria that a public holiday was declared for the day on which they were held. The modern day Highland Games are the continuation of these early celebrations; the Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival takes place May 19 and 20, 2012 at Topaz Park.
Historical Fact #77: Victoria has been called Canada's most walkable city. It is estimated that more than 10% of Victoria residents walk to work.
Historical Fact #78: Sir James Douglas described Victoria as a “perfect Eden” when the Hudson's Bay Company first arrived. More than 150 years later, many Victorians are devoted to preserving the natural beauty that remains through sustainable lifestyles and practices that include recycling, composting, supporting local food producers and conserving energy and water.
Historical Fact #82: Mungo Martin (1879-1962) was one of the most significant people responsible for the revival of Northwest Coast First Nations art, by bringing it to wide public attention during the last two decades of his life. Martin was a fisherman and Kwakiutl Chief from Fort Rupert who came to Victoria in 1952 in the role of Chief Carver for the BC Provincial Museum's totem pole restoration project. Martin built the Longhouse in Thunderbird Park on the museum site.
Historical Fact #83: Spencer Castle situated high atop Smith Hill near Topaz Avenue, was built for and by Henry Griffith, a wealthy English-born architect. It was completed in 1914 but sold to David Spencer of the iconic Spencer stores in 1918. It is currently part of a private condominium complex.
Historical Fact #84: The Gothic Revival style of architecture was Victoria's first recognizable style of construction, and was popular from the 1860s until the end of the 19th century. Many examples of it remain in heritage homes around the city. The most distinctive feature is the intricately carved "bargeboard" – the wide boards that define the rooflines of houses.
Historical Fact #91: Cliff House, once located at Clover Point, was known originally as Henley's Hotel. It was one of the oldest road houses in Western Canada. It was destroyed by fire in 1905.
Historical Fact #92: Architect Samuel Maclure helped popularize the “Poor Man's Tudor Revival” in Victoria -- Tudor-style homes which were likely popular with those who were homesick for the "old country". These homes contribute to Victoria's reputation as a "Little Bit of Old England".
Historical Fact #95: Many venerable businesses and organizations celebrate anniversaries in 2012. W&J Wilson Clothiers turns 150 this year, and Island Blue and Brown's the Florist both celebrate their 100th anniversary. The United Way of Greater Victoria is celebrating 75 years and the University of Victoria celebrates 50 years in its 2012-2013 school year.
Historical Fact #97: Marilyn Bell was the first swimmer to successfully cross the Straight of Juan de Fuca in 1956 at the age of 18. It was her second attempt after being pulled unconscious from the water eight kilometres from shore on her first try. On the second attempt, she started at Port Angeles and was greeted by a crowd of more than 30,000 people at a beach near Beacon Hill Park. A marker on Dallas Road commemorates this achievement. Marilyn Bell gave up distance swimming after this accomplishment, saying there was no greater goal to pursue.
Historical Fact #98: Richard B. Wilson, Mayor of Victoria from 1961 to 1965, was a third-generation Victorian and a prominent local businessman. As the grandson of the founder of W&J Wilson's clothing store, Wilson followed his family's entrepreneurial heritage and became the president of his own company, Wilson Motors Ltd.
Historical Fact #99: The Strathcona Hotel was the first cocktail lounge in British Columbia. E.J. Martin had built the hotel in 1912 intending to open it as the "Empress Block" office building, but plans changed midway through construction and it opened as the Strathcona Hotel in 1913. The words "Empress Block" can still be seen carved in stone on the front façade of the hotel.
Historical Fact #101: In the mid-1960s during a period of revitalization downtown and in Centennial Square, a new hotel named the Century Inn celebrated its grand opening across from City Hall. The 63-room hotel was decorated in an Arabian theme. Customers were greeted by employees dressed as genies, and waitresses dressed in Scheherazade (Persian queen) costumes served diners in the exotic Persian Room, the Oasis coffee shop, the Rubaiyat Room and Ali Baba's Cocktail Lounge. The street outside the hotel was modified to allow easy access by the driving public under a colourful canopy to experience “the magic carpet valet service".
Historical Fact #104: The Raging Grannies celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2012. The Raging Grannies were created in a James Bay living room in 1987 when a group of older women, anxious about possible nuclear threats, started a movement --- using street theatre and satirical song to get across their messages promoting peace and social justice. Today, there are more than 65 chapters of grannies across the continent.
Historical Fact #105: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited Victoria on this day in 1939. They sailed to Victoria on the Princess Marguerite, stayed at Government House and lunched at the Empress Hotel, where one of King George's famous speeches was broadcast around the Empire.
Historical Fact #106: Bastion Square was fashioned out of a run-down warehouse district, with the revitalized square opening in 1965 and the former Provincial Court House getting new life as the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.
Historical Fact #111: Prohibition came to BC in 1917. However, by 1921, the failures were so apparent -- a thriving black market, arbitrary enforcement and punishment, rampant corruption -- that alcohol was established as a commodity, subject to government regulation and taxation as it is today. The City of Victoria remained "dry" for several more decades.
Historical Fact #112: A 1910 fire, in what was known as the Arcade Block of Government Street, destroyed an entire city block from Fort Street to Trounce Alley, which resulted in the extension of View Street from Broad to Government Streets.
Historical Fact #117: Hannah Maynard became one of British Columbia's first professional photographers, an unusual profession for a woman at the time. Arriving in Victoria in 1862, Maynard opened the city's first portrait studio on Johnson Street, later moving to Pandora Avenue (now home to John's Place). She was responsible for photographing many of Victoria's early residents, from prominent businessmen to police mug shots. Hannah Maynard's photographs, however, are interesting for more than historical reasons. She experimented with every new photographic technique and developed a vision that was surreal and haunting.
Historical Fact #118: The McPherson Theatre was originally built as one of the "Pantages" chain of vaudeville houses which became famous all over North America.
Historical Fact #119: Fan Tan Alley is named for a popular gambling game of placing bets on the number of buttons tipped out of a cup. In 1910, there were a number of clubs where the game was (illegally) played and occasionally raided by police. At barely 1.5 metres (5 feet) wide, Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in Canada.
Historical Fact #120: In the spring of 1931, the Imperial Oil Causeway Garage was opened at 812 Wharf Street, now home to the Visitor's Information Centre and Milestones Restaurant. The art deco building featured a 24.4-metre (80-foot) high tower that was used as an illuminated aerodrome beacon to assist aviators to land in Victoria Harbour at night. The light was used until World War II when it was turned off.
Historical Fact #121: William Wallace Gibson, a James Bay resident in the early 20th Century, earned the nickname "The Bird Man" when he constructed and flew Western Canada's first aircraft. In September 1910, he took two flights in his aircraft "Twin Plane," both of which were brief and ended with rather heavy landings, but which ultimately launched him into aviation history.
Historical Fact #122: When it opened in 1925, the Crystal Garden was the largest indoor salt water swimming pool in the British Empire. Now a convention facility, the carpet includes lines to mark historic swimming lanes.
Historical Fact #123: The granite lions on the Gate of Harmonious Interest in Chinatown were a gift to the City of Victoria from the twin city of Suzhou, China.
Historical Fact #124: The bell in the City Hall clock tower weighs approximately 985 kilograms. No fooling!
Historical Fact #125: Emily Carr's monkey “Woo” is reputed to have gotten her name by the sound she made when excited: "Woo Woo Woo." Carr's beloved pet was the subject of many of her drawings and paintings.
Historical Fact #126: On this day in history, the Victoria Cougars beat the Montreal Canadians to win the Stanley Cup in 1925.
Historical Fact #127: Esther Hill, the first registered female architect in Canada, was also the first woman to serve on the City of Victoria's Town Planning Committee (1946 - 1952). Despite massive discrimination in a male dominated field, Hill carved a successful career for herself in Victoria, designing houses, apartment buildings and the first purpose-built care home, Glenwarren Lodge Private Hospital.
Historical Fact #128: On this day in history in 1935, Francis Rattenbury died. Rattenbury, architect of Victoria's Legislative Buildings, Empress Hotel and Crystal Gardens, was murdered by his chauffeur, whom his young wife had taken as a lover.
Historical Fact #129: Victoria's incorporation as a city pre-dates that of Canada as a nation by five years. For most of the nineteenth century, Victoria was the largest city in British Columbia and was foremost in trade and commerce.
Historical Fact #130: The statue of Robbie Burns and Mary Campbell was installed in Beacon Hill Park (where the putting green is now situated) by the William Wallace Society, but was stolen. It was missing for several days before it was found and reinstalled, and there it remains.
Historical Fact #131: Prior to the arrival of European navigators in the late 1700s, the Victoria area was home to the Lekwungen People. They had many settlements and food gathering sites from Sooke to Gordon Head, with the largest settlement at Cadboro Bay. When the Hudson's Bay Company settled in 1842, many families moved to the area now commonly known as Songhees, for trade.
Historical Fact #132: Victorians have long been passionate about daffodils. Daffodils were first planted in Beacon Hill Park in 1858. In 1887, Victoria artist Sophie Pemberton (1869 - 1959), debuted her painting "Daffodils" at the Royal Academy of Art in London where she received critical acclaim. The woman in the painting may be Ethel Vantreight, whose family farm is Canada's largest producer of daffodils.
Historical Fact #133: Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie (1819 - 1894) became known as "The Hanging Judge" but in fact was known to abhor the practice, which was the only sentence allowed for murder at the time. He campaigned on many occasions to the governor of the time to grant mercy.
Historical Fact #134: Victoria was the starting point to the longest torch relay in Olympic history. The relay began in Victoria on October 30, 2009 and the flame arrived in Vancouver, BC for the start of the 2010 Winter Games on February 12, 2010.
Historical Fact #135: The first graveyard in Victoria was located on the corner of Douglas and Johnson Streets.
Historical Fact #136: Victoria's first mayor was Thomas Harris, who was also a butcher. Harris was a large man who required a special chair to be built for him in Council Chambers. Harris Green is named for Thomas Harris.
Historical Fact #137: The Chinese Public School on Fisgard Street was established in 1907 with money raised by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. Originally established because of a law that required Chinese children to be able to speak English before they entered public school, it now offers Chinese language and cultural education for children of many different cultures.
Historical Fact #138: For a short time, Victoria was known locally as "Fort Albert," but by resolution passed by the Council of the Northern Department of the Hudson's Bay Company meeting at Fort Garry on June 10, 1843, it was officially named "Fort Victoria" after the British Queen.
Historical Fact #139: Beacon Hill Park has hosted cricket matches since 1866. It has also been home to horse racing in the 1860s and "Love-ins" in the 1960s.
Historical Fact #140: The Belfry Theatre is housed in what was originally the Springridge Baptist Church. It has been a shelter for transient youth and a dentist's office.
Historical Fact #141: Many past mayors have had parks and/or streets named for them to preserve their memory in the community, including Charles Redfern (Redfern Park and Redfern Street) who served two separate terms as mayor in the late 1800s.
Historical Fact #142: The Ogden Point breakwater was completed in 1916, requiring over one million tonnes of rock and 10,000 granite blocks. Since those beginnings, the Ogden Point Enhancement Society has completed several phases of "enhancement," including Na'Tsa',mant - The Unity Wall, which brings the history of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations to the forefront of the City of Victoria through the work of young Aboriginal artists.
Historical Fact 143: Albert E. Todd (1878 – 1928) served as Victoria's mayor from 1917 to 1919. One of the first licensed drivers in the city, he was keen on promoting Victoria as a tourist destination and making it easier to get around town. During his time in office, he envisioned a crossing over the harbour to the west side, which later became the Johnson Street Bridge.
Historical Fact #144: 2012 also marks the anniversary of a terrible and tragic time in history for First Nations people in the area, as it was in 1862 that smallpox arrived in the city. Believed to have been introduced to the area by a passenger on the SS Brother Jonathan, smallpox and the attendant policies of the day proved to be undeniably cruel to First Nations people. It is estimated that 14,000 Aboriginal people from BC to Alaska perished.
Historical Fact #145: On this day in history in 1850, the Governor of Vancouver Island, Richard Blanshard, arrived in Victoria.
Historical Fact #146: Victoria has long been a popular location for filmmakers. Films made in and around Victoria include Lucky Fugitives (1935), Five Easy Pieces starring Jack Nicholson (1970), and Little Women starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon (1994).
Historical Fact #147: The first professional hockey game to be played on artificial ice, anywhere in the world, was held in Victoria on January 2, 1912.
Historical Fact #148: The location of the original Fort Victoria was known to the Songhees people as Ku-sing-ay-las, "the place of strong fibre" where strong willow suitable for fishing line grew in abundance.
Historical Fact 149: Fifty-eight mayors have served Victoria since its incorporation. Of those, only one woman has held the title of "Your Worship." Former Mayor Gretchen Brewin held the post from 1986 to 1990.
Historical Fact 150: The City was founded by the Hudson's Bay Company on March 14, 1843 as a trading post and fort at the location the First Nations called "Camosack" meaning "Rush of Water."
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