Public Art Project

The Victoria 150 Public Art Project was a national,
three-stage juried competition to create new public
artwork(s) that acknowledge and celebrate the City's 150th anniversary of incorporation.

The Hands of Time  -- Victoria's 150th Anniversary Public Art

Twelve bronze sculptures of life-size hands engaged in activities that symbolize the Capital City's history and identity can be explored around downtown Victoria.

The Hands of Time by British Columbia-based artist Crystal Przybille (pronounced Sheh-bill) was the winning submission to the City of Victoria's national, juried public art competition to create artwork that celebrates and acknowledges Victoria's 150th anniversary of incorporation.
The artworks are located around Victoria's Inner Harbour, with one art piece at City Hall, The Hudson, along the Songhees Walkway, and another at the top of Beacon Hill at Beacon Hill Park. The artworks can be found on buildings, lamp standards, rocks in landscaped areas, and on bedrock. They were installed in the spring of 2013.
Note: In March 2014, the City relocated The Hands of Time art piece titled Carving A Canoe Paddle. Situated near Lime Bay, the artwork was moved from the water side of the Songhees Walkway to the north side. Installed on a rock face, the new location provides improved visibility and accessibility to the art piece. Its new location is noted on the updated walking tour map below. 

Location Map/Brochure

We invite you to explore and discover these artworks with The Hands of Time Walking Tour Brochure [PDF - 426 KB].

Official Unveiling Ceremony

The community was invited to attend the Official Unveiling of The Hands of Time artwork that commemorates the City of Victoria's 150th anniversary of incorporation in 2012. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at the Lower Causeway of the Inner Harbour (across from the Fairmont Empress Hotel).

Mayor Dean Fortin was joined by Franc D'Ambrosio, a member of the City of Victoria Art in Public Places Policy Committee, and artist Crystal Przybille to unveil "Holding a Mirror", one of the 12 bronze sculptures that is installed around downtown Victoria. 


About the Artwork

Each pair of three-dimensional hands is unique, varying in culture, age and gender, and tells a story about a downtown location. Ranging in size from 25 x 17 x 7 to 60 x 40 x 20 centimetres, the 12 sculptures consist of hands carving a canoe paddle, holding a railway spike, performing with a fan, carrying blankets, carrying books, holding binoculars, tying a rope to a mooring ring, panning for gold, raising a tea cup, holding a mirror, cupping Dogwood blossoms, and digging Camas bulbs.

The Hands of Time reveals a depth of meaning about Victoria – quietly symbolizing significant elements, eras, and stories of Victoria through the ages to the present, beckoning exploration and contemplation. The artwork appeals to and playfully engages young and old, local and visitor, while kindling interest in Victoria's history and identity.

The 12 sculptures are representative of the 12 numbers on the clock face, 12 months in a year, and Victoria's sesquicentennial in 2012. The Hands of Time maquette (RIGHT) depicts a hand holding a Chinese fan.
Crystal Przybille was one of more than 80 artists from across Canada who responded to the “Call to Artists”. Sixteen semi-finalists were selected, from which four artists were invited to submit a maquette and a detailed proposal. Submissions were assessed on their artistic merit, expression of theme, feasibility, the use of public space, and sustainability. The national, three-stage public art competition followed the City of Victoria's Art in Public Places Policy. The budget for the artworks is $100,000 and is funded by the Art in Public Places Reserve Fund.


The individual sculptures were professionally cast in bronze, a traditional, high-quality, extremely-durable and low-maintenance medium. The bronze was finished with a dark patina. A surface patina of green verdigris was also applied. This patina naturally occurs in copper and bronze in seaside environments. The finish and aesthetics of the pieces complement other copper and bronze elements in Victoria. It also creates an appealing contrast to the pre-existing textures of the grass, brick, stone, moss-covered natural rock and wood abundant in downtown Victoria.
Some of the sculptures, such as "Holding a Mirror", incorporate smoothly polished, stainless steel reflective pieces. Like bronze, stainless steel is resistant to corrosion. These pieces are invisibly bolted to the bronze works with stainless steel bolts. Individually, the sculptures weigh between 7 and 68 kilograms. 

Artist Bio

Crystal Przybille is a BC artist, born in Vernon and currently residing in Kelowna. She has a fine arts degree (with Distinction) from the University of Victoria. Przybille's most recent work, The Father Pandosy Mission 150th Anniversary Commemorative Sculpture, permanently commemorates the 150th anniversary of the oldest Euro-Canadian settlement in the Okanagan Valley (which set the cornerstone of the City of Kelowna), and is part of the Kelowna Public Art Collection. The Hands of Time sculpture series will be the first of Przybille's works in the City of Victoria's public art collection. For more information, click here.

Public Art Competition

The Victoria 150 Public Art Project was a national, three-stage juried competition to create new public artwork(s) that acknowledge and celebrate the City's 150th anniversary of incorporation. It was open to artists who are residents of Canada. The "Call for Artists" Expressions of Interest [PDF - 41 KB] was advertised in December 2011 with a closing date of January 10, 2012.
A range of media could be considered, including but not limited to, two-dimensional images, relief and sculptural forms, and urban infrastructure (e.g. street furnishings, sidewalks, plaques).
Single or multiple artworks could be proposed for one or more publically accessible City-owned sites within Victoria. Artists were invited to refer to the Downtown Area Plan - Appendix 4 Public Art Guidelines [PDF - 8.2 MB] for more information.


The national, three-stage competition followed the City's Art in Public Places Policy and was juried by a selection committee of arts professionals, community members, and City of Victoria representatives.

Contact Us

Nichola Reddington
Community Recreation and Culture Coordinator
Parks, Recreation and Culture Department