Help Make Busking Vibrant Downtown

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The City of Victoria is reviewing its Street Entertainment Bylaw to improve the busking experience downtown. This summer, the City is piloting new busking locations along Government Street and other areas downtown, seeking public feedback in an online survey. The review is part of the City’s OUR DWTN revitalization program’s vision for a refreshed and improved downtown experience. 

“This review is designed to improve the quality and variety of busking performances downtown,” said Mayor Marianne Alto. “Whether you’re a new or seasoned busker, downtown business owner or resident, or part of the broader community, your feedback is important to us. We want busking to enrich the experience and vibrancy of our downtown.” 

Five designated busking locations for use by all licensed buskers will be piloted on Government Street between Yates and Wharf Streets. Licensed buskers may continue to perform at other areas downtown, guided by the City’s Street Entertainment Bylaw and are asked to perform at the designated locations along Government Street during the pilot, which ends September 19.  

Starting in July, eight “elevated” busking locations will feature curated performances by licensed, auditioned/juried buskers on specific dates and times at the Upper Causeway near the Visitor Centre, Ship Point, two spots in Bastion Square (the plaza area near Wharf Street and the southwest corner of Langley and Bastion Streets), Johnson Street plaza, the northwest corner of Broad and Fort Streets, and the northeast corners of Broad and Yates Streets and Douglas and Broughton Streets. 

This spring, licensed buskers were invited to sign up for a five-minute audition in a juried process for the opportunity to perform at piloted “elevated” busking locations. Another juried process is scheduled for mid-July.  

On Canada Day, a busking showcase will be featured at Ship Point from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., along with an information booth for buskers and the public to learn more about the busking pilot and the online survey.  
"Since I can remember, I've been around busking,” said local busker Harbour Nolan. “My father has been a busker since the 90s and named me Harbour after the Inner Harbour, where he and many other buskers would play all summer. Now I've been busking for 14 years and have witnessed many different eras of busking. After COVID, busking started to die down a little and there were noticeably less people busking. It is great to see the City take initiative in revitalizing the busking scene.” 

The online survey will measure the community’s support for specific types of busking locations, sound amplification at specific sites, as well as the types of busking and related amenities buskers and the public would like to see, such as covered spaces with comfortable seating, accessible parking and food trucks nearby to create a dynamic downtown experience.  

Best practices research, public feedback and input from a stakeholder working group representing buskers, local business owners, downtown residents and the Downtown Victoria Business Association will help inform recommendations to Council this fall for an interim update to the Street Entertainment Bylaw.  

If the recommendations are adopted, the City will develop an interim update to the Bylaw and test additional busking approaches next summer, such as emerging artist busking locations, amplified busking at designated locations, an online calendar for booking key sites and technology for buskers to receive tips electronically – all for further public input to inform a full report to Council next year for consideration.   

The community is invited to watch for “Busking in Victoria” pavement decals around town this summer featuring a QR code to access the online survey. For more information and to take the online survey by August 31, visit

Media Contact: 
Colleen Mycroft 
Manager, Intergovernmental and Media Relations 
250.896.5325 | 

Harbour Nolan (he/him) 
Local Busker 
250.415.4298 |