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  • Don’t tear down iconic fountain 


    An Open Letter in support of the retention of the Centennial Square Fountain 


    September 2, 2023

    Dear Mayor and Council,

    We are a group of Greater Victoria citizens who are declaring an interest in Council’s intention to undertake a renewal of Centennial Square. 

    First and foremost, we want to express our wish and primary concern that the pivotal feature of the Square, the Centennial Fountain, be preserved and restored. We value the fountain as a gift of our three adjacent municipalities to mark the building of the Square in 1963 to celebrate the first 100 years of Victoria’s incorporation as a city. To this day the fountain remains Victoria’s primary example of modern public art, an emblematic landmark that has found a place in the hearts of citizens of the region and visitors alike. 

    We appreciate your observations that the Square requires repair, restorations and updating. We note that the Square was feted in its day and achieved national acclaim for its design excellence. It is one of our major heritage legacies from Victoria’s rapid post-war build out, on par for in-stance with another major project of that period, the University of Victoria Gordon Head Campus. Indeed, the two projects shared the same group of architects and designers. 



    Photo by Michal Klajban, Creative Commons license, via Wikimedia Commons



    Centennial Square and the fountain are a vital community gathering place (Photo: David Broadland)


    Centennial Square, with its iconic fountain, marked the start of Victoria’s urban renewal project for Old Town. A significant moment in our modern history! The project combined both the conservation of historic buildings and a forward-looking contemporary design for the new. 

    In retrospect the Square can now be seen as a critical marker of the Centennial era that culminated in the 1971 Centennial of the union of British Columbia and Canada. This intent was further reinforced in 2007/8 with the addition of the Spirit Garden totem poles and Spirit Beach to recognize the First Nations cultural legacy which underpins the City. 

    To summarze, we urge retaining the crucial focus of the Fountain as an effective way to maintain a link between the original spirit of Centennial Square, and its evolving future. 

    We are concerned that forthcoming public consultation might be minimal. We urge you to require a wide and well-considered discussion within our current regional community. The Friends look forward to helping inform and encourage creative, practical upgrades for Centennial Square. However we remain absolutely dedicated to the retention of its superb and much-loved centre-piece, the Centennial Fountain. 

    Friends of Centennial Square: 

    John Adams, historian, author Kathleen Aitken
    Mark Aitken
    Angela Andersen

    Hon. David Anderson, Q.C
    Adrea Ashton, teacher (ret.)
    Steve Barber, former heritage planner, City of Victoria Jennifer Barr, former director Victoria Heritage Foundation Donna Blyth
    Edyth Bradley BID, Banfp Design Group Ltd
    Hon. Patricia Bovey, historian, author, former Canadian Senator
    Marilyn Bowering, author
    Edyth Bradley
    Gregory Brown, artisan, restorer period antiques
    Judy Brownoff, Saanich Councillor and CRD Director
    Kirk Buhne, B. Arch.
    Mrs. A. A. Byers
    Trevor Calkins, educator
    Alix Campbell
    Chris Causton, former Mayor of Oak Bay
    Bridget Clark, former executive director, Victoria Heritage Foundation Ben Clinton-Baker, curator Wentworth Villa Architectural Heritage Museum
    Allan Collier, design historian and exhibition curator
    Lisa Cowan, Lawyer (ret.)
    Bruce Davies, Emeritus President, Victoria Society of America
    David Daum
    Linda Daum
    Gerry Duckitt
    Helen Edwards, author
    Brenda Firestone, artist
    Douglas Franklin, architectural historian, Parksville Soressa Gardner
    Monique Genton, MFA
    Harold Gillis
    Martin Golder, architect (ret.)
    Imogen Goldie, heritage planner
    Rick Goodacre, former executive director, Heritage BC Chris Gower, Architect , urban design planner
    Wilya Graham
    Ronald Greene MGC (BC), historian, downtown merchant (ret.)
    David and Liza Harris, lifelong residents
    Michael F.H. Halleran, civil servant (ret.)
    Dave Helm
    Kim Hollingsworth, artist
    Sheila C. Hodgson, citizen
    Ray Hunt, architect (ret.)
    Ken Johnson, Hallmark Society
    Mary Doody Jones, seriously concerned citizen
    Ms. Bev Kallstrom
    Dr. Hal Kalman, O.C. architectural historian, heritage advocate
    John Keay, architect (ret.)
    Brian Kendrick, designer
    Alastair Kerr, Adj. Associate Professor, U.Vic. 

    Jim Kerr, architect
    Rina Langford
    Douglas Lee, architect (ret.)
    Jim Lee, CPA (ret.) heritage building owner
    Valerie Lindholm, businessperson & heritage advocate Don Lovell, architect (ret.)
    Juiie Lovitt
    Dr. John Lutz, historian
    Richard Mackie, publisher and editor
    Regan R. Macleod, film producer
    Pamela Madoff, Past City Councillor & BC Governor, Heritage Canada Foundation
    Dr. Dan Marshall, historian
    Rick Marshall, Oak Bay
    Claude Maurice, architect (ret.)
    Martha McNeely
    Kathleen Milany
    Gene Miller, Principal, New Landmarks Design
    Betty Molnar
    Sheila Munro, author
    Steve Murphy, high school principal (ret.)
    Nancy Noble, Director/CEO Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Michael James O’Connor, KC
    Pat O’Neil, businessman
    Tom Palfrey, exhibit designer (ret.)
    Marilyn Palmer, architect
    Margaret Palmer
    Ray Parks, Executive Director, Provincial Capital Commission (ret.)
    Joan Peggs
    Denton Pendergast, historian, graphic designer
    Carl Peterson, architect (ret.)
    Dr. Michael Prince
    Karan Wallace Prince
    Jane Ramsay
    Avis Rasmussen, artist
    Mrs. E. L. Richards
    Caroline Riedel, Director, UVic Legacy Art Galleries Patrick Rollins, Citizen, Art History student
    Barry Rolston, Past Chair of Maritime Museum of BC. school administrator (ret.)
    Carole Sabiston, artist
    Daniel Sali
    Vicki Sanders, Councillor, District of Saanich
    Doug Scott, architect, AIBC
    Cara Segger, project manager
    Martin Segger, architectural historian
    Jim Stark AIBC (hon.) Old Town Study Report organizer Ian Sutherland, downtown property developer/owner Bronwyn Taylor, heritage advocate
    Alexander Teliszwesky, architect (ret.)
    Helen Tuele, concerned citizen
    Lisa Tyler
    Priscilla Tumbach
    Wendy Lovitt Warren
    Zuhree Zimmerman
    Prof. Bill Zuk, artist 

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    Recommended Comments

    In the forty years I have lived in Victoria, I have enjoyed many events at Centennial Square. The fountain is a piece of our heritage and is an example of mid-Century design. I would like to see the square refurbished but I definitely want the fountain to stay. This is not the location for a splash park.

    Joan Mason

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    It seems the history of what the fountain and the three obelisks represent.  Perhaps a plaque telling this history would help the council and the public to recognize why it should not be removed.  The loss of trees will decrease the carbon absorbed, leaving more greenhouse gases and defeating efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.  In addition, when we have so many citizens living on our streets, and families, including our seniors, who have having trouble with high rents or mortgages, inflated grocery prices, or having to choose between paying rent and utilities and renewing prescriptions is hardly the time to spend money that will ultimately be paid for by those same citizens having trouble paying their bills.

    Additionally, both federal and provincial governments are carrying debt with millions of dollars in interest payments every month.  Please do not incur more debt when it is unnecessary.  

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