Plaque to commemorate history of Victoria’s Old Town

Victoria’s Old Town is finally getting some recognition.

Parks Canada plans to install a plaque at the intersection of Government, Wharf and Humboldt streets to commemorate Old Town’s designation as a National Historic Event.

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The installation will form part of a reconfigured plaza at the intersection to accommodate the new All Ages and Abilities bike network.

The actual designation was made in 1990 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

According to a city staff report, a National Historic Event is “a defining action, episode, movement or experience in Canadian history.”

The board designated Old Town because “it bears testimony to the late 19th and 20th century when Victoria was both the principal port and the commercial centre on the West Coast of Canada.”

The bilingual bronze plaque text is to read:

“Old Town took shape during Victoria’s rise to prominence in the mid-19th century, when it was an important port and commercial gateway that linked the Pacific Rim to the interior of British Columbia.

“It was built within the Coast Salish territory of the Lekwungen and WSANEC nations, on the grounds of a former Hudson Bay Company trading post. Old Town encompasses the oldest surviving Chinatown in Canada, the waterfront warehouses and wharves that evoke the enterprise and rapid growth that followed the gold rush era, and the richly designed brick buildings that give the old commercial district an air of permanence.”

City councillors will be asked at a meeting on Thursday to approve the installation.

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