Centennial Square


centennial squareVictoria's 100th birthday was marked by the creation of Centennial Square. Rod Clack, the city planner at the time, worked with a group of architects including John Di Castri, Alan Hodgson, Bob Sidall, Clive Campbell, Don Wagg and John Wade under the leadership of mayor Biggerstaff Wilson. This marked the beginning of a vast scheme to preserve, restore and revive downtown Victoria. Street realignments and the demolition of an old public market allowed for the grouping of the McPherson Playhouse (Hodgson), the renovated police station (Wagg), a parkade and specialty shops (Di Castri), the Senior Citizens' Centre (Campbell) and a sunken "Knot Garden." All were arranged around a public space to form Centennial Square. The focal point is a fountain, its balustraded rim reminiscent of pieces from Oscar Niemeyer's Brazilia scheme (1958), and the mosaic concrete totems by local artist J. C. S. Wilkinson. The fountain was a centennial gift to the City from neighbouring municipalities. The scheme successfully re-established City Hall as a downtown focal point with the square as its major public recreational amenity. This was the first part of the downtown revitalization program, which called for a general paintup modelled on the "Norwich Plan" and pedestrian malls linking City Hall to a redeveloped and restored Bastion Square.


Extensive public debate preceded the decision by the city to commemorate its centenary by building a public square. Previous schemes had entertained moving City Hall into a commercial development and selling the old building as a building site. The combination of restoration (City Hall, McPherson Theatre and police station) with new construction (Council Chamber wing for City Hall, restaurant and lobby for the theatre, senior centre, family law courts and parkade & shopping arcade) was ambitious. The old city market and some buildings on Fisgard Street would be demolished. Cormorant Street would be incorporated into the square and Pandora realigned. Planning and design was coordinated by city architect Roderick Clack. The floorscape of the square was designed by landscape architects Muirhead Justice & Webb, also then at work on the Gordon Head campus plan. The motif of the circle with the square reiterated the UVic Gordon Head campus plan, albeit on a much smaller scale.


Architects/Designers: Clive Campbell, Roderick Clack, John Di Castri, Alan Hodgson, Bob Siddall, John Wade, Don Wagg, Jack Wilkinson






































Schematic Drawings