The public is invited to the grand opening of the Gorge Park Pavilion on Saturday.
The township’s council will be showing the renewed grounds in Esquimalt Gorge Park from noon to 2 p.m. on June 18. The ceremony will include a tour of the pavilion and performances by the Lekwungen Dancers and the Uminari Taiko drumming ensemble.
The 1070 Tillicum Rd. pavilion building features Japanese-inspired architecture to complement the park’s Japanese Gardens – the oldest in North America. Its design is based on the tea house that was once located on the site.
Isaburo Kishida designed and built the garden in 1907 for his son, Yoshihiro Kishida, and also his business partner, Hayato Takata, who had contracted with the B.C. Electric Railway Company to provide a park at the site.
In 1942, members of the public vandalized the tea house when Japanese Canadians were forced into internment.
The new structure will host township-provided programs like yoga and art classes, which will also be rented out for events. Its second-floor banquet and reception hall has cedar beams and panoramic views of the Gorge Waterway and the building also includes two kitchenettes, a boardroom, washrooms and a 150-seat theatre or classroom.
Parking stalls for 100 vehicles have also been added as part of the renewal.
The project is part of the community improvements provided by a portion of the $17-million McLoughlin Amenity Funds. In January 2017, the Capital Regional District and the Township of Esquimalt agreed on an amenity funding package associated with locating the region’s wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.
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