Old Esquimalt Road deserves heritage status: township staff

Oldest planned road in Western Canada dates back to 1851

Old Esquimalt Road

Old Esquimalt Road

In 1852, Capt. Augustus Leopold Kuper and the crew of HMS Thetis were ordered to carve out the first overland connection between Esquimalt harbour and the Hudson Bay Company fort in Victoria.

The men spent months cutting through Douglas fir and Garry oak trees in the untouched forest, creating what local historians call the first planned road in Western Canada.

At the time, it served as the dividing line between the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, Constance Cove and Viewfield farms.

Adjoining land was cleared for St. Joseph’s Mission, built in 1858 as the first Roman Catholic church in B.C., as well as the Halfway House, which was built in 1861 as a safe haven for those travelling north during the gold rush.

In recognition of Old Esquimalt Road’s claim to historical fame, township staff are considering its inclusion on Esquimalt’s heritage register.

“It doesn’t put any restrictions on the road, it just puts it on an official list of properties that Esquimalt sees as significant,” said Karen Hay, planning technician and staff liaison to the heritage advisory committee.

The heritage register differs from the more formal designated heritage sites, Hay said.

While heritage designation creates a number of incentives and restrictions for homeowners, the heritage register is only an official recognition of historically significant properties.

“The B.C. Assessment authority has determined that there would be no impact to the property values of lots adjoining Old Esquimalt Road by placing the road on the heritage register,” Hay said in a letter to residents.

“Also, placement of the road on the heritage register in no way encumbers the local government. The engineering aspects of the road could still be changed for safety or development.”

The public consultation process continues until Nov. 30, after which a statement of significance will go to committee of the whole on Dec. 10. Council will likely consider the matter in January.

For more information, contact Hay at 250-414-7179.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

An Oak Bay municipal crew finishes off a job by laying hot asphalt in place on Dalhousie Street. The District of Oak Bay is in the process of completing a number of underground infrastructure projects, part of its long term asset renewal plan for the municipality. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Oak Bay’s Uplands sewer, storm line separation project awaits funding

Federal/provincial infrastructure grant announcement expected next spring

On Nov. 16, Saanich council received the 2020 Housing Needs Report which provides a summary of the district’s housing market and the anticipated future needs of the municipality. (District of Saanich)
New report highlights need for diverse, affordable housing in Saanich

Saanich Housing Needs Report shows current supply doesn’t meet community needs

The Sooke Food Bank told Sooke city council Monday that they’re projecting to spend $32,000 more compared to 2019 figures. President Kim Metzger said that they’re looking for a bigger space, as they’ve had logistic problems for food storage. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke Food Bank voices dire need for bigger space

‘We found that we’re not quite prepared,’ says president of volunteer group

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read