The west side of the 1300-block of Douglas Street, circa 1960. The intersection may have been a pedestrian scramble at the time. (City of Victoria Archives)

The west side of the 1300-block of Douglas Street, circa 1960. The intersection may have been a pedestrian scramble at the time. (City of Victoria Archives)

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

People are definitely scrambled following the announcment of a new X intersecton coming to Government and Wharf streets as part of the next phase of the bike lane network, but the concept isn’t new and not the strangest quirk in that block either.

An existing, albeit unmarked, scramble already stands at Government and View streets, and several readers have written in to describe a more established scramble that existed around the Eatons Centre –now The Bay Centre– in the late 1950s.

READ MORE: Hidden pedestrian scramble intersection already exists in Victoria

Multiple reports say a scramble crosswalk existed near the Eaton’s Centre, either at Douglas and Fort streets, or Douglas and Yates streets, though City officials have been unable to confirm which intersection it was.

The photo on the left show the Yates-Douglas intersection (west side) in 1960, versus the same intersection in 2017. It’s possible this intersection was a pedestrian scramble in the early 60’s (File contributed/ Victoria Archives, Google Maps)

City staff, however, can confirm that in the area there was a tunnel underneath Broad Street which connected the two Eaton’s buildings.

“There was an east/west tunnel for pedestrians that ran under the Broad Street right-of-way, part of the old Eaton’s development,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement, in an email. “When the Eaton’s site was redeveloped in the late 1980’s, the portion of Broad Street between View Street and Fort Street was closed to traffic, and consolidated into the development site bounded by Douglas, Fort, Government, and View (the current Bay Centre).”

ALSO READ: UVic Properties charts ambitious course for off-campus holdings on Broad Street

In the same neighbourhood is the Duck’s Building, at 1312 Broad Street, built by then MLA Simeon Duck in 1892. The building operated as a brothel in the early 1900s.

Around the same time, Douglas Street served as an artery of a trolley line that ran around the downtown core.

Douglas Street looking north in 1925. Tracks of a trolley line can be seen running north-south along Douglas Street. (City of Victoria Archives)

Know some more fun history facts about the downtown core? Send an email over to vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

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

Just Posted

Current unmarked residential streets are 50 km/h, but Greater Vancouver municipalities might consider dropping that to 30 km/h. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Sidney join Saanich in application to reduce residential road speeds to 30 km/h

Victoria also taking part in pilot to change default speed to 30 km/h from 50 km/h

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School April 14 to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
SD61’s proposed $7 million cuts threaten equity and inclusion, say parents, teachers

Music classes, inclusion services, reading programs on the line

The Latoria South section of the Royal Bay development in Colwood could include a new long-term care facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood’s Royal Bay could be home to new long-term care facilities

Capital Regional Hospital District board approves $8M land purchase for purpose

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth gets combative with police at Victoria hospital

VicPD officer injured, youth kept in care under Mental Health Act

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

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 April 13

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

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read