This archival photo shows a regatta on the Gorge from around 1916

Saanich history tour highlights the Gorge

The Gorge was once Victoria’s playground, a place where folks would converge to take in the regattas and vaudeville shows

The Gorge was once Victoria’s playground, a place where folks would converge to take in the regattas and vaudeville shows, to swim for the day or dance the night away.

From 1890 to 1930 it was a social hub of the city. Those days are long gone.

This year is a landmark year for Victoria and Esquimalt, with each celebrating their 150th and 100th anniversaries, respectively, and six years since Saanich celebrated its centennial anniversary.

The Gorge, the common border between the municipalities, has been the focus of a push from local community groups to get locals back out there swimming in the waterway again. It’s also been the focus of one historian’s research for the last 20 years.

“The Gorge’s history is probably the most colourful you’ll find anywhere in Victoria,” said Dennis Minaker, author and resident of the Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood. “It’s quite remarkable, actually.”

That colourful history spans from the early farmlands of the Craigflower area and all along the inlet, where the Royal Navy regularly hosted regatta events.

“It became the centre for outdoor recreation, and that included swimming, boating, picnicking, camping – and the centre for some of the grandest houses ever built in Victoria,” Minaker added.

Those houses, built along Gorge shorelines in all three municipalities in the latter part of the 19th century, have all but disappeared, as did the amusement park and Japanese tea gardens that once lined the waterway. But tales from the day remain and Minaker, author of The Gorge of Summers Gone, is just the guy to tell them.

Minaker hosts the annual Saanich Heritage Bus Tour & Tea on Sunday Sept. 16 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s tour highlights the Gorge Waterway, including a stop at the Naval & Maritime Museum at CFB Esquimalt and afternoon tea at the historic St. Paul’s Garrison Church. Tickets to the event, which sells out annually, went on sale today for $30 plus tax.

Register in person or by phone at any Saanich recreation centre or online at recreation.saanich.ca (course code 492204).

For information contact Saanich Archives at 250-475-1775 ext. 3477 or email archives@saanich.ca.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read