Esquimalt First Nation dancers Marcus Goldsmith

Uptown unveils plaza, centerpiece fountain

The town plaza at Uptown is now officially open to the public.

The town plaza at Uptown is now officially open to the public.

An area once blocked off to both pedestrians and cars was unveiled to the public during a ceremony on Wednesday morning.

“Those of you who remember the old Town and Country remember that four years ago if you were standing in this location, you would’ve been slightly south of Peter’s Ice Cream… and standing in an actual parking lot with about three trees in sight,” Geoff Nagle, director of development with Morguard Investments, the owner of Uptown, said at the unveiling.

In the boulevard now sits a grassy square lined with pink and blue flowers, and benches for the public.

The centre of the square holds a large, almond shaped mosaic representing traditional Coast Salish art with four thunderbirds and two human heads; one male and one female.

The opening of the boulevard and unveiling of the artwork, done by artist Joe Wilson, is the latest milestone for the upscale shopping centre.

It also marks the start of Uptown’s phase two – getting retailers and businesses into the empty storefronts set to open by next spring.

At the unveiling, Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard was more than pleased with the latest phase of the project. “I think the best thing I can say is that it looks better than the drawing – it’s that good,” he said.

“There’s no disappointment with what’s happening here at Uptown.”

A public celebration, with live music, kids activities and cupcake decorating, followed the unveiling.

The town plaza was designed for community use and events such as these.

“This is a central part of Uptown, the plaza here. We’re looking forward to our community gathering here on many occasions,” Leonard said.

The First Nations mosaic, which acts as the base of a fountain in the boulevard, has been a year-and-a-half in the making, according to Wilson.

Wilson designed the artwork with Chris MacDonald of Eagle Feather Gallery.

The mosaic contains more than 4,000 pieces of blue, green and yellow glass tile. At night, the bottom of the fountain lights up.

Standing in front of the mosaic after the ceremony, Wilson laughed as a little boy ran through the fountain.

Seeing the final product is totally exhilarating, he said.

“I just hope that it will bless everyone that sees it, that’s what I want, is the children to be blessed … and moms and dads,” Wilson said. “And I hope that it’ll bring everyone some joy.”

reporter@vicnews.com

 

 

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

COVID-inspired RV sales soaring on West Shore and beyond

Health restrictions, recommendations keep Vancouver Island vacationers closer to home

UPDATE: Pedestrian injured in collision on Hillside Avenue

Traffic impacted between Douglas and Blanshard streets

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read