August 27, 2023

Attn: Manager, City of Victoria


An Open Letter in support of the retention of the Centennial Square Fountain

Dear Mayor and Council

We are a group of Greater Victoria citizens who are declaring an interest in Council’s intention to undertake a renewal of Centennial Square.

First and foremost, we want to express our wish and primary concern that the pivotal feature of the Square, the Centennial Fountain, be preserved and restored. We value the fountain as a gift of our three adjacent municipalities to mark the building of the Square in 1963 to celebrate the first100 years of Victoria’s incorporation as a city. To this day the fountain remains Victoria’s primary example of modern public art, an emblematic landmark that has found a place in the hearts of citizens of the region and visitors alike.

We appreciate your observations that the Square requires repair, restorations and updating. Wenote that the Square was feted in its day and achieved national acclaim for its design excellence. It is one of our major heritage legacies from Victoria’s rapid post-war build out, on par for in-stance with another major project of that period, the University of Victoria Gordon Head Campus. Indeed, the two projects shared the same group of architects and designers.

Centennial Square, with its iconic fountain, marked the start of Victoria’s urban renewal project for Old Town. A significant moment in our modern history! The project combined both the conservation of historic buildings and a forward-looking contemporary design for the new.

In retrospect the Square can now be seen as a critical marker of the Centennial era that culminated in the 1971 Centennial of the union of British Columbia and Canada. This intent was further reinforced in 2007/8 with the addition of the Spirit Garden totem poles and Spirit Beach to recognize the First Nations cultural legacy which underpins the City.

To summarize, we urge retaining the crucial focus of the Fountain as an effective way to maintain a link between the original spirit of Centennial Square, and its evolving future.

We are concerned that forthcoming public consultation might be minimal. We urge you to require a wide and well-considered discussion within our current regional community. The Friends look forward to helping inform and encourage creative, practical upgrades for Centennial Square. However we remain absolutely dedicated to the retention of its superb and much-loved centre-piece, the Centennial Fountain.


Friends of Centennial Square

  1. Mayor and Council City of Esquimalt
    Mayor and Council Municipality of Saanich