Exhibition Building at Willows Fairgrounds. Built in 1891, it was totally destroyed by fire in 1907. (Courtesy Oak Bay Archives)

Lost Victoria: Story of the Crystal Palace

Historian Stuart Stark launches book about iconic Oak Bay structure that was lost to flames

Historian and heritage consultant Stuart Stark launched his book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows with a reading Friday at the Oak Bay Library.

The book and launch are about celebrating the beauty and history of an iconic Oak Bay building that nobody alive today had the chance to experience.

Stark weaves historical tales of horse races and agricultural dreams to bring to life the story of the impressive Exhibition Building at Willows, known as the “Crystal Palace,” that was built in 1891 (in a heroic 65 days) and that tragically burned down in 1907. Stark shares that the great oak that stood at the gates to the exhibition grounds, still stands today in Oak Bay – a marker to what once was.

Hosted by Oak Bay Heritage, Oak Bay Archives, and the Greater Victoria Public Library, the book launch included a cake cutting that saw Mayor Nils Jensen and Stuart Stark cutting a replica of the book cover.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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Stuart Stark does a reading at his book launch at Oak Bay Library for his new book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark pointing out features of the exhibition building at his book launch at Oak Bay Library for his new book The B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building at the Willows. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mayor Nils Jensen taking a photo of Stark presenting one of his books to Caroline Duncan of the Oak Bay Archives as a thank you for all her assistance. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A cake to celebrate the book launch with a photo of the old exhibition building. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mayor Nils Jensen and Stuart Stark cut the cake. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

The old exhibition building. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark signing books. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Stuart Stark signing books. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Front gates to the Exhibition Building at Willows Fairgrounds. Built in 1891, it was totally destroyed by fire in 1907. (Courtesy Oak Bay Archives)

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