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

Avoid giving dogs ice cubes, says Greater Victoria vet

Tips for keeping dogs cool and safe this summer

Hungry Hearts Gala goes virtual with new mac and cheese competition

Results will be announced on Facebook live stream event

GVPL staggers reopening of three more branches in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

More Greater Victoria Library branches to reopen in August

Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

Four-part series will look at youth homelessness in the region

Rolling the dice on the patina of old copper

At the Galleries: Summer days continue

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read