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

 

 

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

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

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read