Centennial Square 1963

The 100th birthday of Victoria was marked by the creation of the Centennial Square. Rod Clack, the city planner at the time, worked with a group of architects including John DiCastri, Alan Hodgson, Bob Sidall, Clive Cambell, Don Wagg and John Wade under the leadership of mayor Biggerstaff Wilson. This marked the beginning of a vast scheme to preserve, restore and revive downtown Victoria. Street realignments and the demolition of an old public market allowed for the grouping of the McPherson Playhouse (Hodgson), the renovated police station (Wagg), a parkade and specialty shops (Di Castri), the Senior Citizens' Centre (Cambell), and a sunken "Knot Garden". All were arranged around a public space to form Centennial Square. The focal point is a fountain, its balustraded rim reminiscent of pieces from Oscar Niemeyer's Brazilia scheme (1958), and the mosaic concrete totems by local artist J.C.S. Wilkinson. The fountain was a centennial gift to the City from neighbouring municipalities.The scheme successfully re-established City Hall as a down-town focal point with the square as its major public recreational amenity. This was the first part of the downtown revitalization program which called for a general paintup, modelled on the "Norwich Plan", and pedestrian malls linking City Hall to a redeveloped and restored Bastion Square.