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Old April 14th, 2005, 04:51 AM   #21
Koz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallbanger
Hmm? Victoria is more English than NYC Chicago or Toronto, I mean.. the name for one, the busses, that big british style hotel... anything else?
^You just proved my point!

Let me explain:

The Empress Hotel is "British" by virtue of those who frequented it's rooms in its heyday, and that's about it. The same applies to all hotels at the turn of the Century. In fact, every major city in Canada has one of those hotels. They were constructed to market destinations for investors in the railroad business. Just so happens Victoria's was built on the inner harbour in a prime location.

As for tourist double-decker buses, they are also used in Vancouver, New York, and other cities. As for transit-double deckers, they were ordered for the purpose of moving mass amounts of people as articulated buses do not work well along narrow corridors. Kelowna also uses them, and Calgary is considering using them as well. Even Toronto's GO transit network wants to use them.

Quebec City



Banff



Victoria



Saskatoon



Toronto



Edmonton



Vancouver



New York



Toronto



Halifax
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Old April 15th, 2005, 04:42 AM   #22
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Funny story: Prince Charles and his mistress got married the other day, so one of the Victoria news stations does a "man on the street" segment, trying to catch all of the royal wedding buzz. Problem is, there was no buzz. Nobody knew, nobody cared.

Reporter's conclusion:
Royalists don't care much about Prince Charles and his mistress.

My conclusion:
Victoria's reputation for being a bit of old England is a mountain of old crap.

The only person in the segment who even knew about the wedding was some 90 year old tourist...from England!
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Old May 30th, 2005, 07:58 PM   #23
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Well I would like to make two observations:

1. Victoria is about as British as anywhere else on the Westcoast. Can't remember the last time I went for tea. Tourism victoria needs to start focusing on Victoria as it is a small cosmopolitan Westcoast City.

2. Also I think that people think that Victoria is not growing only because they look at stats for the City of Victoria, which is but a small portion of what is the actually the city of Greater Victoria including Esquimalt Saanich etc. I am not condoning the urban sprawl that is occuring but some of the surrounding areas are growing very rapidly. What needs to occur is some sort of regionalization and overall land planning that will focus growth and contain sprawl. That will in turn lead to more highrise development downtown.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:07 PM   #24
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Smart Guerrero, I agree with everything you say here. I totally agree with your first point. But I fear that Victoria will not grow up out of its past until the current wave of geriatrics have passed on. And then it will be the younger generations' turn to show Victoria to the world as a cosmopolitan city.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 04:07 AM   #25
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Don't a lot of people from England move to Victoria too? Its like one of the only other places in the world that feels like home to them i've heard.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 04:21 AM   #26
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Actually a lot of Britons won't move to Victoria because it reminds them too much of the place they are trying to get away from.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:23 AM   #27
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The Victoria city councillors – pejoratively termed "nimby"– are reacting to comments by Arthur Erickson regarding the protection of the Empress. The new Marriot and the other architecturally tasteless building being constructed next to it may peek above the hotel; we were better off with the bus parking lot. A city like Vancouver, with no heritage, has the liberty of bulldozing what it pleases and making it's downtown as bland as it likes, which, it turns out, is quite bland. Victoria has a hate–hate relationship with tall buildings because they've treated us badly in the past; View towers, the Rudyard Kipling, the monstrocity in Rockland that looks over everything south of Cedar Hill, etc.

If kids in Victoria want more tall buildings, old people are your greatest asset. I would speculate that the majority of apartments and strata buildings in Victoria house the elderly; an even higher percentage in Oak Bay. The redeveloped St. Joseph's hospital, the Sunrise, the Redevelopment of the Baptist Housing Society site on Foul Bay Road – the catalyst for all of this is old people. They add to local businesses without driving; the perfect citizen. Also, all these buildings are responsive to their location. They are an appropriate height for a city with less than a half a million people. Shoal Point is a testament to the kind of development that can result from a populus that knows what it wants – it's like an Empress for this century.

For those adament about some kind of Concrete monolith somewhere on the South Island, look to the western communities; they have no problems ignoring the concerns of their local citizens.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:25 AM   #28
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I dont know. My entire family immigrated from England to Victoria, and none of them have ever felt that their new city was anything like England. Victoria is more like a bastardized, disney version of england.

And for the time being I am sure that immigration from england to canada has pretty much slowed down, I wouldnt say that alot of brits move to Victoria any more. I see more asians moving there, but not to the extent that they move to Vancouver.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:38 AM   #29
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A lot of people seem to like shoal point, but I'm not really a fan, not to say worse things haven't been built, but it's such a wide fat building with no ground floor retail making it very pedestrian unfriendly. Your view of "appropriate height for a city with less than a half a million people" is also clearly misguided, many cities, of similar size, without height restrictions build taller buildings and are not overun, and can maintain there heritage at the same time. Parking lot's are never better than buildings, no matter how much you may dislike the architecture. Parking lot's don't bring activity to the street, or promote pedestrian activity, let alone impress tourists. Unfourtunatley you know little of Vancouver's heritage, and should study some of it before you state such innaccurate claims as "A city like Vancouver, with no heritage, has the liberty of bulldozing what it pleases and making it's downtown as bland as it likes", and although you may think it's downtown bland, there is more life there than in Victoria's streets, without a doubt. An Empress for this century would be a 30-storey highrise hotel, and comparing something as meek as shoal point (although the materials, and finishing were good), is a disservice to the principles that got the Empress built to begin with. View Towers is the main building in Victoria that discourages highrise development, and although it is a mere concrete slab it's mostly been a problem because of the type of residents it attracted, hardly a reason to discourage highrises. If Victoria wants to get out of the duldrums and attract more people, it'll encourage highrise office and residential/mixed use buildings to encourage more peolple to live and work downtown, while preserving the historical buildings that exist. In other words don't tear down the heritage buildings, I wouldn't be opposed to alteration though, like addition of floors.

EDIT: Sp.

Last edited by renthefinn; May 31st, 2005 at 05:59 PM.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 04:18 PM   #30
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Wonderwall, what is it with this "Arthur Erickson" mania? The man made a few comments with no knowledge about Victoria. He just spoke his mind as an architect (not a city planner nor an expert on victoria, but an architect). If a developer approaches him to build a 50-storey tower on the harbour he'll jump on the occasion.

Remember how Pam Madoff reacted to the three proposed towers in the Songhees (which were all approved)? She wasn't thrilled. But guess what, the tower that stands there now is Arthur's. Yep, it's true. If the man was as concerned about Victoria's harbour vista's he'd have turned away from his 11-storey project on the harbour but at the time Victoria had no problem with building height and therefore neither did he.

And guess what Arthur's up to in Vancouver? He's designing an 80-storey tower, hundreds of feet above even Vancouver's allowable building height and. Don't build anything in Victoria, says Arthur, but lets stick an 80-storey tower in Vancouver just for kicks.

It's like getting good behaviour advice from the devil, don't you think?
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:33 PM   #31
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Well I have a couple of things to say. First I think I know far more people from the middle east or latin america here in Victoria then British people.

Second I actually like Shoal Point I think the finishing was excellent. The only problem is that they have not leased all of the ground retail so that the back area is still dead, with the exception of Moka House.

Third, listening to Arthur Erickson about urban planning is truly ridiculous. He has built two ugly universities (SFU & U of S) and builds buildings that don't always fit in to the surrounding area (CBC Vancouver) His one good development I can think of is Robson Square in Vancouver and there are parts of that space that could be remodeled to improve it (smoky brown skylights).

Last, the only way to improve Victoria's street vitality is by building on parking lots and bringing more people to the core. Even if they are (oh my god) bigger then the Empress. City Council should be concerned with design aspects not size.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:44 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderwall
...regarding the protection of the Empress.
Do you know something we don't, Wonderwall? Give us the scoop!

Quote:
We were better off with the bus parking lot.
As much as I loved the bus parking lot, I really can't agree with this. We had 40 years to enjoy that parking lot. It had a good run. If you didn't fill your photo album in that time...well, maybe you aren't the parking lot aficionado you like to think you are.

Quote:
A city like Vancouver, with no heritage...
This was a joke, right? In all seriousness, a walk around downtown Vancouver can offer a glimpse of what Victoria was like before the notion of "Victoria-sized" buildings was invented. That magnificent old building at Pender and Granville that houses Dunn's Tailors reminds me of the Permanent Loan building in Victoria (which was replaced decades ago by a dreary six story slab).

Quote:
...the monstrosity in Rockland that looks over everything south of Cedar Hill...
I agree with you on this one, I'm also jealous of the views the people in Camosack Manor get to enjoy every day.

Quote:
If kids in Victoria want more tall buildings...
It's not just kids, Wonderwall. A lot of the people on this forum (including me) would also like to see some more tall buildings.

Quote:
For those adamant about some kind of Concrete monolith somewhere on the South Island...
Did somebody say they wanted a concrete monolith in Victoria? Whoever said that, shame on you. The people I know want attractive modern buildings, because Victoria is so lacking in this regard. Victoria's defining characteristic used to be grand architecture. Now its defining characteristic is bland architecture. I'd like to see Victoria return to its roots again.

Funny thing about heritage: did you know the buildings we build today will be heritage 100 years from now? It's true!

Also, has anybody here ever actually been to Britain? I'm beginning to wonder if my travel agent pulled a fast one on me, because the England I visited was nothing like Victoria whatsoever.

Last edited by aastra; June 1st, 2005 at 12:20 AM.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 09:06 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jada
I dont know. My entire family immigrated from England to Victoria, and none of them have ever felt that their new city was anything like England. Victoria is more like a bastardized, disney version of england.

And for the time being I am sure that immigration from england to canada has pretty much slowed down, I wouldnt say that alot of brits move to Victoria any more. I see more asians moving there, but not to the extent that they move to Vancouver.
Yes immigration from England to Canada has slowed down, but did you read the special election section of the Vancouver Sun where every riding was profiled. It had a map that showed what the top 3 countries immigrants were from. For Victoria-Beacon hill I belive either Germany or England was the top country. What was really interesting was that Germany was often in or near the top spot in many other ridings in places like White Rock and the North Shore. Asian countries were first in places like Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey; I think India was the top country for Surrey.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 10:16 PM   #34
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(QUOTE) listening to Arthur Erickson about urban planning is truly ridiculous. He has built two ugly universities (SFU & U of S)

i like SFU alot, i think it is a nice piece of architecture. have you ever walked around it? its awesome
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Old June 1st, 2005, 01:12 AM   #35
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SFU falls under that famous real estate slogan - Location, location, location. If you put the campus in the middle of east van it wouldn't be that great. I have walked up there and the view is amazing, but that is it. It is a great school though. I know lots of people that have gone there and have had great profs etc.

On a different note, has anyone heard anything about the Express bus plans for Western Communities and Sidney. I know that they were mentioned in that Transportation 2020 document that CRD put out, but is anything going to come of it. I am not a fan of "Rapid Bus" but anything would be an improvement over what we have now. I would like to know where the bus stops would be and how far apart they would be.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 02:11 AM   #36
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Yes, Vancouver does have some heritage. That was mostly to raise the ire of Vancouverites. But it is an afterthought in Vancouver; whereas the best part of victoria is actually the old part.

The biggest reason Victoria doesn't need any tall buildings is because the ones we already have aren't full - tons of space downtown is empty.

Yes If Victoria built more tall buildings it could be like other great cities with tall buildings - Atlanta, Georgia; Omaha, Nebraska or Montgomery, Alabama. Wouldn't that be fantastic.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 03:51 AM   #37
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^You left out, London England, Paris France, New York USA, Istanbul Turkey, Montreal Canada, and countless other beautiful cities, your bias against tall buildings still doesn't make much sense. Yes there are many heritage buildings in Victoria with empty space, the reason for this is the prohibitive cost of seismic retrofitting, and other upgrades neccessary to bring the buildings up to code for occupancy. Until the costs can be justified I don't expect many of those buildings to fill up, meanwhile I don't think the city should be left to rot making it less desirable to live in, and thus making the likleyhood a developer will refubish heritage structures even less likley.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 04:20 AM   #38
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Heritage is an afterthought in Vancouver? Never been to Gastown I take it? That's Vancouver's Old Town and it's at par with what Victoria has to offer. If you're comparing Vancouver to other major centres in the east than you're not taking into account the young age of Vancouver compared to the rustbelt.

As for Victoria's heritage structures, the only reason they are so majestic is because of their testament to Victoria's once pro-business and pro-development attitude. The city wanted to accel architecturally and create extravagance. Today? This extravagance is nonexistant because a group of vocal Victorian's still prefer to downplay any serious efforts to bring us worthy modern architecture by slandering developers and calling new proposals "monstrocities." I would suggest to you and persons like you that your efforts are best spent in rebuilding historic structures rather than stopping progress elsewhere. If you can't do that, move into one by suppoting developers who do rebuild them. In other words, put your money where your mouth is.

I have yet to see significant heritage structures come under the wrecking ball to make way for some modern horror, yet NIMBYs instill fear in people by alluding to that in their arguments (no, no monstrocities over old buildings, they scream). I have yet to see that actually happen (you know, the destruction of a beautiful, functional and structurally capable building) but you wouldn't know it by the arguments used by anti-development Victorians. In their eyes the whole city is one massive historic structure that they think makes Victoria unique. In actuality our "Old Town" is a fragment of the size most North American cities refer to as their old quarters. On another note, if Europe can manage to build beautiful modern structures among centuries old pieces of architectural genius then why can't Victoria?
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Old June 1st, 2005, 04:31 AM   #39
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Speaking about old and new. In my hood, North Park. On Quadra and North park there is an old building on the corner and right next to it is a new ultra modern townhouse project, The Bohemia. Personally I think it looks pretty cool and a nice example of urban in-fill. I heard it is already half sold. Neither building detracts from the other, in fact they compliment each other.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 04:42 AM   #40
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^Bingo! It's been done in Europe for over a thousand years but Victorian's believe we ought to live a time-frozen bubble where nothing changes and nothing happens.
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