2011 HERITAGE CONSERVATION
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Beacon Hill Park Bandstand
City of Victoria
Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park was formally brought into being in 1882 when the Province of British Columbia granted the 75 hectare property to the City to be held in trust. The park encompasses a remarkable array of features, ranging from native habitats and landscapes containing rare and endangered plants, to manicured gardens, playing fields, and historic buildings, structures and monuments. Beacon Hill Park defines the very essence of Victoria and was designated a municipal heritage site in 2009.
The Bandstand is an important feature of Beacon Hill Park and is significant for its social, cultural, architectural and zoological history. It appears to have been the very first structure built in the park, installed before the famous rustic Stone Bridge. Constructed as a bandstand in 1888, it is a characteristically ornate Victorian wooden building. Built at a cost of $300, it was one of a series of improvements completed just prior to the 1889 landscape design competition which was to shape the park’s future.
The park’s first venue for cultural and entertainment activities, in 1900 the bandstand was relocated to its current position, closer to the Stone Bridge. In 1927, no longer required as a venue for music, the bandstand was converted into an aviary which it remained until 1989. For the next couple of decades it was unused and received little maintenance.
In 2008, the site was recommended for restoration and adaptation as an historical interpretive kiosk. A Heritage Impact Study followed, which focused on the significant history and architecture of the structure and its contextual relationship within the Park. Possible interventions were assessed, leading to a recommendation for restoration and rehabilitation.
The bandstand project took place in 2010. Careful and thorough restoration returned the 1888 structure to its original appearance, while rehabilitation provided a contemporary but compatible use. Thanks to the thoughtful heritage policies of the City of Victoria and a sensitive intervention, the bandstand has been fully and gloriously reinstated as a significant and colourful part of the built history of Beacon Hill Park.