From all of us at the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, we are grateful to have the support and encouragement of members and placemakers in our network over the years. As 2021 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect back on the past twelve months. Finding ways to stay connected, our strong network has successfully completed many placemaking projects in and around the Capital Regional District. Here is our Year In Review. In the future, we look forward to building future placemaking projects and Making Great Places Together!
2021: Our Year In Review
Truth and Reconciliation Books for Kids
Throughout 2021, GVPN members and supporters helped us to reach our first fundraising goal in less than 24 hours, enabling us to deliver 902 copies of the Truth and Reconciliation: Calls to Action booklet to every little free library in the Greater Victoria Area, as a small way to help with reconciliation. This first phase of the project was a fantastic success! We noticed, however, that the booklets we were distributing, while being densely packed with important information, were not particularly accessible to younger people.
Recently, GVPN has launched a GoFundMe campaign to purchase copies of books for children and young adults centered around truth and reconciliation. Volunteers would then distribute these books to the 583+ little free libraries around the Capital Regional District, BC, Canada. Our fundraising goal is $10,000 and funds will allow us to purchase at least one book per Little Free Library in the region. Read more about truth and reconciliation books for younger people.
Firefly Trail (Banfield Park, Victoria West)
We welcomed 2021 by illuminating The Firefly Trail. GVPN placemakers installed solar-powered fairy lights along a forested connector trail connecting Banfield Park to the Galloping Goose. The project helped to “light-up” a dark area of the park, beautifying and creating a more inviting space. The Firefly Trail fostered positive dark-hours experiences by providing a winter-time point of interest. The Firefly Trail project was in-place from December 2020 to March 2021, and was made possible with City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood Grant Program.
Humboldt Pocket Plaza
In downtown Victoria, this busy intersection (where Humboldt Street meets Burdett Avenue and Douglas Street) is now a place for connections. The Humboldt Pocket Plaza project was made possible with City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood Grant Program. GVPN volunteers and commissioned artists completed a four-colour street mural; the City of Victoria installed the bike racks and street furniture. The square is now accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, and features an all-season ping pong table!
Broad Street Pedestrian Placemaking
The Broad Street pedestrian access is an ever-evolving project made possible with City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood Grant Program, with important contributions from local businesses on Broad Street, as well as Cascadia Architects, Hansenbuilt and Cloverdale Paint. GVPN volunteers contributed time and energies towards repainting benches and street furniture. The project involved detailed design and laser cuts for a new Little Free Library. Broad Street is accessible for neighbours and visitors, and has included on-street musical performances to enliven the public space with foot traffic that is open to all.
Curbside Colour Selected as Neighbourhood Spaces
Throughout 2021, several members of GVPN participated in the Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee. The community-led group of volunteers embraced this year’s theme ‘Neighbourhood Spaces’ and engaged with communities to encourage project proposals. Neighbourhood Spaces is a great match for placemaking in that projects will encourage social connection and belonging, community identity and expressions, connections with nature and deepen community resilience. On December 14, the City of Victoria announced this year’s projects will include the GVPN ‘Curbside Colour’ street mural project, as well as a community hub, an artist billboard, live performances, and an outdoor movie night organized by other community groups.
Partnership Projects in the Placemaking Network
GVPN has been pleased to lend administrative support to community-led projects that are funded through My Great Neighbourhood Grants from City of Victoria. Our placemaking network partners have completed many creative projects that help to bring people together in great places. For example, installing planter boxes on Madison Street, extending traffic-calming features on Brighton Street, and provide points of casual social contact and sense of place on Clare Street. GVPN partnered with Building Resilient Neighbourhoods and Neighbour Lab to install seating and create a new hub of connection where the Galloping Goose meets Harbour Road.
Little Free Libraries are expanding!
Since August 2017, the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Pocket Places Project has been delivering books to little free libraries (LFLs) around the region, and in November 2021, project lead Teale Phelps Bondaroff added the 50,000th book to a LFL. For those who are curious about which book, a copy of Chris Hadfield’s ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,’ was left in the Republic of North Park Little Free Library on Queens Ave. Victoria. To date, the project has helped build and install over 75 LFLs and mapped out LFLs in the region, which has the highest documented density of LFLs in Canada. There are now over 583+ LFLs in Greater Victoria and the gulf islands, the highest density of little book boxes in the country. Read more
Amazing Places Podcast
Originated by Dean Murdock, GVPN Board Director, and hosted by Michele Sealey. Amazing Places is a podcast celebrating dynamic, people-centred places.