James Bay Rain Garden

Once upon a time (way back in the 90’s) I went to the park on the corner of Superior and St. Lawrence streets to enjoy a game of softball.  The sun was shining, the game was fun, but the temperature was several degrees below the rest of town.  Despite the gorgeous site at Fisherman’s Wharf, it was one of my least favourite parks to hang out in.

new life for the park at Fisherman's Wharf
photo by SVSeekins

Recently this park has climbed up several notches in my esteem.  The city of Victoria has completed a massive makeover.

rolling hills & wandering trails circle the rain garden
photo by SVSeekins

Now it’s a leap to imagine the flat sports field.  Brand spanking new hills block views of the urban streets & buildings.  The varied landscape creates a feeling of privacy.  It makes the green space seem larger than it really is.

Wandering pathways lead to several garden rooms.  I especially like with the emphasis on native plants & trees.  A walk along one of the trails feels so much more peaceful than one on the sidewalk just a few yards away.

excess water will flood into the storm drain (far left)
photo by SVSeekins

Part of the new design is a rain garden.  By coincidence  the same folks that created the Atrium rain garden that I like so much, also came up with this design.

The James Bay project has a much larger retention pond than the little boulevards at Yates and Blanchard streets.

It’s engineered so that the local streets & parking areas provide the runoff water for the large rain garden.  Notice how deep the pond can get before excess water flows into the raised storm drain.  I’m so curious to come back to see the ponds in the peak of rainy season.

in homage to the shoreline & sandy beach of years ago
photo by SVSeekins

A stone wall winds around the park, showing where the natural shoreline used to be.  In one place, The Victoria Parks Department has even gone to the length of adding sand, grasses and logs reminiscent of the past beach.  Isn’t it charming?

the playground near Fisherman's Wharf
photo by SVSeekins

Being near all the boats at Fisherman’s Wharf, it seems suitable that the playground matches with a shipwreck at its entry gate

An open grassy areaa looks out at Fishernan's Wharf
photo by SVSeekins

And for folks that really do want to throw around a baseball, there still is a wide open grassy area.  My imagination has an active game of Frisbee tag keeping me warm against the cool sea breeze.

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© copyright 2013 SVSeekins

Is It Art?

solar powered compactor 1
photo by Barbara Hansen

Is garbage art?  Well, I reckon that even if the garbage itself isn’t, at least the garbage container can be.  We ran across this example on the Westsong Walkway the other day.

Kinda pretty, isn’t it?

solar powered compactor 1
photo by Barbara Hansen

It’s also kinda useful.  It’s a handy place to store garbage – and apparently it will hold a good deal of it.  It’s not only a container – it’s a compactor (and a solar-powered one at that!)

Esquimalt has used the ‘Big Belly’ compactors since 2007.  Considering that the compactor can contain 5 to 10 times the load of a regular trash can, it sure makes for a more tidy park – and for a decent savings in garbage collection.

It’s no wonder we’re starting to see more of these machines around.  I especially look forward to seeing more artistic ones.

Here’s a thought – where have you seen one?  was it pretty, too?  🙂

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© copyright 2013 SVSeekins

Human Sundial

Sundial at BC's Government House
photo by SVSeekins

Sundials are pretty in a garden & all, but do they actually work?  How accurate are they?  And honestly – what’s the point?

Interactive Sundial 1/4
photo by Barbara Hansen

The other day I happened across an interactive sundial.

Interactive Sundial 2/4
photo by SVSeekins

It’s huge – – spanning a wide intersection of pathways at the Ogden Point Breakwater.  The interaction happens when a person stands in one particular spot on the giant clock.  From that spot a shadow is cast across the clock.  The numbers around the edge identify the time.

Interactive Sundial 3/4
photo by SVSeekins

Yup, it works!  And go figure – throughout the year it keeps time varying 15 minutes at the most.

Now I can time my walks along the breakwater, start to finish, without looking at my watch.

It’s fun & functional public art.   🙂

(Kudos go out to the BC Capital Commission,  the Victoria Harbour Authority, and artist Andrei Golovkine for getting this BC 150 Legacy Project done.)

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© copyright 2013 SVSeekins

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  • Ogden Point before the handrails
  • Ogden Point after the handrails

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