THE MOST DIGNIFIED and aesthetically-pleasing structure in Victoria and indeed in all of British Columbia is the Central Legislative Building on the Inner Harbour waterfront. It was opened in 1898, at a time which saw industrial, political, technical and social changes as bewildering to our forefathers as those of recent years have been to us. In 1880 Victoria's population was only 6,000. By I goo it was 20,2 1 g, representing a threefold increase in 20 years. In spite of periodical short-term setbacks, the city in general hummed with industry, diversified to an extent the city has never since achieved. Sealing, salmon-canning, shipbuilding and ship chandlering, the carriage trade, and brewing were among industries which provided employment for 1 2 ,ooo workers, one half of them in fish canneries: one third of invested capital was in sash and door factories. The Portland newspaper The West Shore described Victoria in in 1889 as "a city pre-eminently to delight the heart of the tourist with more than a dozen good hotels, one or two of them worldrenowned." It went on to portray the city as the largest and wealthiest in the province with the largest iron works on the Pacific coast outside San Francisco ( the Albion Iron Works), five boot and shoe factories, a sawmill, planing mill, box factory, wire works, corset factory, vinegar and pickling establishments, meat packing house, cooperage works, a dozen cigar factories, two soap works, book binderies, several breweries. and so on. ..._ The Victoria Times in 1890 claimed that the city had three times the combined wealth of Nanaimo, Vancouver and New Westminster. It estimated the personal property of citizens to be worth $6,386,830. It was a remarkable transformation when one recalls that only seven years before, the City's three electric streetlights wer~ turned off when the moon was shining in order to save electricity. In 1889, 32 sealers left Victoria and brought back pelts valued at $247,170. In the same year salmon valued at $1,890,200 was exported in 335,458 cases. The Dunsmuirs who spent generously in Victoria as for instance in the building of Craigdarroch Castle, earned their money mainly from coal and in one year exported 5,798,307 tons from Nanaimo. Although there were temporary economic setbacks, notably the United States financial panic in the years 1893 to 1897, the optimism engendered by the prosperous years was carried over in the decision to erect a Parliament Building worthy of the province. There was a political motive too. The establishment of the Parliament Buildings in Victoria was and is still a sore point with many on the Mainland. Originally, it will be recalled, the province consisted of two Crown colonies, both with their own legislature. Vancouver Island with Victoria as capital was one. New Caledonia, capital in New Westminster, was the other. The colonies were united in 1 866 when both were hopelessly in debt. Vancouver Island owed $293,689 and the Mainland colony $1,002,953. The service of Vancouver Island's debt consumed one-third of the revenue. Location of parliament would bring immense advantages to whichever capital was chosen. It would increase real estate values owing to the transfer of civil servants to the new capital ( with consequent declines in real estate values in the old capital) ; it meant more employment, more influencing of government expenditure, political appointments and legislation which would probably favour the chosen capital at the expense of its rival. Victoria must acknowledge its debt to King Alcohol for being chosen as the site of the combined parliament. Both Victoria and New Westminster had their spokesmen. New Westminster entrusted 73 to Captain William Hales Franklyn presentation of its case to the Legislative Council. Franklyn, a N anaimo magistrate, was a former P.&O. captain who lost his job for misconduct. Franklyn was "halfseas over" when he began to read his carefully-prepared speech. He found his script rather blurred. The Council recessed to allow him time to recover, but according to one version, while he was recovering, a Victoria champion removed the lenses from his eyeglass frames. After the recess he could not read at all. When the vote was put, New Westminster lost the day. The replacement of the old "Birdcages" by the fine stone Central Building would, many Victorians thought, silence once and for all those Mainlanders who kept up a constant agitation about Parliament being located here. But even as late as 1914 when the east and west wings were added to the Main Building, many on the Mainland were still pressing for the Legislative Buildings to be transferred brick by brick if necessary to the Mainland. The Mainland can, of course, point to its population and industry far exceeding that of Vancouver Island as a reason for locating Parliament across the water. But, on the other hand, Victoria is the oldest British colony on the Pacific coast. Without Victoria and its shrewd pioneer administrator James Douglas, there might never have been a Canadian New Westminster or Vancouver. The establishment of the Vancouver Island settlement in 1848 played a significant role in the negotiation of the Oregon Boundary Treaty which left all land north of the 49th parallel to Canada ( an exception being made for the southern part of Vancouver Island on which Victoria is situated) . The scope and cost of the Parliament Building evoked much criticism. When it was started in 1893 by order of Premier Theodore Davie the total provincial population was only 175,000 and that of Victoria only 1 7 ,ooo. The cost of the building was to be $600,000 - an enormous sum when the annual revenue of the province was only $1,500,000. In fact it actually cost $923,000, half as much again as the estimate. It was opened by Premier J. H. Turner in 1898. Turner arrived here at the time of the gold rush, developed a successful business as carpet merchant and after the premiership was appointed B.C. Agent .. , General in London. He had a beautiful home at the corner of Bay and Pleasant Streets (Point Ellice), was a keen horticulturalist and achieved a life ambition when he retired in London on a property near the famous Kew Gardens. As premier, Turner headed a power party which consisted chiefly of businessmen who had made their stake in mining, salmon canning, railroad construction and wholesale merchandising. Among them were many of his former business associates. With minor exceptions only local materials and local labour were used in construction. The foundations and steps are of granite from Nelson Inlet in the Malaspina Strait. The masonry is faced with andesite from the Haddington Quarries, 200 miles north of Victoria, while the slate for the roof, enduring because of its high silica and alumina content, came from Jervis Inlet. The minor exceptions are the hand-wrought iron gates at the main entrance which came from London, England, and the marble lining the rotunda which is from Tennessee. Labour in the 189o's had not acquired the militancy of later years and only two strikes marred construction, neither of them over wages. A stonecutters' strike was caused by a workman being accused of spoiling a stone. The masons' strike which followed was due to accusations that they were holding up the work. This strike was settled when the masonry contractor fortuitously drowned while on his way to the quarries. Although pleased to have the job of building the Legislature, many Victoria workmen could not rid themselves of the idea that others (foreigners) might be getting undue benefits. To counter malicious rumours, Fred Adams, contractor for the masons' work, found it necessary to publish a list of names and nationalities of those employed, proving that out of several score workmen only seven were United States citizens. Contracts were awarded inter alia to Bishop & Sherborne, carpenters, Richard Drake, plasterers, Albion Iron Works Co., H. T. Flett, plumbing, W. H. Perry, coppersmith and E. Spillman, painters. Superintendent of Works was E. C. Howell with Victor Moretti as fresco artist and decorator. Following the drowning of Adams, McGregor & Jones took over as general contractors and it is interesting to note that Fred Mc- 75 ,.I Gregor, a son of the contractor, is Canada's champion and Victoria's senior life insurance salesman. Designs for the building were invited from all over the continent. Winner was a 26-year-old English architect who had arrived in Victoria only a month earlier. He was Frank Mawson Rattenbury who already had a number of public buildings in England to his credit. The front of the main Parliament Building is imposing with the statues of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie and Sir James Douglas flanking the entrance. But many people consider the rear even more attractive than the front. The east and west wings which were added in I g 12 at a cost of $1,000,000 are seen to better advantage from the rear because of the greater depth of frontage. The east and west wings doubled the floor area of the Main Building. The inset figures at the rear portray Sir Anthony Musgrave, Chief Maquinna of Nootka, and John Bunyan substituting for David Thomson who located the source of the Columbia River. The sculptor could find no likeness of Thomson from which to portray him in stone, but the daughter of the famous explorer said he was John Bunyan's double, so the author of Pilgrim's Progress impersonating Thomson is the result. On the library wing are more sculptures. C. Maroza, the artist, had a sculptor's gala with them. Chief Maquinna and Chief Justice Begbie are both double features. Statues to them already existed elsewhere in the buildings. Others are of John McLaughlin, Hudson's Bay factor, Dr. J. S. Helmcken, first speaker of the House, Captain Cook, Sir James Douglas, Sir Francis Drake, Lord Lytton ( to whom our first officials owed their appointments), Sir Anthony Musgrave and General Moody. Many well-known politicians of the time would have liked to have been immortalized in stone on the buildings. One may assume that the decision to sculpt two men who had little to do with Vancouver Island, namely Captain Cook and Sir Francis Drake, saved a lot of heartburn among rival claimants. The visitor cannot miss the murals in the rotunda, the work of Victoria's George Southwell, and should also see the photographs of Victoria Cross heroes. A curious oversight by architect Rattenbury was the omission of washrooms in the Main Building. K. K1gan, tne carernKer, nuLeu "the entire absence of anything in the shape of lavatory accommodation for either ladies or gents which has been found very awkward at times when entertainment is in progress. We are compelled to furnish the crudest accommodation for the ladies and gents who have a long distance to travel before reaching a lavatory and then find it crowded." Unwittingly the reader of Mr. Rigan's notes conjures up the picture of a tremendous run on fire buckets as the caretaker answers the frantic appeals of panic-stricken guests. Outlining of the buildings at night with over 3,000 light bulbs, which were first switched on for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, was a happy thought. It continues today and as a result the Parliament Buildings are beyond doubt the most photographed buildings in the province. Many of the original bulbs have never been replaced. The Buildings were illuminated even before completed, so proud was Victoria of them. H.M. ships Imperieuse and Amphion and the American battleships Columbine and Alert arrived here for the first illumination. Official opening of the Main Legislative Building was in 1899. Rattenbury, who designed the Parliament Buildings, was also responsible for the Empress Hotel, C.P.S. Pavilion, Crystal Gardens, renovation of the Courthouse ( on Bastion Square) and Bank of Montreal buildings, the latter on Government Street. His home in Victoria was on Beach Drive and is now the Glenlyon Preparatory School for boys. His fame as an architect was overshadowed by the drama of his death. In Victoria he met a Mrs. Caledon Dolly ( maiden name Alma Victoria Clark) and the result of the liaison was the citing of the latter as co-respondent by Rattenbury's first wife. Mrs. Caledon Dolly was 3 1 when she met Rattenbury, many years younger than the architect, pretty, highly strung and married twice before. Her first husband was killed in World War I. She left her second husband and returned to Victoria to strike up a friendship with Rattenbury. He married her after his divorce and took her to England in 1928. They resided in Bournemouth, but there the architect became melancholic and obsessed with financial forebodings. Both he and the new Mrs. Rattenbury 77 were heavy drinkers. Mrs. Rattenbury used to accuse him of being parsimonious, but they tolerated each other, leading separate lives under the same roof. Before long Mrs. Rattenbury became enamoured of a 19-year-old chauffeur-handyman by the name of George Percy Stoner, whom she had engaged. In 1935, seven years after their return to England, the architect, reclining in a chair, was attacked from behind and murdered with a blow from a carpenter's mallet. Both Stoner and Mrs. Rattenbury were charged with murder, but the case against Mrs. Rattenbury could not be proved. Stoner stoutly maintained that he alone was responsible. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life and soon after the sentence Mrs. Rattenbury stabbed herself to death. Rattenbury's free classic style design of the Parliament Buildings with their copper-sheathed cupolas are a great tourist attraction. The canning and sealing, shipbuilding and manufacturing which prompted the optimism of the times are now mostly history. But tourism has remained: the Main Building was responsible for drawing 70,000 tourists here in 1899, and Parliament has continued to be a main tourist attraction ever since. The location of the province's main body of civil servants in Victoria ( about 5,000 are located here) has proved an immense boon to the economy, constitutes the city's biggest single payroll and insures it to an appreciable extent against economic ups and downs. To the salaries of civil servants must be added the spending by members of the Legislature, by visiting businessmen and dignitaries and the considerable outlays on the grounds and on maintenance and office supplies. The civil service has also been largely responsible for Victoria's conservative character. Method and unhurried routine which are the hallmarks of government administrators is reflected in the more settled manner of life of many residents. They live here and wish to stay here. Their interests are in the beautiful gardens for which Victoria is renowned, in the multitude of cultural societies and in municipal government in which many play a prominent role. But this also led until recent years to a passiveness and nonaggressive approach to living which led many outside critics to ..... describe Victoria as "the only cemetery with a snoppmg cemn:. All business was in tried and trusted hands, which joined to form a circle into which newcomers found it very difficult to break. It was possibly responsible for an overemphasis on safety as evidenced by the multiplicity of traffic lights and "stop" signs and restrictions which visitors from the Mainland find galling. A visit to the Legislative Assembly chamber which was modelled on that of the Mother of Parliaments is, of course, imperative for the visitor. Equally impressive is the Provincial Library. The grounds of the Legislative Buildings are also of great interest to the historically- minded. The fine Victoria Centennial Fountain at the rear of the Buildings, was activated in 1962. Native fauna from which British Columbia Indians derived their totems are modelled around the fountain. Flanking Parliament Buildings on the west is the Confederation Garden opened in 1967 with its fountain and eternal flame, shields of the provinces, and other symbols of Canadian identity. Facing the waterfront is a plinth paying tribute to Sir James Douglas, Royal Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony for many years. The profusion of flags in front and behind the Parliament Buildings can be somewhat confusing to the foreign visitor. The Maple Leaf on the main flagstaff was first flown as the new flag of Canada in 1965. It superseded the Canadian Ensign with its four quarterings depicting the national emblems of England, Scotland, Ireland and France. The Maple Leaf flag has met with a less enthusiastic reception in Victoria than in other parts of Canada and indeed, in 1970, the substitution of the Maple Leaf for the Union Jack was challenged for its legality in the courts by a Victoria citizen. Victoria's affection for the Union Jack derives partly from the fact that the city was until recently predominantly British, but also because the Royal Canadian Navy warships stationed here were modelled predominantly on British naval tradition. Many Canadian soldiers who fought under the Union Jack and mothers who lost their sons in the two World Wars in which Canadian contingents made Canada's reputation as a fighting nation have an emotional attachment to it. 79 The Maple Leaf flag, on the other hand, appealed to the pride of many Canadian-born citizens who felt the Dominion had now grown up and was entitled in its own right to be an independent nation. The British tradition is remembered in the Union Jack flying from a separate flagstaff and in the flag held by Captain Vancouver whose statue adorns the main cupola. Another acknowledgment of the link with Britain is made in the separate British Columbia flag. This flag was authorized for use in the province in 1960 and has "three silver and blue wavy bars from the bottom of which a shining half sun in natural colours under the Union Jack bearing in the centre a golden antique crown." Occupying a central position of honour on the Parliament lawns is the statue of Queen Victoria from which our city derives its name. Mounted on a base of Swedish granite, it is the work of Allan Bruce Joy, a well-known London architect of his period, who was not at all pleased with its siting. He intended the statue to be nearer the main entrance to the Legislative Buildings where the fountain, built by a New York firm at a cost of $1400 in 1905, is situated. He complained that the Queen's statue in its present location can be viewed only "at the risk of being run over by a car or falling in the water." In the northeast corner of the grounds is the War Memorial.