Previously located in Bastion Square for nearly a decade, Commerce Canoe is now the focal point of the newly opened Triangle Green plaza.
The Triangle Green plaza near the Johnson Street Bridge is now open for public use and features new trees, a seating area, lighting, landscaping, and improved pedestrian and multi-use access.
The City of Victoria removed the art installation designed by lllarion Gallant on October 17th after city council voted to move the canoe to the triangle traffic island, bordered by Johnson, Pandora, and Wharf Streets.
The Commerce Canoe symbolizes the canoe as an indigenous vessel when local first peoples traveled coastal waters prior to European contact.
Traditionally, First Nations would harvest rice in waterways by tapping ripened kernels into the canoes, thus the red seed pods depict starch as a commodity.
The initial plans for the plaza were going to feature the Orca Project public art project, but were cancelled after the animal-inspired installation was deemed unfeasible.
Because of the Commerce Canoe sculpture’s scale, the material used and the theme, it was determined that the artwork would integrate well into the triangle island adjacent to the harbour.
“The new plaza provides a vibrant gateway to downtown that celebrates public art and welcomes everyone entering the urban core with new plantings and bright colour,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.
“The new green space complements other recent improvements near the waterfront and provides a cheerful space for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in this bustling location.”
The new black tupelo trees planted in the plaza were donated by the Royal Commonwealth Society Vancouver Island Branch to mark the Common Centennial Celebration.
“Our ongoing Trees for Life campaign is a natural fit to celebrate our centennial with the City of Victoria and Triangle Green,” said David Spence, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society Vancouver Island Branch.
“Black tupelo trees grow in this beautiful garden and can lead the way across divides by building bridges with democracy, diplomacy, and diversity.”
The City of Victoria was recently recognized with a Tree Cities of the World award from the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which recognizes cities and towns committed to ensuring their urban forests and trees are properly maintained and sustainably managed.
The City increased tree planting by 40 per cent in 2020 and planted 500 new trees in parks and on boulevards. As we head into spring, residents are also encouraged to plant trees on private property and there are helpful resources on the City’s website to help with selection, planting and care at victoria.ca/treesincities.