Published On: Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ogden Point Breakwater Receives $350K Heritage Canada Grant

Ogden Point Breakwater Receives $350K Heritage Canada Grant

VICTORIA - A matching grant of $350,000 from the Department of Canadian Heritage will help the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority mark the 100th anniversary of the Ogden Point breakwater in style.

The grant is especially good news, as it comes just in time for a weekend celebration of the centenary, planned for the morning of Saturday, September 23 at Ogden Point.

“We are very appreciative of this contribution from Canadian Heritage,” says GVHA CEO Ian Robertson. “This is a wonderful way to mark both Canada’s 150th, and the breakwater’s 100th, and will allow us to enhance this iconic structure.”

Plans for the breakwater were begun after the Panama Canal opened in 1913, and the last of more than 10,000 granite blocks, each weighing up to 15 tons, was placed on the structure in 1917.

It was designed to protect the piers at Ogden Point, to allow for safer loading and offloading of goods from international shipping without having to navigate through treacherous waters off Shoal Point.

The breakwater was built so solidly that in 100 years it’s only needed very minor repairs. In 2013, GVHA installed handrails, which made it much safer for walking and sightseeing, and in 2015 Songhees and Esquimalt artists finished the most recent phase of the painting that makes up the Unity Wall murals, Na’Tsa’Maht.

With matching funding from Canadian Heritage, GVHA will design and implement an enhancement to the existing structure, a project that may include work by Esquimalt and Songhees artisans and carvers, interpretive panels, and viewing platforms and benches. Draft designs for the project have not yet been finalized, but will be shared with the public as the project advances.

In the meantime, GVHA will celebrate the breakwater’s centenary with a drop-in event open to the public, welcoming and thanking the Victoria community, which has made the structure one of the city’s signature attractions. Details for the event:

  • Breakfast at the Breakwater | Saturday, September 23 | 8:30AM - 11AM | Ogden Point Breakwater
    • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and Empire Donuts;
    • Kids’ activities;
    • Interpretation of the stories and symbols of the Unity Wall with Gary Sam of Songhees Nation; and
    • Historic walk and talk on the breakwater with Denton Pendergast of Victoria Harbour History Instagram walk and photo contest.