HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 10 — 1995 to 2016
January 29, 2013
941 Clent St, one of the 14 civilian houses expropriated in 1942, remains empty to date, although some roof maintenance was done.
February 17, 2013
The 343 – 353 Anson St Six Block PMQ, built in the early 1950’s, was demolished and the site cleaned up. This building had been contaminated and had sat empty for a couple of years. This building was a generic PMQ styled building and as such had no heritage reference.
Goldstream News Gazette
SURPLUS DND BUILDING FLOATS AWAY TO NEW HOME
An island couple have come to the rescue of a DND heritage home previously slated for the scrapyard. The property, located at 316 Anson St. near Macaulay Point, is the former home of John Jardine, Esquimalt’s representative in the Provincial Assembly from 1907 to 1912.
The heritage committee for the Township of Esquimalt cried foul in September when Parks Canada said the building didn’t qualify for heritage protection and it was placed on DND’s surplus inventoery list. But early Monday morning, the three storey wood-framed structure was loaded onto a barge and towed to a half-acre lot between Buckley Bay and Union Bay.
The Parks Canada reference was queried by a local Parks Canada official but was not concerned when he realized that the FHBRO (Federal Heritage Building Review Office) was the intended department.They should be curious though, as the FHBRO evaluation process predictibly scored just under the required 50 points to afford a level of heritage status that requires enhanced involvement when disposing of surplus property, a scene common for at least the Work Point buildings and possibly Fort Macaulay structures.
The operation is nothing new for buyers Ben and Jen Ford. This couple have replanted six heritage houses along east coast of Vancouver Island since 2006, including their current home in Union Bay, which originated in Vancouver’s Dunbar neighbourhood. “We’re pretty unique in what we do,” Ben said. “Years later, you look back and realize it’s very different than what most other people call a profession.”
A key factor on moving the home ws in purchasing a lot close to the water, he added. Because of the building’s height, BC Hydro crews were on hand Friday to remove electrical obstacles as house movers Nickel Brothers wheeled the structure toward the shoreline at Macaulay Point. “The DND was wanting to remove the house one way or another, so we did about two months of work in about a week and a half,” said Ben.
Biological and geotechnical surveys had to be completed on a creek bed running through the Buckley Bay property, and the couple were responsible for readying the interior of the house for the move.
Jack Bates, a military heritage advocate who fought to save the building, said he’s glad the Fords came forward with a compromise. “If it can’t stay on site with some form of enterprise to make it pay for itself…at least it’s being relocated,” he said.
The home features first-cut pine and fir flooring, a split staircase and four original fireplaces. It was most recently used as a child-care facility for DND staff, according to federal documents. “It’s a win – win for everybody,” Ford said. “The DND gets the house out of there in a politically correct manner, the Hallmark ociety is happy and it wasn’t destroyed and we’ve got an amazing project to work on.”
Nickel Brothers driver starts up his truck in preparation to move a house from 316 Anson St. on Department of National Defence land to a barge at the shoreline near Macaulay Point. The building was towed up island to Buckley Bay on Monday.
It was a beautiful 4 am morning when the house was loaded onto the barge at the Macaulay Plains beach and sailed away in tact “into the sunrise.”
HISTORIC ESQUIMALT HOME TAKES UP NEW RESIDENCE
COMOX: - A historic, 116 year old home saved from demolition is starting a new life in the Comox valley, trucked to its new lot in Buckley Bay after arriving on a barge.
The “Ellerslie” is a Victorian farmhouse bult in 1897 for John Jardine, who served as Liberal MLA for Esquimalt from 1907 tp 1912, and his wife. The couple lived in the house until 1937, when jardine died. His wife lived there until 1940, at which time it is believed that the Department of National Defence took possession of the home. It has since been used for a number of purposes, but never again as a single family home, until now.
“It’s quite a grand home inside, with 10 foot ceilings and four firwplaces” said new owner Ben Ford, who plans to move into the Ellerslie with wife Jen and their four daughters. “We just fell in love with it.” The Fords purchased the house from house-movin company Nickel Brothers. It’s the second house the pair has moved to the Comox Valley and the sixth that they have moved in their lives.
The Comox Valley is fast becoming known as an idal detination for century old heritage homes. The Ellerslie is the third home to be moved to the area in less than a year. Last July, the Fords moved a house, built in 1915, from Vancouver to Union Bay. Though the Fords have made a business out of moving, renovating, and selling heritage homes, they had planned to stay in the Union Bay house for a long run, but when they laid their eyes on the Ellerslie, that all changed.
“We love the house that we’re in in Union Bay, but we have four girls. It has become too tight. The new house is quite a bit larger,” Ford said. Once renovated, the four bed-room home will have more than 3,000 square feet of living space. It also sits on a large lot. Jim Connelly of Nickel Bros. said it’s no wonder the Fords want to live in the Ellerslie. “It’s a beauty,” he said. “It’s just a really elegant building.”
But despite its charm, the home was no longer wanted by DND, which contracted a company to demolish it. Instead, the demolition company called Nickel Bros. “Every once in a while, they see one and say, “This is probably one that Nickel Bros. should look at,” Connelly said. Nickel Bros. was able to work with DND to buy some time to find a buyer for the new home to save it from being demolished. “We almost lost this one a couple of times because it just wasn’t lining up,” said Connelly.
Although there were a number of offers on the house, the Fords were lucky enough to find a suitable property that could accommodate th large home. What would normally take months, locating the lot, getting the permissions, arranging the move and getting the financing in place, was completed in just two weeks because DND was in a hurry to free up the land.
Once all the administrative work was out of the way, the move itself went smoothly and despite some minor difficulty getting the large building over a wet, mushy field in Victoria, the house arrived in good shape. “The public is really behind this,” said Connelly. Who added that people are generally good natured about inconveniences such as power utages and road closures because they are in favour of diverting old houses from landfills.”
Ellerslie House, which was moved from its Esquimalt lot, above, on March 1, has arrived at its new home in the Comox Valley.
These two articles highlite the tale, but there is more to “The Rest of The Story,”and likely more to come when dealing with heritage issues in Work Point where the FHBRO evaluation produces a score “just shy” of the 50 points needed to afford a level of heritage status.
Esquimalt Heritage Design Guidelines Final Report
CRG Consulting (Ottawa)
CFB ESQUIMALT DOCKYARD, SIGNAL HILL, NADEN, WORK POINT
This report materialized on March 28, 2013 to the surprise of everybody in the heritage community in Esquimalt and Victoria even though there was involvement by the local DND and representatives from the Department of National Defence in Ottawa on several occasions with meetings held in Esquimalt starting in January 2011 with the final meeting in February 2013. There was no consultation with the Township of Esquimalt although a DND representative had visited the Archives in search of historical material.
Upon reading the report, with knowledge of CFB Esquimalt’s historical structures and publications, it became obvious that the report was fabricated to eliminate certain buildings in Work Point Barracks. The report excluded FHBRO report 89-205 on Work Point buildings including its history, included 89-202 for the Dockyard and 89-203 for Signal Hill as they supported their respective heritage values. Also not included were two other heritage building reports for Work Point, the NOTC Phase II 2001 heritage report and the 1974 CFB Esquimalt heritage building review by Stevenson and Kellogg, for the DND. These reports all advocated the heritage values of the Work Point buildings.
The Canadian built buildings and cultural landscape dating back to 1887intended to be eliminated were not mentioned in the report, although shown as”to be removed,” are within the original 11.97 acres of Work Point Barracks purchased from the Puget Sound Agricultural Comapany, a subsdiuary of the Hudson’s by Co. One building which is FHBRO Recognized was not identified as such and a very brief history of Work Point Barracks was actually written to appear that the Royal Garrison Artillery brick buildings was how Work Point originated. Of course this is the reference the report is trying to present. In fact, the brick buildings were built in 1902 – 1904 after the barracks was expanded in 1900 by adding approximately 5 acres to Peters and Malvern streets.
Within the original Work Point footprint are currently buildings: # 1004 (1888) Barracks, Recognized; #1020 Headquarters (1898 and rebuilt 1918) Recognized but not identified as such; a cultural landscape “C” Battery field gun and saluting platform” (1891) currently commemorative but not previously discussed; and # 1030 (1897) ammunition and powder magazine incomplete report in 89-205. All the buildings are in use while the saluting battery supports two commemorative dedications. One other building, #1031 (1939) also currently in use, is to be retained.
The RGA precinct contains four brick buildings: # 1068 (1904) Detention Barracks; #1070 (1902) Stores; # 1071 (1902) Sgt.’s Mess; and # 1075 (1902) Barracks, Recognized. All buildings are currently in use. This precinct is the proposed heritage zone the report wishes to preserve. One would not know the other “precinct” existed.
An example of “data harvesting” as one colleague expressed it, or “demolition by report fabrication.”
As well there is no mention of Work Point Point Barracks being a component of the Victoria-Esquimalt Coast Defence Fortifications declared to be of National Historic Importance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1958.
April 4, 2013
In recent correspondence with an official from the National Real Properties Program in Ottawa regarding 361 Anson house, “if the building is not designated by FHBRO, there is absolutely no obligation to inform the local authorities for demolishing a building situated on Base.” This is a “Bricks and Mortar” attitude at its worst, which is easy from Ottawa, easier for the BCEO to initiate or comply, and so convenient if the FHBRO scores are low.
Township of Esquimalt
Council Meeting Agenda:
Presentations: Jon Burbee, Manage rof Real Estate Services, CFB Esquimalt.
This item was of great interest to the heritage minded, but taken with a grain of salt, particularly as a report mentioned not completed yet was the above. Architectural and cultural significance to Canadians was talked about as was that Work Point was open to public involvement. The Historic Sites and Monuments Act of 1985 was referred to and that the DND will follow the guidelines.
Some communication between the Township of Esquimalt and DND followed, however to no avail or future involvements.There is a lot more to this of course and in support of adaptive reuse of historic military buildings in Esquimalt I would like to see more than “moral persuasion” when it comes to dealing with these matters.
May 22, 2013
The new roofing on the former guardhouse, building 1001, was completed today by Parker Johnston and retained a similar colour of shingle. Of course roof vents were added.
Esquimalt Council Meeting Minutes
Moved by Councillor Hodgins / Councillor McKie. That the Fort Macaulay site, located within Macaulay Point Park, be added to the Esquimalt Community Heritage Register, and that the Statement of Significance be approved as presented in the attachment to Staff Report DEV-13-031. Carried unanimously.
This is the SOS I prepared for the site during 2013, a rewarding venture, in which a lot more was learned about the site. The SOS will be forwarded to the BC Heritage Branch for their inclusion and eventually will reside on the historicplaces.ca web site. Thank you to Richard Linzey and Karen Hay for their assistance.
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Common Name: Fort Macaulay
Fort Macaulay is a nineteenth and twentieth century coast artillery defence fortification located on the prominent headland of Macaulay Point, in the Township of Esquimalt, overlooking the entrance to Victoria Harbour and within sight of Esquimalt Harbour. The historic place contains concrete gun emplacements, brick and concrete buildings, an entrance gate, internal ring road with an access tunnel to a command post, and portions of a perimeter defence trench. It is included within “Macaulay Point Park,” a 5.5 hectare (13.6 acres) parcel leased by the Township of Esquimalt from the Department of National Defence for recreational use and historic interest. The site is bounded immediately on the north and east by Department of National Defence (Work Point) lands; on the west by Fleming Bay; and the south by the Strait of Juan de Fuca.1
Fort Macaulay illustrates the Militia defence requirements of the Dominion Government to fulfill the terms of British Columbia entering Confederation in 1871 and reflects a deterrent against the threat of a seaborne attack from Russia or the United States. In 1878, a temporary improvised wood and earthworks battery was built on a 2.97 acre (1.2 hectare) site on Macaulay Point. This land, within the Viewfield Farm of the day, was purchased from the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a farming subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1893, in compliance with the defence agreement between the British and Canadian governments, an adjoining 14 acres (5.7 hectares) were purchased to allow for the construction of an extensive permanent fort to protect a battery of coast artillery guns, thereby ensuring continuing defence adaptability. The temporary battery site was levelled and the new fort was completed in 1895.
Fort Macaulay’s historical value is expressed as a component of the Victoria-Esquimalt Coast Defence Fortifications declared to be of National Historic Importance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1958. It was the longest serving component of the Victoria-Esquimalt Coast Defence Fortifications System and is referred to in the Parks Canada - Fort Rodd Hill Commemorative Integrity Statement - 2003.
Fort Macaulay is valued for its long association with the Canadian Army in British Columbia as it was manned continuously from 1878 to 1956 by local Militia units, Canadian Artillery, interim Royal Artillery, and finally Canadian Artillery units exclusively again from 1906. Notably, Fort Macaulay was used for artillery field training purposes by Canada’s General Sir Arthur W. Currie, prior to and in preparation for World War 1.
Fort Macaulay’s heritage value also lies in the integrity and significance of the cultural landscape representable of the “Twydall Profile.” The “Keep,” with a “Redoubt” overlooking the fort, bears comparison with the “York Redoubt,” a National Historic Site near Halifax, Nova Scotia, and with arrangements at the precedent setting “Beacon Hill” fortress in England.
Fort Macaulay has additional heritage value due to its collective and relatively intact nature when compared to what currently survives of the other Victoria-Esquimalt coastal defence artillery fortifications.2
The historic place provides an important physical and tangible link to the narrative of the evolving science and technology of British Imperial and Canadian coastal and close defence installations on the Pacific coast.
Key elements which define the heritage value of Fort Macaulay include:
The Minute Book
The RCR at Esquimalt 1914-1917
In August 1914, the Canadian Government authorized the establishment of a new company station for The Royal Canadian Regiment. No. 6 Station, at Esquimalt, was home to “L” Company of the Regiment, and provided a western location for the Regiment’s Permanent Force recruiting until the end of 1917. The first officer commanding “L” Company would be Captain Edward Seely-Smith, who was in British Columbia en route to Australia and found his travel halted to organize and command the new Company.
General Orders 1914
G.O. 125 – Organization
G.O. 126 – Establishments 1914-1915
All totals to be amended accordingly’
COLWOOD SEEKS DND LAND
Foundations Last Remains of Historic Building
The City of Colwood is looking to but the land where a landmark department of national defence building once stood. The 1930’s era building near the bridge on Ocean Boulevard sat unused since 2006 and was torn down last week.
Department of National Defence says the building had to be demolished because it was in poor condition and was no longer of any use. The cost to repair the building was too much to justify restoring it, as opposed to the cost of tearing it down. The land the building sat on is also eroding, making the building a liability, said Cpt. Jenn Jackson.
“It’s in poor condition, it’s expensive to repair,” she said. The building foundations were left, said Colwood CAO Chris Pease, because removal could destabilize the land. Any underground tanks will also be removed or filled.
“DND TEARS DOWN “LANDMARK BUILDING”
The building was constructed in 1938 after an earlier building burnt down. At one point the site was the home of a pub called The Dugout. DND took over the building in 1942 and used it as a naval college. In the 1960’s it was used as married quarters, lat by the 4 Canadian Rangers Patrol Group and finally as a fleet maintenance facility from 1993 to 2006.
Jack Bates, a local military historian, laments that the building was allowed to deteriorate to the point where it could not be feasibly saved. Bates said the building was constructed by a member of the Buxton family, a well known name in Victoria military history. “Unfortunately what happens is they let them sit for so long that they become eglected to a point where their value is decreased,” Bates said. “They should have thought of that when they emptied it out. That’s quite a landmark building, you (could) see it from around Macaulay Point.”
With the building down, the City of Colwood started talks with DND in hopes of buying the land. “What we want to do is make the whoe spit a part of a larger park, and this is the last bit that we would like to get a hold of,” Pease said. “So it’s pretty exciting from our perspective.” DND will likely ask for the assessed value of the property, but Pease hopes that because the land would go to public use, and has a limited lifespan due to erosion, a deal may be sorted out.
A “Landmark” National Defence building at Esquimalt lagoon comes down after years spent empty. The City of Colwood is considering the land for part of a public park.
VACANT BUILDING REMOVED
The rumble of back loaders and shouts from construction workers heralded a final goodbye to a long neglected fixture by the Esquimalt lagoon. The stout building that once sat at the mouth of the lagoon was recently taken down by a base Construction and Engineering (BCE) team. “It’s always sad to see buildings like this go,” says Sgt. Don Fraser, Contracts co-ordinator for BCE. “However, when it sits empty as long as this building has it’s really not being used to its full potential.”
The stucco sided, two story building was erected in 1938 andserved as a pub until 1942 when the property was expropriated by the Department of National Defence (DND) and used by Royal Roads. Over the years it served a number of purposes such as married quarters, a station for Canadian rangers patrol groups, and a ship degaussing stationrun by the Fleet maintenance Facility Cape Breton. Despite its past uses the building has been unused since 2006.
“It was decided the cost of maintaining a building that wasn’t going to be used again was too great,” syas Sgt. Fraser. “That, along with land erosion, contributed to the decision to bring the building down.” As the site is across the road from a bird sanctuary and borders the ocean, Sgt. Fraser says utmost care was taken to make sure the building fell in the least impacted way. “We basically dug out the building until it came straight down as opposed to falling towards the ocean or across the road,” he says. “It’s very important to DND to protect against negative environmental impact when we go about our work.”
While the building no longer remains, its materials will find new life in buildings across the region. Flooring, electrical wiring, metal fabrications, and stone used in the construction will be used by local contractors in other projects. “Recycling during this kind of project is so hugely important,” says gt. Fraser. “The more we reycle, the less waste makes it to the landfill. It’s better to go through the extra work of sifting through materials than to deal with the impact of overfilling dumps.”
Base Construction Engineering has removed this building, which served as a pub, married quarters, and a degaussing station at one time in its long life near Esquimalt lagoon.
Another case of the FHBRO evaluation being just under the score required to reveal Recognized heritage status. If interested, the DND, as the custodial department, has the option to request a re-evaluation, however this doesn’t seem to happen !
October 31, 2013
Painting of the exterior of the former guardhouse, building 1001, was completed today by Empress Paint, the white colour repeated but the trim was repainted in forest green, the oldest original colour determinable. This of course was the Army colour of the past number of decades. The new roof and painting of the exterior has revealed a much more vibrant landmark appearance of “The Guardhouse.”
Next on my list is an estimate and approval from the owners for attic insulation and a driveway into the adjacent parking area. The Township of Esquimalt kindly prepared an engineering drawing for a driveway in October 2012, of course so they should after returning the $10,000 to Transport Canada which had been given to the Township for repairs to the roadway along the frontage of 445 Head street, now in their jurisdiction.
By the end of 2013 there were no obvious changes to the structures at Work Point or Fort Macaulay, even though the CRG report was issued, and while the FHBRO study on the Fort Macaulay structures has not been finalized or made available.
WAR TROPHIES RECALL ARMY PAST
First World War Cannons in Esquimalt Tell a Colourful Story
Look closely at the smaller of the two 77 mm field guns in Esquimalt’s Memorial park and its battle-weary wounds begin to show. The punctured metal hints at shots fired by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles before they overwhelmed the Germans at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917.
The Regiment, made up of mostly Victoria based soldiers, seized the anti-tank gun as one of nearly 400 war trophies that would eventually make their way into the hands of Canadian municipalities following the First World War. “This is a storm trooper gun.” says Mike Reed with Esquimalt’s public works department. “The Germans put smaller wheels on it and stripped the unnecessary pieces so troops could pull it to the front line and embed it tighter to the ground.”
Across the park sits a similar weapon, one equipped with larger wheels and shielding. The German 77 mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art field gun was taken at the second battle of Cambrai on Sept. 29, 1918. The cannons comprise two of only three known First World War German field guns in the province, says Colin Wyatt with the Ashton Armoury and Museum in Saanich. “Most of these guns went back into scrap at the beginning of the Second World War,” Wyatt says.
Three quarters of Canada’s war trophy guns were melted down for scrap metal as the war machine ramped up once again, including two similar weapons on the grounds of the B.C. Legistlature in 1941 (See photo) “Apparently, there was another gun at Beacon Hill Park, and one in Oak Bay, but Esquimalt’s are the only two that were saved when we incorporated them as part of our war memorial.” Reed says.
On February 11, public works staff removed the guns to begin glass beaded blasting and refurbishment of corroded metal parts in the run up to the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in August. “In the last number of years, we’ve seen the Naval Centennial and now we’re looking at the First World War centennial leading up to the 150th anniversary of Canada,” says Mayor Barb Desjardines.
Great War Plaque Destined For Lampson
“The connection for our community with the military is huge, and there’s a lot of people who still miss that connection to the army. I had a grandfather at Vimy Ridge.” When the Canadian government gifted Esquimalt the guns in 1920, they were sited at Lampson elementary for five years to commemorate students who had lost their lives in the Great War. Desjardines said the Township will put a memorial plaque at Lampson to recognize that history as well.
In the meantime, Reed and Wyatt continue their feverish research to restore the guns as accurately as possible to their original colour and style. “Nobody seems to know what the true colour was,” Wyatt says. “I think they must have ha these guns in different colours – not intentionally, they were all meant to be field green – but they varied from match to match.
“People may have relatives who were involved in the fighting of these battles. We’d love to find out more about the history of those guns. We also don’t have any photographs of when they were first brought to Esquimalt, so we’d like to see those if they are around.” Reed hopes to return the field guns to Memorial Park in July, as well install accent lighting on the platforms surrounding the war memorial.
“I’m dealing with some Pennsylvania guys who restored a piece like this 20 years ago,” he says. “They’re sending me colour samples on little sticks. So we’re really trying to get this right.”
Library and Archives Canada records show the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles )CMR) was organized in Dec. 1914 under the command of Lt. Col. C.L. Bott. The regiment was mobilized at Willows Camp in Oak Bay and recruited form the 30th B.C. Horse (Vernon) and the Victoria Independent Squadron of Horse. The regiment left Montreal in June 1915 bound for England.
IN ESQUIMALT, GERMAN FIELD GUNS FOUND AN ESCAPE FROM BATTLEFIELD
In a cavernous storage unit on Viewfield Road, municipal worker Mike Reed is working on a project unlike any other in his career. The facilities operations supervisor for the Township of Esquimalt cracks a smile as he leans over the smaller of the two german field guns. “This is really the holy grail of artillery pieces,” Reed said of the gun, captured in 1917 by the Victoria area soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. “It was captured at Vimy Ridge, (where) Canada really came into its own as a nation.”
Reed is restoring the historic guns, which have spent most of their lives in Esquimalt’s Memorial park, as part of the township’s commemoration of the First Worls War. The guns arrived in Esquimalt as two of 516 guns that Canada collected as “war trophies.” The capital region alone received six, one was stationed at Beacon Hill Park, another in Oak Bay and two more outside the legistlature, according to Reed.
As the Second World War escalated in 1941, about 75 percent of the country’s war trophies were turned into scrap metal, melted down and reincarnated as new military material. The pair in Esquimalt may be the only remaining German field rifles in the province, Reed said. “These were declared part of the war memorial by the council of the day and were saved from that fate,” he said.
Serial numbers identify the larger gun as a 7.7 cm Feldkanone, model 1896 neuer Art, which the same Victoria battalion captured Sept. 29, 1918, at Cambrai. The smaller one is a short range combat weapon designed for anti tank use, captured April 9, 1917, at La Foli farm. It ha smaller wheels and extra weight such as foot stools removed, enabling it to fit in smaller places, dips in landscapes and shell holes. Reed points to multiple piercings in its armour, as well as the way it is stuck in partial recoil, as evidence that it was abandoned during the battle.
Both guns were palced at Lampson Street school in 1919 and moved to Esquimalt’s memorial park in the mid 1920’s, where they’ve slowly discoloured, rusted and rotted in the elements. Reed is committed to extending their lives. And he’s aware of the scrutiny his work will receive from a township with a rich history in combat. “Esquimalt is a military community,” he said. “I’ve got to cover all the bases.”
Getting it right has turned into an international project. Reed has compared notes with an Ontario group restoring a similar German field gun and purchased a rare First World War era shovel that would have been strapped to the gun, from a seller in the U.S. Paint colour has become a particular obsession. Without colour photos to depend on, reed wa thrilled to find a military paraphernalia store about 30 kilometes outside of Gettysburg, Penn., that has the same 7.7 cm Feldkanone as Esquimalt. The owner had discovered original paint in the creases of another weapon, and Reed is trying to match it. He also asked a Hamburg based military outfitter to mail a dog tag painted with “German field grey” when he learned a pressurized can of the paint wasn’t allowed on planes.
Reed expects to finish by early July and said he hopes his work extends the gun's lives. "It's not about preserving the memory of war, it's about preserving these so people will remember the kinds of sacrifices that were made."
Canada Post Recognizes PPCLI With Centennial Envelope
In a well attended gathering in the Naval Officer’s Training Centre (NOTC) Venture gunroom, Canada Post honoured the history of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI).
To celebrate the regiment’s 100th anniversary, a special edition envelope was launched. It commemorates the contributions and sacrifices made by members of the PPCLI. The unveil date was chosen because March 17 is the birthday of Princess Patricia, after whom the infantry was named. She was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter and the youngest daughter of Prince Arthur, who was Governor General of Canada.
“Canada Post is honoured to pay homage to PPCLI with this commemorative envelope on a day as significant as today,” said Kevin Pearson of Canada Post, who was on hand to make the presentation. “We believe it is a fitting way to honour the regiment, marking its 100 years of service, and believe it will bring the regiment’s proud and illustrious history to home across the country.”
A historic photo spans the length of the envelope, recalling the “Pat’s” early days with a placing of a wreath on the Regimental colour in February 1919. A row of images along the bottom capture the Regiment’s participation in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean and Afghanistan conflict, and a peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. The cancel mark features the letters and coronet from Princess Patricia’s royal cypher. The Princess’s two first names, Victoria Patricia are visible on both the stamp and the cancel shown as “VP.”
On the backside is a synopsis of the regiment’s history. “This small gesture is part of the larger gratitude felt by Canadians everywhere,” said Pearson. “Anything we can do to recognize the service provided by regiments like the PPCLI, especially after a century of service, is a definite priority.”
Judith Guichon, Lieutennt Governor of British Columbia, helped unveil the the envelope. She spoke to the assembled on the pride Canadians feel for the regiment, and the contributions they made and continue to make today. “For the last 100 years, the Patricia’s have been present across Canada, and the world contributing to making the planet a better place,” she said. “From the Second World War to conflicts in modern theatres across the globe, the Patricia’s are there, working, helping, and even giving their lives in service to Canada, and the principles for which it stands. It isn’t something we forget, and hopefully we are able to show you, even in some small way.”
Lt. Gen. Ken Foster of the PPCLI took the podium to than Canada Post for its contribution, and the respect shown in the gesture. “What we do, and have done for the past 100 years, has been for Canadians,” he said. “To know we have the respective and gratitude of those we have spent sp long seeking to serve and protect is a great honour. As times goes on we will continue to give our all protecting the country and people we love so much.”
Eight thousand commemorative envelopes have been printed, and can be purchased at Canada Post locations across Canada.
This event was well received by all those who attended, B Company, the Airborne Company of 3 PPCLI in Edmonton, attended and provided a Quarter Guard for the occasion. Pleasant to watch the expert drill perfomed, you don’t see that any more here in Victoria. I had the pleasure of organizing a display which all seemed to enjoy, with help from my sister Marilyn Day, friend Keith King (with WW1 Corporal King) and contributions from Bruce Dickey, Ed Widenmaier, Dougald Salmon and Nick Kerr. Bruce also provided a video of many PPCLI highlites which was played in the background during the day. It spanned the timeline of the PPCLI from WW1 to Afghanistan.
One high ranking Canadian Naval officer in attendance remarked in conversation “Museums, museums, museums” in a negative fashion, I was not impressed or surprised.
A “Centennial March” was played by the Naden Band, written by PO 2 Robyn Jutras for the PPCLI, a highlite of the day as well.
The Canadian Stamp News, March 25-April 7, 2014, also published an article. On the same day, we took photographs of a ceremonial guard of the 2483 PPCLI cadets in front of the guardhouse, weather was perfect and a lot of pictures were taken.
April 7, 2014
The two PMQ’s on Victoria View road, 300 and 338, have had their house #’s removed from their respective properties. This is to do with the proposed Waste Water Treatment plant at McLoughlin Point and DND relocating the residents during construction time. I fear that after being empty for a certain amount of time, the DND may decide to declare them surplus. That has happened before, although the house at 941 Clent st has been empty for a while now with nothing untoward there, yet…These are of course three of the thirteen remaining expropriated houses from 1942 being used as PMQ’s in the Work Point footprint, and have identified heritage significance. 361 Anson street, “Ellerslie,” has gone now and you know that tale.
April 10, 2014
The Macaulay street sign at Lyall and Macaulay on the north side was noted to have been revised from Macauley ! I think someone who walks Lyall street to and from West Bay was responsible for the correction. Although on the south side of Lyall the sign read Macauly, and, on DND property at Moody Cres. and Codville Plc they read MacAulay...Who knows, and you can’t ask Donald Macaulay !
April 9, 2014
Visited the shop where Mike Reed is restoring the two WW1 German field guns from Memorial Park, truly a remarkable project. The Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (CEFSG) online WW1 website and the Western Front Association (WFA) have included this project as one of their topics.
April 26, 2014
Two kiosks have been erected at the north and west entrances to Fort Macaulay. These were placed by the Township for associated signage for Macaulay Point Park.
May 22, 2014
Met on site at Work Point Barracks with Retired Brigadier Larry Gollner and CFB Esqumalt officials regarding a PPCLI Commemorative Cairn which I proposed, on behalf of the PPCLI Associaton, to recognize the 52 years of the PPCLI in Garrison at Work Point Barracks. Currently there is not such a commemoration, the existing two cairns inside the gates in front of building 1004 are for the 1987 Centennial of Work Point Barracks itself and another for the 150 year anniversary of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada in 2010.
May 24, 2014
Saturday morning at Fort Macaulay, myself and 11 members of the VEMRA (Victoria Esquimalt Military Reenactors Asociation) hosted an interpretation event of Fort Macaulay. After I provided an orientation tour and a two page handout to the members, they situated themselves in strategic locations to interpret the structures for the public, with the aid of the temporary building numbers I placed, and amid the backdrop of the Swiftsure Race. I credit my friend Ellis Meads for helping me with field work and my sister Marilyn Day for her research. I am looking to do more of this in the future to further the presence of the Fort within the community utilizing the “uniformed” involvement of the VEMRA with co-operation from the Township Archives and Parks and Recreation department, the DND, and continuing support from the Esquimalt Anglers Association. David Buxton, the youngest son of the Buxton family, attended to represent the interests of Buxton Green.
May 27, 2014
I noticed the power had been cut to WP 1030, the 1897 brick magazine at Work Point. This will be interesting as that likely leads to abandonment and possibly destruction, perhaps the start of implementing the travesty of the March 2013 CRG report.
June 8, 2014
Included in the #2483 PPCLI Cadet Corps annual parade agenda, I arranged the last item to commemorate the three occasions that the PPCLI garrisoned Work Point Barracks by the PPCLI Association. During my research of Work Point Barracks history and knowing the existing plaque placed in 1987, I had decided to champion a granite cairn with reference to the above periods totalling fifty two years the PPCLI were stationed in Esquimalt. At the PPCLI Association AGM I tendered the idea of a cairn and it was well received with offers to assist. I then ran into a friend of mine, Tony Miller who works for Western Grater, a local blasting firm. I mentioned my idea to him and he said go to a Bear Mountain development and meet him there. We arrived and looked at blasted rock, he said,”pick one out,” and I did. He then offered to deliver it in his truck and within an hour he delivered it to the side of the Guardhouse on Head street. I paid the crew on site a case of beer (15 cans) for the granite piece and that was it. Tony was so very happy to personally contribute to an act of gratitude to the PPCLI, especially in the centennial year of the Regiment. I contacted Mortimer’s Monument Works and with the specific help of Larry Gollner and the Association VP Ed Widenmaeir gave them the inscription details. Mortimer’s completed the work and placed it prior to the parade day. I was there to ensure the site the day ahead looked presentable, placed some top soil and did some usual weeding. Those who attended the cadet parade viewed the cairn and pictures were taken. A time capsule was placed in the concrete pad under the cairn by Ed prior to the pour and a few kind words of credit were paid to me for initiating and expediting the “project.” I am particularly proud of the installation dedicated to the many members of the PPCLI, including my father, who was stationed there from 1921 to 1937 with “B” Company. It is positioned between the two existing cairns at the Head street entrance to Work Point in front of the 1888 building # 1004.
The inscription reads:
LCdr Erik James, the XO of the NOTC which holds Work Point as its campus and headquarters was replaced by LCdr Karen Belhumeur. I have an invitation to meet her very soon and hopefully will maintain the excellent relationship I have enjoyed with the NOTC staff regarding visiting and historical involvements of the base. Bon Voyage Erik !
CFB Esquimalt Firefighters take part in a positive pressure attack
Base firefighters assembled in Work Point two weeks ago to keep their much needed emergency skills perfect. Using a smoke machine to mimic a smoke filled residence in an empty house near Work Point, the crew tackled a simulated emergency ... con’t
This is the house at 941 Clent street which has been empty now for a few years and is one of the 13 remaining civilian houses that were expropriated in 1942 and utilized as residential housing of recent times.
Plaque Honours War Dead
To mark 100 years since the First World War, and to honour local war heroes, the Township of Esquimalt unveiled a memorial plaque last week recognizing four Esquimalt youth who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Lying under s string of elm trees bordering Lampson Street School grounds, the plaque honours John Dowler, Arthur Guest, Charles Hardie, and Herbert Nankivell, who were all killed in action between 1916 and 1917 while fighting in Europe.
“Just a couple of years ago we held Township Anniversary celebrations and our motto was to honour our past, celebrate our present, and imagine our future,” said Barbara Desjardins, Mayor of the Township of Esquimalt. “Today we honour our past. For without the bravery of individual soldiers such as these, celebrating our present, and imagining our future would be difficult indeed.”
The trees under which the plaque lies were planted in 1917 as part of a Canada wide initiative to honour fallen soldiers. For Desjardin the plaque is just one gesture on a long list of deserved honours for the men and women who serve their country.
“This is one of the things that was promised almost 97 years ago, and we’re happy to finally have delivered,” she says. “Esquimalt is a military community, and honouring the sacrifices of military members, especially when they come from Esquimalt, is very important to us.”
In addition to the plaque, on September 4 at Memorial Park the Township will unveil the refurbished field guns that normally grace the spot. With planned attendance by military and community leaders, as well civilians, Desjardins hopes commemorative events such as this keep the stories and legacy of those fallen members going into the next generation.
“It’s important to remember our history, and those who have given their lives for us,” she said. “We have to value the freedoms we’ve been given. Younger people might not think of their lifestyle as luxury, but we have the things we have because of the sacrifices of those before us. We have to remember it, and we have to honour it
September 2, 2014
A photo shoot of the two “war trophy” WW1 German field guns was held from 9 am to 12 noon with the guns placed on the shoreline of Macaulay Point adjacent to the start of the breakwater at Fleming Beach.
September 4, 2014
The two restored guns were officially unveiled this morning at Memorial Park amidst a commemorative ceremony sponsored by the Township of Esquimalt. The event included the VEMRA re-enactors presence and a bell tent set up. I provided a small Esquimalt oriented WW1 display as well. This restoration was a job very well done by Mike Reed with especially noting the interest exhibited by the Township of Esquimalt. A highlite was that Tom Wolfe of the BC Dragoons, the descendant reserve Regiment of the 2 CMR who captured the guns at Vimy and Cambrai, was able to attend the ceremony.
September 7, 2014
At this point in time, and with the commemoration events in progress for the start of WW1, I am thinking about closing this (albeit unedited) historical compilation which has been a very rewarding project revealing our local military history specifically Work Point Barracks and Fort Macaulay, with just a few points to finalize on:
The FHBRO reort 89-205 on Work Point Barracks, its buildings and history, is a publication worthy of reading and not to be ignored as was “not” in the CRG Consulting final report – March 2013 – CFB Esquimalt – Dockyard, Signal Hill, Naden, Work Point Heritage Design Guidelines.
Golf Hill is a project yet to explore as well as the history of McLoughlin Point and the 13 remaining expropriated civilian houses at Work Point Barracks. Also it appears as though the two PMQ’s on Victoria View road are still occupied.
The current use of Work Point as the NOTC base exhibits a “naval / military campus” image with a blend of functioning contemporary and historical wood and brick buildings on a spacious waterfront setting unmatched anywhere in Canada, let alone in the world. A personal visit will allow you to experience it for yourself, just discount the lack of grounds maintenance, and drive by the 1891 landmark “Guardhouse” just for historical adaptive re-use effect.
September 24, 2014
I gave an orientation talk to the Esquimalt Heritage Advisory Committee on the layout and reference names for Work Point and “Macaulay.” This along with an invitation to go on tours of the area was well received as “Work Point” has been generally behind the fence and a lot of its history is not known.
October 3, 2014
I was informed that building 1079, the “Town Hall,” is currently being demolished.
October 5, 2014
During a tour of Work Point with members of the Esquimalt HAC this morning, I discovered that 1030, the 1897 Work Point brick magazine was gone, in favour of top soil and seed. This was not a complete surprise as the power had been shut off in May and the area was very well overgrown. Of course this magazine had so much historical reference that will not be shared now. I had sent in an Access to Information Request in June and had not heard back from them, all too late now. As usual, without any accountability, obligation or even courtesy to the local civic jurisdiction or heritage community, another piece of west coast defence history is gone. As there is no interaction with DND and the local BCEO bent on purging Work Point of the historic buildings, the 89-205 FHBRO report underscoring the building without access at the time or a drawing and maintenance totally ignored, destruction was next. There was an identified archaeological area on the Canada Lands drawing done in 2004 associated with the magazine and I did hear that perhaps a re-evaluation was requested by the DND, more to follow on that issue. It was also a component of the Historic Commemorative Precinct created in 2003 by the RCA Association. Fortunately I have taken pictures of it, outside with some from inside - 2005, have a basic autocad drawing, the original building drawing seems to have disappeard from the base records system. Were there any artefacts ? Talk about a disconnect from the local community at large! I am of the opinion that an overzealous or overly obsessive error has occurred her in justifying the demolition, of course again without community involvement.
Building 1079, the signed Work Point “Town Hall” building, formerly the St. Vincent de Paul RC Chapel, was one quarter demolished, I’m sure Monday morning will see the resumption of that, again it appears without any local consideration or interaction. The building could have been relocated perhaps if the option was there for adaptive re-use, or remained in use for the socially starved residents of the 180 plus PMQ’s at Work Point. No Canex, no MFR Centre, no chaplin or chapel, I could go on.
1004 1888 Barracks for “C” Battery – “Stettler Building” – Canadian Forces Fleet School – Seamanship Division – Steward Training Centre (Recognized)
1020 1898 / 1918 / 1938 Addition - Headquaters Building – “Haida Building” – Venture Leadership and Recruit Training Division – Company Quartermaster Stores (Recognized)
1030 1897 Brick Magazine - Secure storage, empty. Component of RCA Association Commemorative Historic Precinct below (Demolished October 3, 2014)
Adjacent Historic Landscape Feature – The 1891 Saluting and Gun Battery site, flag pole, 2003 “C Battery Commemorative Cairn and the 1981 WW1 - 3” Anti Air Craft Gun (Components of the RCA Association Commemorative Historic Precinct)
1031 1938 Bulk stores building – "Amiens Building" – Can Forces Base Esquimalt Work Point Power Boat Club – Navy Learning Support Centre
1055 1940 Stores – RCSU (P) Movement Section
1058 1939 R C Signals Building – Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) Headquarters
1068 1904 Royal Garrison Artillery Detention Barracks – "Hill 70 Building" – Urban Search and Rescue Training Support Building
1070 1902 Royal Garrison Artillery Building – Stores – "Arleux Building" – Storage / seasonal MIR
1071 1902 Royal Garrison Artillery Sergeants Mess – "St. Barbara’s Chapel" - Canadian Forces National Intelligence Unit
1075 1902 Royal Artillery Barracks / 1940 addition - "Ypres Block" / "Cave Block" – Nuclear Emergency Response Team (Recognized)
1079 1940 St Vincent de Paul RC Chapel – “Town Hall” (Demolished October 10, 2014)
1091 1953 Barracks – “Rainbow Block”
1092 1962 Barracks – “Oakville Block” – Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt – Language Training Division
1093 1988 Residences – “Ojibwa Block”
1094 1989 Training Centre – Venture - The Naval Officer’s Training Centre - “ Vice Admiral A.L. Collier Building”
1182 1939 Radio Transmitter building - Abandoned
1367 1999 NOTC Headquarters – “Commander A.E. Nixon Building”
1372 2005 NOTC Residences – “Admiral Sir Charles E. Kingsmill Kt. Building”
1373 2005 NOTC Galley
TB 201 RCSU (P) Finance Section
Lyall Street Entrance Sign – Department of National Defence CFB Esquimalt (Work Point)
Work Point Buildings Demolition Under Fire
CFB Esquimalt is under no obligation to inform the public before demolishing historic buildings, but a local military historian thinks it is a courtesy that should be given.
Built in 1940, the former Work Point Town Hall, building 1079, at the base is currently being demolished.The building has only been used sporadically since 1994, when members of the Priness Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, who had been using it as office space and storage, moved out, said Capt. Jennifer Jackson, CFB Esquimalt base public affairs officer.
Another building at the base being demolished is building 1030, built in 1887. “[It] was originally used as ammunition storage, followed by regular storage for the PPCLI until 1994,” said Jackson, adding the building has also only been sporadically used since 1994.
These demolitions are part of CFB Esquimalt’s consolidation project, in which around eight old and unused buildings will be demolished at the base by 2018.
Jack Bates, former Esquimalt resident and local military historian, believes CFB Esquimalt should not demolish buildings without first discussing other options with the community. “That building could have been relocated if people had an opportunity to be involvd in it or know about it,” said Bates, adding that demolishing without looking into other options first is unacceptable from a heritage point of view.
Jackson said selling DND buildings to third parties is an option if the building is no longer required by DND but is still suitable or desirable to other levels of government or local citizens. “In these situations, the building is generally moved off the property, and the costs must be borne by the new owner,” said Jackson. “[However], if a building is declared surplus, after evaluation through criteria such as use, location and condition, it may simply be demolished with no further consultation,” said Jackson.
Bates said there should be more consultation with the public before all demolitions. “They are declaring surplus and that’s quite true, but that doesn’t mean that they just have to be demolished,” said Bates. “I like to preserve the military heritage.”
Typical rhetoric, didn’t happen and with the usual wrong information by the base, which buildings are next I ask. I have approached the Base Public Affairs Officer to meet and the Lookout for involvement in writing an article on Work Point buildings, as expected no response and nothing further respectively. It is time for a letter directly to the Minister of National Defence with some specifics. My invitations to visit the site are left ignored, and at one time the Lookout was interested in the affairs at Work Point and their people. I wonder why.
November 1, 2014
Refer to November 2 and 7, 2012 Vic News articles on repair and maintenance spending by CFB Esquimalt (nationally 19th place) and the usual lack of concerned response, does this reaction sound familiar ? My view is, and it is a shame to say, the 180 or so homes in the Work Point married quarters now have no Canex or “coffee” presence, no Military Family Resource Centre (Lampson Street School now closed), no youth drop in centre, no Chaplain’s presence or chapel, no “Town Hall” for social or emergency time of any kind, the Work Point Community Garden is struggling to “grow” and no Veteran’s Affairs office (at the “Atrium” in very downtown Victoria) What happened to the promise by the Federal Government to locate Veteran’s Affairs offices at the bases where they would be practical and reasonable to gain access with an actual presence. This would also utilize some of the existing “infrastructure,” in the case of Work Point, some of the buildings they plan to “not retain.” A comparison to the Signal Hill and Belmont Park married quarter’s amenities could be also made and one will note that the Macaulay to West Bay Walkway project was cancelled in 2001.
Unfortunately, it is bad timing for all this negativity and to go on about it when we respect and “support our troops” particularly as Remembrance Day 2014 approaches and the untimely acts against our country’s faithful are in our minds, can be questioned. However, perhaps the BCEO and their Real Property cohorts in that far away land of “Headquarters Ottawa,” should pay a visit here and realize their obsession in purging of old Army “infrastructure” is also eroding the social aspects of our “finest” and their families and will continue to do more damage. I will remind all those interested in this theme that when the CRG report was being finalized in February 2013 with field trips within CFB Esquimalt to the various heritage sites by the Real Property Programs people from Ottawa, they did not include Work Point, not interested. I would gladly have given them an “actual version” real life tour, a view not from a computer terminal, nor I may say from the bridge of a ship, and certainly not from a land far far away !
On the high side of all this above at the quarterly meet of the Esquimalt Mayor and Councillors in the third week of October with the Base Commander and officials, councillors did reference more involvement with writing Statements Of Significance for historic buildings, demolition and or relocation options, we’ll see. Perhaps the potential social effects will also be noticed.
November 11, 2014
WORK POINT BARRACKS 100 YEARS AGO
WORK POINT IN 1915
WORK POINT IN 2014
Run cursor over image to stop movement. Panning script compliments of Vic Phillips.
Created in 1887 for “C” Battery, Regiment of Canadian Artillery, expanded in 1900 for British forces which later departed in 1906, Work Point Barracks a hundred years ago in 1914 was a hub of Canadian Military activity. With various local Militia units being established for home defence in the Victoria area and in anticipation of a war in Europe, and following the August declaration of war with Germany, the first volunteers from Victoria’s patriotic citizens had departed to fight overseas “For King and Country.” Work Point Barracks, the Headquarters of Military District # 11, British Columbia and Yukon Territory, was in extant building # 1020 and a Military Hospital was in readiness. The District Staff included elements of Engineers; Intelligence; Signalling; Service Corps; Medical Services; Ordnance; Pay Corps and the Organizing and Inspection of Cadets unit.
The “Permanent Force” of the Esquimalt Garrison, also in residence at Work Point Barracks, included the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, No. 5 Company; Royal Canadian Engineers, 3rd Fortress Company; Permanent Army Medical Corps, No. 9 Detachment; Canadian Ordnance Corps, No. 11 Detachment; Canadian Army Pay Corps, No. 10 Detachment and the Corps of Military Staff Clerks. Soon to be created were the Royal School of Artillery and the Royal School of Infantry with additional units established as the war progressed.
Previously in June 1914, a Militia Staff Officers Course was conducted at Work Point Barracks utilizing Fort Macaulay’s Artillery Battery and Macaulay Plains encampment site. Courses of instruction contained theoretical and practical components including aspects of trench and bridge construction. Officers who attended this course were: Lt. Col. AW Currie, Majors L Ross and GB Hughes, Captain CM Roberts of the 50th Gordon Highlanders; Lt. Col. Duff Stuart, 23rd Infantry Brigade; Lt. Col. RG Leckie and Captain G Godson, 72nd Seaforth Highlanders; Lt. Col. A Flick, Major HH Matthews and Captain JN Power, 31st BC Horse; Major J Belantry, 6th Regiment; Captain IW Dowding, 11th Regiment; Major Sclater and Captain Prower. A number of these officers will achieve fame and prominence throughout WW1 and after 1918.
The 5th BC Regiment Canadian Artillery, which manned two 12 pdr field guns, machine guns and the three Breech Loading six inch Disappearing Guns at Fort Macaulay in defence of Victoria and Esquimalt since the declaration of war, were also stationed at Work Point. Macaulay Plains, the Militia and CEF training encampment, also hosted the annual summer camp for cadets and in 1914 up to 1,200 cadets were in attendance from the Vancouver area and Vancouver Island. All the administration and supplies for the camp were provided by support staff from Work Point Barracks.
The Esquimalt Rifle Association held their weekly rifle shoots in the miniature range at Work Point, the Royal Canadian Regiment was establishing one of a number of British Columbia recruiting offices at the barracks, and construction of Heal’s Rifle Range was undertaken by members of the Royal Canadian Engineers from Work Point.
Photo - April 1915….. Note the visible extant buildings that remain in active use today: the 1904 Royal Garrison Artillery Detention Barracks # 1068 centre on Smith Street (Peters Street) and behind it the 1902 Sergeant’s Mess # 1071; the original barracks 1888 “C” Battery barracks # 1004 on the far left, while the former Col. Peters residence on the right, was demolished in 1947. No 7 fairway of the United Service Golf Links ran down the close side of the street in front of the Peters house.
November 22, 2014
I received a reply from the MND, or his staff, it didn’t address any issues I raised, and reminded me of a “Wikipedia” page in content. My letter was referred to the Parks Canada minister. So in response I decided to cite the “people” side of the Work Point RHU’s as the infrastructure side was ignored.
November 24, 2014
In talking with Don Mann Excavating, the firm that demolished 1030 and 1079, and previously involved with 1163 Anson, I was advised that the roof of 1030 was “weak,” a poor design in relative terms, in sections, and would blow off in event of an internal explosion. Of course that is what the design intention was to have been. Confirmation ! Also advised was that the concrete building at Macaulay Point, # 1182 of WW2 vintage, was demolished as well. This was a radio transmitter concrete building, three levels, eight foot above ground, eight foot below as basement # 1, and below that another level of six foot headroom. Again, it would have been appropriate to be able to have recorded this information at the time, taken pictures etc. Even though the three buildings didn’t have a “Recognized” status, they were still “historical” in nature, of interest to many, and part of Work Point Barracks history.
Silent Film Retells Dramatic Story of WW1 Naval Battles
A mix of both past and present Royal Canadian navy (RCN) officers gathered in the Collier Theatre of NOTC Venture Nov 25 to watch a dramatic retelling of two key naval battles that took place during the First World War. The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands, a silent film originally released in 1927 and recently restored by the British Film Institute, was shown to a crowd of Naval Cadets, their instructors, senior commanders, and retired naval officers.
Despite the decades that have passed since its original release, many officers gathered – both serving and retired – found the film to be a moving experience. “Not just in the viewing of the film itself, but being part of an audience of so many naval veterans, instilled the sense of being part of a larger institutional family on the junior officers,” said LCdr Karen Belhumeur, Executive Officer of Venture.
The Battle of Coronel occurred off the coast of Coronel, Chile on November 1, 1914, and was a stunning defeat for the Royal Navy at the hands of the German Kaiserliche Marine. More than 1,600 Royal Navy sailors and officers perished during the action, including four Canadian midshipmen who became Canada’s first casualties of the war. Six weeks later, the tables turned during the Battle of Falkland Islands when the Royal Navy annihilated Germany’s South Atlantic fleet in retaliation.
Filmed on board real battleships provided by the British Admiralty, and accompanied by stirring music played by the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, the film is an epic experience. The cinematography places the viewer in the middle of the action amongst the ship’s companies who frantically fight inside the hulking steel warships. Originally released during a time of reconciliation between the United Kingdom and Germany, it is also remarkably fair in its portrayal of the enemy as a gallant foe that fought nobly until the very end.
Dr. Geoffrey Bird, a professor at Royal Roads University and a former RCN officer, told those gathered that the public “Often forgets the strategic importance of the war at sea.” Many remember the First World War as brutal episodes of trench warfare on the battlefield of Europe, but few can recall the crucial role played in strategic efforts, especially given Britain’s precarious position as a power that relied upon imports brought by the ocean for survival.
“The navy faces a particular challenge when it comes to memorializing its battles: the challenge is visiting the spot where the battle occurred, or physically marking the site for eternity,” he said. Commander Lorne Carruth pointed that the two battles occupy an important part in RCN history. “The key factor here is the connections. Look at the connection between the RCN and Royal Roads, the former military college that is home to the Coronel Library, named after this very battle. The Admiral commanding the fleet at the Battle of Falklands was Sturdee – you may recognize that name when jogging up Sturdee Street towards Dockyard. If you walk up the stairs in the Nixon Building, you’ll see a photo of a whaler full of young officers; among them were the four midshipmen lost at sea during the Battle of Coronel. It’s with a long history navy, thankfully, and it is these connections that make it so.”
Despite the Decades That Have Passed Since Its Release
December 31, 2014
As this historical compilation keeps on going, I would like to acknowledge with appreciation the contributions of Bob Scrafton, Ret’d. 1 QOR of C and 3 PPCLI; Linda Hansen; Barry Gough; Richard Linzey; Keith King; Colin MacLock; Jack Poulter; the Esquimalt Archives’ Greg Evans and Sherri Robinson and the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum’s Clare Sharpe; Debbie Towell and Joseph Lenarcik.
January 1, 2015
As we enter 2015, this enterprise may at some times appear to be a diary, this is somewhat by design but also a reactive way of keeping track of the proceedings involving Work Point and its related extensions, both through infrastructure and personal associations.
January 23, 2015
I had arranged to visit building 1020, invited Colin MacLock, escorted by Lt. Harry Learning of Venture, and guided by CPO2 Tim Cotey of the Fleet School, we toured through the building including the 1941 wing. It was revealed that some of the basement wasn’t available due to “asbestos” concerns. 1020 is occupied for the most part by the Fleet School, the BOTC, currently 5th (BC) Field Regiment personnel, and other training programs. It has been renovated, and enjoys the advantages of oil hot water heating, either on or off, so they said. Unfortunately the exterior painting has not been maintained Using a copy of the floor plan from the 1974 Stephenson and Kellogg report, some of the rooms had been modified but most were as shown, with renovations for washroom facilities. There were no structural problems identified, all the windows and venting were functional, and a portion of the basement visible through a stairwell trap door showed remains of the 1898 original stone rubble foundation. A fireplace in room 101, the CO’s office, was quite intact with a screen and appeared to be capable of containing a fire, the chimney from the outside seemed normal. A recent ceiling problem in the same room 101 had been repaired. We could not determine from this visit the location of the office of Lt. Col. Joan Kennedy, first Commanding Officer of the WW II CWAC, which originated at Work Point Barracks in building 1020 on August 29, 1941. All signs were that the building was rebuilt in 1918 after the partial 1917 fire. Apparently some of the effects of the fire spread to the roof of the adjacent Officer’s Mess, visible when the Mess was demolished in 2006.
The Lookout kindly published my article on "Work Point Barracks 100 Years Ago"
February 9, 2015
UNITED SERVICES GOLF LINKS
There have been quite a few articles written about the United Services Golf Links in the past. Within this writing I hope to include all the information I found available to present the timelines, with a drawing for location of the holes and tee boxes, and some photographs of folks playing golf on the links.
When the Royal Marine Artillery arrived in Esquimalt in May of 1893 to replace “C” Battery at Work Point Barracks, within their ranks were two officers who were golf enthusiasts. They were Lt. George Edward Barnes and Lt. Frederick Templer who pursued creating a golf course. Credit for the design of the nine holed golf links has been given to Hans Ogilvy Price, a stores department clerk at HM Dockyard and construction commenced in October of 1893. The Golf Links were operational in February of 1896 with the first Monthly Medal play, Naval and Military gentlemen and ladies participating.
In June 1900, a tender was issued by the Royal Artillery for the erection of a small pavilion on the golf links at “Macaulay Plains.” Also an article published in THE NAVY AND ARMY ILLUSTRATED ON June 30th 1900 expressed the advantages of being stationed in Esquimalt particularly being able to play golf at the diverse and pleasurable United Services Golf Links.
There was of course the occasional interruption in play by the Militia and cadets during their summer camps at Macaulay Plains. Also, prior to and during WW 1 there was a constant presence of Militia and CEF troops south of Bewdley Avenue while establishing their units, training encampments and conducting exercises with horse drawn field guns.
In October of 1919, a new clubhouse was erected, built by the able hands of the members at the corner of Lyall and Rithet (Macaulay) Streets, a most convenient location near the first tee box and the ninth green. Tournaments were also held between the three golf courses in the area at the time, the Colwood Golf Club, the United Services Golf Club, and the Victoria Golf Club.
A most interesting tournament was held on December14th 1920, called the “Tombstone Tournament.”
“In spite of the disagreeable weather of Sunday there was a large turnout of United Services Golf Club players at the Esquimalt links on that morning, to take part in the tombstone competition, in which the first prizes were Christmas turkeys and the second cash. Doubtless owing to the weather conditions most of the players “died” comparatively early and tombstones were planted some distance short of the eighteenth hole. Miss Hardie won the ladies turkey and Mrs. Fairbairn was second. Mr. James Saviden survived the longest of the men and Mr. Meaking was next to him.”
Conditions at the United Services Golf Club became a challenge, wandering cows and sheep, lack of maintenance particularly at the greens and the abundance of fairway rocks upset the members and prompted a change in 1922. Hence the Uplands Golf Club was created with a movement of membership to the new club. Also in 1927 the new Gorge Vale Golf Club was formed drawing any potential new members.
In 1935 the club couldn’t pay the taxes and eventually the land and premises were purchased by the municipality. They in turn leased the land back to the Golf Club for five years at $1,000 a year, likely under the new name, the Macaulay Point Golf Club. It had seen better days and didn’t survive in the 1930’s even though young “Eric” Wright mowed the fairways with a horse drawn tractor. Eric joined “B” Company PPCLI at Work Point in 1935, served overseas and returning to Victoria, he became a well - known golfer at Uplands, Gorge Vale and Royal Colwood Golf Clubs. He died in 2011.
In March of 1940, the course was reopened for soldiers in the Victoria district. The reconstruction had been supervised by WW 1 veteran Freddie Burns, the course professional for over fifteen years, and there was “just a small fee charged to the troops for playing the course.” Freddie eventually relocated to the Colwood Golf Club, and resided at 1131 Lyall Street when he died in 1969.
In 1942 the golf course and club house were expropriated and purchased by the Federal Government and became part of Work Point Barracks, Camp Macaulay and Macaulay Plains in terms of reference. On September 2, 1986 all the lands at Work Point and the Macaulay areas were consolidated into one lot owned by the Federal Government, with the Department of National Defence remaining the custodial department.
A scaled drawing created in 1992 by Jim Findlay, a resident of Esquimalt at the time, shows the layout of the course including greens and tee box locations. Adjacent to “Golf Hill” you will see the open area likely the location of the 7th tee box, and I wonder who built the tree fort. One photograph of Col. Peter’s house on Smith (Peters) Street reveals a flag indicating the par 5 - 7th fairway in front of the house. It may be a surprise to see that the majority of the Golf Links were situated north of Munro Street partially on Macaulay Plains and continuing to Lyall Street, not actually at Macaulay Point. Although with Macaulay Point being a recognized rural address of geographical reference in the early days, it seemed logical to utilize the name.
The only reminder of the days of the United Services Golf Links/Macaulay Point Golf Club is “Golf Hill,” shown on all maps, now an abandoned WW II Artillery Battery, and your imagination of where the nine holes and club house existed. One civilian house remains in proximity with the golf course and that is the house at 1024 Munro Street. Once owned by Major George Sisman, secretary and neighbourhood warden of the Macaulay Point Golf Club for many years, it is in the background of a number of Macaulay Plains photographs. Other houses sort of “in play” were the “Jardine” house, 316 Anson Street; the “Buxton” house at 966 Bewdley Avenue; and the “Peters” house at 423 Peters Street, all three now a matter of history.
Jack Bates, OPCMH
February 14, 2015
I have at this point received responses from the MND, generic “state of the art” but on record, nothing from the Base Commander, and have reinstituted the request to the FHBRO for the report 10-102, which was the Heritage Report for Fort Macaulay and some buildings at Work Point. For some reason there has been a stall in the response of almost two years ! There is also no further response from Canada Post regarding the Guardhouse and the “Historic Military Buildings” stamp category my friend Bruce Dickey and I proposed and submitted last year.
The PPCLI Association 2014 Newsletter has issued an addendum which covered the numerous Centennial activities undertaken by the Vancouver Island (Victoria) Branch, somehow missed initial inclusion, and hopefully will be in the next edition of the Patrician. We are also enhancing the PPCLI display in the CFB Esquimalt Museum. Click here to link to the museum.
Look for articles on the 1893 West Bay Magazine and the 1893 United Services Golf Links which I have just completed. I will be forwarding them to the CFB Esquimalt Museum as well for inclusion in their newly designed web site along with my 88th Victoria Fusiliers article. More to follow!
February 23, 2015
At this point in time with the creation of the web site, I would like to acknowledge my dear wife Rosemary for her on-going support and patience.
CFB Esquimalt letter
Received a response from the base Commander to my letter of December 18th, where I proposed that heritage buildings at risk in Work Point be re-evaluated by the FHBRO, at the DND’s request, as the last report was in 1989. As suspected, citing under exceptional circumstances only, and there aren’t any, no requests will be forthcoming. I suppose that twenty-six year old reports are acceptable practice if so desired.
Colin MacLock received a similar denial to his case suggestion of applying Federal Heritage funding to the heritage buildings in Work Point.
There was no mention of the March 2013 CFB Esquimalt Heritage Design Guidelines final report.
I noted that the new Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenny, was in Esquimalt touring the submarine “Victoria.” Of course I wondered if he took the opportunity to tour Work Point while at CFB Esquimalt.
To finalize the FHBRO scores for more of the extant buildings over 40 years old in Work Point, the following summary is from FHBRO report 10-102, assigned file # A-2014-00076 / CM:
It has been hoped for over two decades now that the criteria used by the FHBRO would be revised to be more reflective of the value of buildings in the DND inventory in regards to Historic value and adaptive re-use by other evolving departments. By this report nothing has changed, low scores prevail and buildings eventually result in demolition. This particular report also utilized out of date information and in numerous cases is factually wrong. Of course, as the author didn’t visit the site, this is understandable. I brought these concerns up in 2012 with FHBRO and the Base Commander at the time but wasn’t entertained, the credibility and scores of the report – suit yourself. The report was approved in May 2012.
The remaining item of the FHBRO report 10-102 involving Fort Macaulay remains unavailable to date. If the four buildings report above is any indication of accuracy and historical reference, this should be very interesting. The structures at Fort Macaulay are part of the Macaulay Point Park under lease by the Township of Esquimalt, and the integrity and value of the site is based on its representation of a coastal defence fortress as a whole, almost intact as it was when constructed in 1895 not the individual structures, whether identified as buildings or not by FHBRO criteria. All the more reason to be recognized as an Historic Site, perhaps part of Fort Rodd Hill, this is where Parks Canada could be, if there was the will, a supporter of the concept.
March 10, 2015
I received today the FHBRO building report 10-102 for Work Point buildings # 1058, 1091, 1125 and 1163 around 18 months after I requested it, with a note that “this report was still in process of approval.”
Building # 1163, the “Ellerslie” at 316 Anson Street, was barged away off site on March 4, 2013 you will recall, and the two other components of the report, the Fort Macaulay structures and buildings at Albert Head, were not included.
I understand that Maurine Karagianis, MLA, received a response from the Base Commander to the Work Point buildings heritage issue she contacted him about. It cited a list of procedures but nothing of any consequence.
March 13, 2015
It was inevitable that the former civilian house at 941 Clent Street was likely to be demolished, and today I noticed it was down. It was probably one of the buildings that could be referred to as “dozer bait” of a recent BCEO report. I assume that a FHBRO heritage building study was completed according to Treasury Board regulations as the building was over 40 years old. It is listed on the Hallmark Society Registry and first appears as a summer residence in Esquimalt in 1929 by H F Bourne. That leaves 12 former civilian houses at Work Point remaining.
On another note, three of the houses on Anson Crescent and Clent Street were having the exteriors painted. In talking with a couple of Work Point residents, they recognize and are somewhat concerned that they have no amenities or resources on the site, particularly if there is a deployment within the family. There used to be a Work Point Resident’s Association to contact. I will assume that the new M of N D was more concerned with ships on his recent visit rather than visiting the residential housing of the forces member’s families, specifically at Work Point. Somewhat to my previous points and his department is aware through my correspondence. I might also add that Navy grey would be a great colour for all the lamp posts, severely rusted, on Peters Street and Bewdley Avenue!
March 17, 2015
Received from Leona Aglukkaq MP, the Minister of the Environment (Parks Canada), a response to my October 20, 2014 letter referred to her by the Minister of National Defence.
I answered the letter on the topics of the DND / FHBRO compliance regarding a heritage review on buildings over 40 years old and the status of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site following their obligations to include the off-site components of the Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence Fortifications as listed in their Management Plan of 2003.
March 21, 2015
1989 FHBRO REPORT 89-205 scores for Work Point buildings by numbers are as follows:
BUILDINGS DEMOLISHED SINCE 2005
None of the Residential Housing Units (PMQ’s), Fort Macaulay, Golf Hill or McLoughlin Point structures were evaluated in this report for various reasons and the report definitely reveals a consistent lack of Person / Event scores. Also note the number of high 40’s scores as well.
Evaluations over 50 points receive a “Recognized” status, over 75 “Classified” status. Prior to the time of dissolution, buildings over 40 years old are required to have a FHBRO evaluation completed.
My recent request to the current Base Commander for re-evaluations prior to dissolution was denied.
March 25, 2015
The owners of the “Guardhouse” have agreed to placing insulation in the attic, the # 2483 PPCLI Cadet Corps who occupy the 1891 building will have the premises a little warmer next year.
Work Point Barracks Member’s Statement
Located in Esquimalt on the west side of the entrance to Victoria Harbour, Work Point barracks has a glorious history that reaches back more than 125 years. Work Point Barracks was established in 1887 and became the command headquarters of an expanded coastal artillery defence system to protect the Dockyard and Victoria. Work Point remains a part of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt to this day.
Several of its historic buildings are recognized federal heritage buildings, including the former enlisted men’s barracks, built in 1888; the artillery barracks, constructed in 1902; and the administration building, completed in 1921. These are remarkable examples of military garrison architecture, built to be functional and durable. They were built with quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship. Buildings like these require ongoing maintenance and care, and I’m very hopeful that the federal government will be allocating dollars needed to ensure their survival and continued use.
Dedicated members of my community, including Jack Bates and Colin MacLock, are working to raise the profile of these very important buildings and the importance of recognizing and preserving our Canadian military heritage. Work Point is an essential part of that story, and I’m grateful to those who are donating their time and energy in my community into making sure we don’t lose these vital connections to our proud military past in Esquimalt and all of Greater Victoria.
Maurine Karagianis, MLA, Esquimalt-Royal Roads
I thanked Maurine for her sincere statement and hope it will promote further public and political will in dealing with heritage buildings capable of being maintained and in use. Esquimalt holds the last bastion of the earliest Western Canadian military structures manned by Canadians, even though less in terms of number of years compared to eastern Canada, they are never the less our built heritage in British Columbia and linked to entry into Confederation. I’m hoping this will resonate with CFB Esquimalt, the Department of National Defence and the Ministry of the Environment (Parks Canada), I believe it is possible.
April 9, 2015
Counter at 5,000 - 21:30 hrs
April 12, 2015
The flag of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island which recently flew on the flag pole at the Six Mile Pub and at a house on Sedger Road are no longer there. However, a large flag of the same is seen flying at Adams Storage on the Old Island Hwy in View Royal for all those interested in Vancouver Island being its own Province.
I received an email from CPO2 Tim Cotey regarding a small concrete tablet poured into the rocks adjacent to the Officer’s Mess tidal swimming pool from decades ago. His children, while playing in the area one day, discovered this and in keeping with the abandoned fire pit setting near the old pool site which resembled a Roman theatre in effect with old concrete seats, and, utilizing a measure of imagination, suggested it was an old Roman artifact. I visited with Tim, and realized it was in reference to the Rear Party of 1 PPCLI in 1963 when they departed Work Point for Germany. I have sourced out two of the five names etched into the concrete, a Bob and a Jim so far as it appears perhaps the pioneer platoon stayed behind as the "rear party."
April 27, 2015
Knights Insulation LTD, placed insulation in the Guardhouse attic (where there was none since 1891) thanks to the owners of the building, and Bob Mason, their agent who on my behalf, was successful in requesting this work to be done. Another improvement accomplished.
There was a spectacular automobile accident (CTV News May 11) at the intersection of Head street and Lyall streets late in the evening which brought responses from the Vic PD, DND and Esquimalt fire departments. A car out of control took out the hydro pole at the intersection and ended up in the restaurant fence next door to the Guardhouse. A few feet to the right, or if the pole wasn’t there, the car would have ended up in the “Guardroom.” As it turns out, a part of the SUV, obviously blue in colour, hit the side of the Guardhouse in the air. Apparently the Navy Leading Seaman who left the scene has been arrested. There has been no story published yet to my knowledge.
This morning, “Swiftsure Day” in Victoria, I hosted the second “Fort Macaulay Historic Interpretive Tour” with the Victoria Esquimalt Military Reenactors Association (VEMRA) in attendance again this year. They had a bell tent set up and a display as well as my own which exhibited artifacts from Fort Macaulay and Work Point. With me in this venture again were my good friend Ellis Meads, my sister Marilyn Day, as well as Scott Johnson of “Toad Hollow Photography” who kept everything in camera mode. The Esquimalt Archives was represented by Sherri Robinson. Part of the initiative for this event is to raise the historic profile of the Fort in hopes of gaining further recognition within the Parks Canada realm as a Historic Site.
There were around 40 people who were entertained by virtue of self-guided tours based on the map and brief history, by posted building numbers signs, handout and by our walkabouts. The Park does need to be maintained better to be able to gain full advantage of interpreting the site and of course the “villian”ous tagging problem had resurfaced. Aside from all that the structures are still sound and were enjoyed with much interest by everybody who ventured by. The Esquimalt Anglers were happy to be involved and are adding the event to their website; the two kiosk locations added last year were great for people to centre around and visitors appreciated the additional parking available just inside the DND gate at the end of Munro street. Future walkabouts are already planned.
Macaulay Point Park
Hosted by the Esquimalt Parks Department in conjunction with the Greater Victoria Green Team, a cleanup of invasive species was held in Macaulay Point Park by approximately 40 people. The DND was supportive of this Parks-led community project. It is very important to ensure that the Federal Invasive Species project is successful as it links to the longevity of the Park which of course Fort Macaulay is the centre attraction.
At the request of Lt. (N) Harry Learning of Venture, I provided a historical walking tour of Work Point for Nici Baughman, the Director of the Victoria Waterfront Tours located at 475 Head street. Also attending was Lt. (N) David Utzinger, taking over as the Venture NOTC scheduling officer from Harry as of today, and Marilyn Day, as an Esquimalt resident who has the pulse of Esquimalt and is also interested in historical Work Point. Harry and Dave provided a current version of the operations at Work Point. Nici operates a kayak business and of course wishes to know more about the shoreline of Work Point from West Bay to at least McLoughlin Point.
We viewed the Guardhouse, visited inside the Stettler and Haida buildings, the Kingsmill, Nixon and Collier buildings, the Ypres Block and lunched in the Galley. A most interesting walkabout, and reinforced my conviction that the NOTC (Venture) campus is such a worthy institution with its mixture of Canadian and British historical precincts, modern facilities and water front setting, unmatched in Canada and possibly in the world. After the tour inside the fencing, Marilyn and I took Nici to visit McLoughlin Point, where we walked to see the stone house and searchlight emplacements, and viewed “Golf Hill.” She can now have an informed itinerary all along the Work Point shoreline from West Bay to Mcloughlin Point and onto Seal Island (Harrison Island) a popular destination for her kayakers. A touch of “tourism” potential for the Work Point waterfront, she would like to extend it to “Fort Macaulay” next.
“Cycle on” Harry, it’s been a pleasure and enjoy your retirement!
There were some unfamiliar and international army uniforms at Work Point this week, soldiers involved in explosives training.
The “Rainbow” Sea Cadets are apparently relocating from Work Point to HMCS Malahat, their new Headquarters and training centre, straight across the harbour in James Bay.
I noted that the micro wave antennae system which had been mounted on the roof of building # 1058 has been removed.
Work Point Barracks
2483 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
I attended this ceremony once again as an invited guest along with many other supporters interested in the Cadet Corps. Of special significance to me of course is my current association due to the Guardhouse I maintain and its relationship to Work Point Barracks as well as my memories of belonging to cadets and reserves in the mid and late 1950’s at the same location.
There were many awards presented to the cadets as they continue to prove that the cadet organization is a worthy opportunity for youth to gain the advantages of good citizenship and patriotism.
The well-executed and pleasing to watch parade was followed by a reception in the ever popular and coveted setting of the “Gun Room” in the Nixon Building over-looking Rose Bay.
Western Front Association
The Listening Post published by the Western Front Association, which meets annually at the Bay Street Armouries each spring, included an article covering the “Fort Macaulay Historic Interpretation Tour” of May 23rd. They were pleased to be able to add local content.
NEW INVESTMENTS FOR RODD HILL AND FISGARD LIGHTHOUSE
I was happy to be invited to this event to be held at Fort Rodd Hill, and wondering if I was on the list due to my interest and correspondence with Leona Aglukkaq, the Minister responsible. It proved not applicable as with two hours of receiving the email I received another postponing the event. Hopefully it will materialize as in my opinion, and others here in Greater Victoria, Fort Rodd Hill has been shortchanged with Parks Canada funding for numerous years now and is due its share. This is evident in not pursuing its mandate with regards to off-site responsibilities concerning the extant Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence Fortifications and of course local involvement with the FHBRO.
For a list including brief histories of the Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence Fortifications and others on Vancouver Island, look up the web site: British Columbia Forts; Coast Artillery Defences, Victoria-Esquimalt harbours.
CFB Esquimalt Caisson To Get $4.6M Upgrade
The money is being divided among 21 bases across the country. The work will create an estimated 10,000 jobs across Canada by the end of 2016, Duncan said. The government isn’t saying much about security measures, but base personnel will cheer the housing renovations to come.
Two duplexes will be built to replace Belmont Park housing units that have run their course, while about 75 units will receive kitchen renovations, Duncan said. Work is expected to start in the fall and will involve interior and exterior upgrades including the renovation of kitchens “necessary to meet current standards.”
Most Belmont Park homes were constructed in the 1950, 1960 and 1970’s said Lt. Paul Pendergast of Naval Public Affairs. There are just over 700 housing units for CFB Esquimalt staff; Belmont is the largest with about 400.
CFB Esquimalt is one of two naval bases in Canada and is home to the Pacific Naval Fleet. Approximately 4,000 military personnel and 2,000 Department of National Defence civilian personnel work at CFB Esquimalt and its twin Commands, Maritime Forces pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific.
The Lookout carried a similar article on July 13, 2015. That is all great, however once again Work Point is not receiving any attention at a scale worthy of the number of families located there. I wonder where CFB Esquimalt ranks in maintenance dollars spent across the country, there were 17th at last report. Work Point’s housing units were also started in the 1950’s and still retains 12 older civilian houses, to which I haven’t seen much activity.
MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE DRAWS CROWD
Hundreds of visitors braved the summer heat to celebrate the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum’s 30th Anniversary during an open house Saturday, July 4. The celebration began when Capt. (N) Steve Waddell, Base Commander, and retired Rear Admiral Bob Yanow addressed the guests and welcomed them to the museum.
With the assistance of museum staff and the Base Commander, R Adm Yanow cut the ribbon to open the museum’s newest gallery. The scene was reminiscent of the opening of the museum 30 years ago when Admiral Yanow was the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific. Guests were treated to cake after the ribbon cutting, and explored the museum and its newest permanent gallery, which dals with early naval interest in Esquimalt Harbour, and the museum building’s role as a hospital during the First World War.
Members of the Victoria Esquimalt Military Re-enactors Association, in their period uniforms, were a popular attraction as they interacted with visitors throughout the museum exhibits and provided a heritage tea service. Guests also viewed temporary displays from the Military Police and the Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group, spoke to serving submariners and retirees from the Submariner’s Association of Canada (West), and connected with members of the Princess Patricia’s’ Canadian Light Infantry and Queen’s Own Rifles (QOR) Associations, including Ed Widenmaier, who delighted visitors with his knowledge and energy, while wearing the same QOR uniform he was married in.
Outside, young visitors enjoyed a variety of children’s games. Lunch was available from local food trucks, and fascinating displays were provided by the BC Aviation Museum, Vancouver Island Military Museum, the Alberni Project, and the Korea Veterans Association, plus military vehicles from the Lt. Gen. E.C. Ashton Armoury and Museum.
Anyone interested in visiting the new gallery can stop by during regular museum hours, Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3:30 pm except for statutory holidays.
This was a lot of fun preparing additional PPCLI displays, including showing DVD recordings of PPCLI parades by Bruce Dickey on video equipment we borrowed from the PPCLI cadets, two boards I put together with pictures of the PPCLI battalion in Winnipeg in 1939 along with a nominal role, books and other articles of general PPCLI reference. Ed was the main contributor, with tireless energy, built three mannequins in various period uniforms while we three added to and arranged the internal case displays. The museum staff was most co-operative in supplying what we needed for the day and the Lookout, with a little prompting, made special mention in the June 29th publication of the two former Work Point Barracks occupants, the PPCLI and the QOR of C.
Esquimalt Adds Name in Hat to House Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum of B.C. may have an opportunity to stay local and return to its original home in Esquimalt, says Mayor Barb Desjardins. Desjardins said the Township is interested in starting discussions with the Maritime Museum of B.C. Society Board to bring the currently homeless collection back to the place it was born. “It has a lot of opportunity when you think of combining the Maritime Museum and the Military Museum. There’s a lot of opportunity for that kind of facility in Esquimalt.
“We are a maritime community, we have the Navy and we have the First Nations history as well. It would be a fit with Esquimalt and we’re not far away from Victoria and we’re well connected to tourists. It seems to make sense to me.” Municipal archivist Gregory Evans said the museum originally opened its doors in Esquimalt in 1957 where it stayed for roughly seven to eight years before moving to Bastion Square in the mid 1960’s. It was opened by the Navy so that artifacts that were important to both the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy could be saved and displayed somewhere, so they set up in that building that was a married officer’s quarters,” he said.
Desjardins started the process of bringing the museum back roughly a year ago, before it set up shop in the Steamship Terminal. “In the past, we’ve had some preliminary discussions that was before they opted to go to the Steamship building. Since that has now fallen through and they’re looking for another building, certainly we would be open to having discussions,” she said. The next step is to set up a meeting with the museum board to see if they’re interested, something board chair Clay Evans said they’re open to doing.
“We are willing to consider all viable options, particularly if they are on Victoria’s harbour,” said Evans, noting that with limited staff, they are focused on moving the rest of the collection to a space on Seymour street and setting up the new office in the Inner Harbour. “We have had a multitude of enquiries from other Municipalities, from property owners and agents as well as suggestions for alternative approaches such as the ex B.C. Ferry and RCN Vessels….As it stands we are reviewing options but have not seen any that are viable enough to provide the museum with a successful venue and keep the entire collection together.”
Fort Rodd Hill
The above event occurred today, and I chanced an introduction and discussion with Minister John Duncan. My content was that some of the funding be directed at Fort Macaulay under Fort Rodd Hill’s expressed obligations regarding off site Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence Fortifications associated with Fort Rodd Hill. These are contained in the 2003 Management Plan, Executive Summary pages 111 – 1V and pages 7-10.
Now that funding has finally made its way to Vancouver Island, and the fact that Fort Macaulay is as much in- tact as it was when Fort Rodd Hill was built, Parks Canada could expand its umbrella to undertake involvement in Fort Macaulay’s infrastructure deficiencies which you will notice if you visit the site. I intend to further this proposal in the near future.
August 1, 2015
On July 21, 2015 I wrote a letter to the Minister of the Environment, who is also the minister responsible for Parks Canada, re the Fort Rodd Hill funding and a proposal that some of the dollars be spent on the off-site components of the Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence fortifications initially Fort Macaulay. My term of reference is the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada Management Plan – 2003 as I have mentioned.
I received a reply from the Minister July 22nd, which did “acknowledge” the content of my correspondence. This included reference to the demolition of the 1897 Magazine (WP 1030) and other buildings demolished recently where the FHBRO procedures were not followed in my opinion. She said they were (another stand-off) and refers to the now 26 year old 1989 FHBRO 89-205 report as reliable and currently valid. No actual sincerity in recognizing or appreciation of heritage values of her expressed “Canadian military heritage on Canada’s west coast” here. Of course locally, we know heritage is a nice word, but in reality the Department of National Defence has opined in the past “the longer these buildings remain in our inventory, the more risk that they do attract heritage values,” and more recently refers to some buildings as “dozer bait.” Not much change there in attitude over a ten year period.
On the topic of the Fort Rodd Hill funding to include Fort Macaulay, she denied any responsibility as Parks Canada has no jurisdiction over sites it does not own. That may be the case although contrary to their published Strategic Goal: “To take measures and suggest actions that will protect the other places associates with the Victoria Esquimalt coastal defences beyond the boundaries of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse.” (Still another stand-off).
Boring yes! But it is a shame that nobody from the Federal Government or for that matter the Provincial Government will really involve themselves in these issues, “not my jurisdiction.” There have been many trips here by Parks Canada officials from Ottawa who have visited and toured the sites in the past, and then disappeared with no results. They seem to view it as a contest between them and the Department of National Defence, and of course our historical values are lost in that wash. Perhaps one day, through persistence, there will be an attitude change.
From within the local interest chat lines I understand that a committee from the Base was conducting a survey of Work Point relative to the life expectancy of the buildings over the next twenty years. Of course their referencing was wrong, the Haida building (1020) is FHBRO Recognized, along with the Stettler (1004) and Ypres (1075) buildings, this would be confirmed if they would look at the Historic Places web site. It appears to me that perhaps the March 2013 CFB Esquimalt Heritage Design Guidelines Final Report may be involved here as it mistakenly contains a false history of Work Point and does not show the Haida (1020) building as Heritage Recognized. And via the FHBRO report 89-205, the three other brick RGA (1068, 1070 and 1071) buildings are all just 2 points shy of Recognized status. Also, based on recent interaction with the Base officials, the DND as “custodians,” will not entertain requesting a heritage re-evaluation of buildings at Work Point. Such a travesty I have recorded previously and the future of these historic buildings, perhaps all five, all comfortably occupied, is once again in doubt.
The Friends of Cole Island Society
On invitation I attended the 10th anniversary of the Friends of Cole Island Society function. Very well attended it offered an opportunity to witness a successful community based venture of an historic landscape feature, Cole Island. In particular one of the buildings, # 156, is now home to U Vic as one of their classrooms facilities. It proves that if there is an opportunity to involve with the community, adaptive re-use is quite possible, and successful. Noticeably absent was any representation from Federal Departments, either the DND or Parks Canada. For more on this Society their web site is www.coleisland.ca, they would happy to hear from you.
Based on the 1879 drawing signed by Lt. Col. D.T. Irwin, R.A., Inspector of Artillery, Dominion of Canada, I have written a summary article for the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum web site under “Coastal Defence.” This account is entitled “The First Coast Defence Batteries” and refers to guns placed at Finlayson Point; Victoria Point; Macaulay Point and Brother’s Island, their origin and current status.
With reference to the preservation of Canadian Military Heritage and of course accuracy being perpetuated, I raise the issue of Lt. Mike Levy, “D” Company Platoon Commander, 2 PPCLI, Korea, April 25, 1951 at the battle of Kapyong. The “rest of the story” is what I will emphasize. During the battle, Lt. Levy, upon his own initiative in the centre and in the heat of battle, requested artillery fire “danger close” on his own position. He then monitored the fire with repeated co-ordinates from the ground to ensure the result was as effective as could possibly be inflicted on the charging enemy. This was truly a heroic act, perhaps of equal or greater focus than those of many other recognized acts of gallantry in warfare. The messages were relayed from Battalion HQ to the New Zealand artillery and they responded with great accuracy and despatch. Unfortunately the Company Commander A/ Captain Wally Mills, who relayed the fire directions was the one recommended for gallantry and received the Military Cross, while there was no nomination for Lt. Levy and his actions.
The reasons for this are perhaps many and some speculative of course. The point is that three official histories written by the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, versions are not accurate and portray A/Captain Mills as the one who was responsible for calling down the fire. In context, this is contrary to the 2 PPCLI war diary of that day. The actions of Lt. Mike Levy have been confirmed by many who took part in the battle and published in the 2003 book “Beyond the Danger Close” by Hub Gray, a Lieutenant at the time. It has also been a quest of Major (Ret’d) Murray Edwards, 2nd Battalion Quartermaster at the time, to see that due recognition be brought to bear on behalf of the unsung hero of the battle, Lt. Mike Levy. Murray Edwards has recently re-stated his version of the battle with continued reference to the bravery in the field and also the injustice to Lt. Mike Levy.
Of the fifty publications and web sites I have reviewed it was revealed that from 1956 when the DHH wrote their first account “Canada’s Army in Korea” only Capt. Mills was mentioned. Following this trend, the DHH wrote “Strange Battleground” in 1966 and “Canada and the Korean War” in 2002; the various official PPCLI histories in 1957 and 1972, the Patrician in 1961 and 1973; as well as the War Museum’s “Battle Series” in 1988, the VAC’s “Valour Remembered” in 1966, and the “Sentinel” by the NDHQ in 1975 only referenced Capt. Mills. The myth has been perpetuated and it wasn’t until 1999 that David Burcuson in “Blood on the Hills” included the actions of Mike Levy. Also in 1999 “Deadlock in Korea” by Ted Barris; “The Patricia’s” in 2001 by David Burcuson; in 2003 the heralded and respected version by Hub Gray “Beyond the Danger Close”; “Fortune Favours the Brave” by William Johnston in 2009; and “Triumph at Kapyong” in 2011 by Dan Bjarnason included the actions by Lt. Mike. There are two web sites that have referenced Mike Levy, the “talkingproud” and “winnipegrealtors,” both in 2013 but not the Loyal Edmonton Regiment’s web site.
Of recent record, June 11, 2015, there were three buildings at CFB Shilo, the home of 2 PPCLI at Kapyong Barracks, named in commemoration of three 2 PPCLI soldiers who took part in the battle. Take nothing away from these three gentlemen, but what about Lt. Levy, forgotten again, or overlooked again, and for what reason. Certainly the complete story can be included without prejudice to others involved and be justly commemorated by the PPCLI without furthering ignorance of the true heroics of a man who may have been solely responsible for the positive outcome of the Battle of Kapyong. Mike Levy passed away in 2007.
I noted today that the Peter’s Street entrance and the Lyall Street entrances to Work Point are open and no longer have a regular security presence. Coincidentally, one year after the shooting at Parliament Hill.
I have submitted to the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum an article on the six extant historic buildings at Work Point Barracks for inclusion on their web site. This includes current photographs, a link to the FHBRO building report 89-205 containing a history of Work Point Barracks and the Victoria Esquimalt Coastal Defence System, along with reference to the individual buildings. This study is more accurate and of course differs from the March 2013 CFB Esquimalt Heritage Guidelines Final Report in regards to the history of Work Point Barracks and specifically in terms of building WP 1020 being “Recognized.”.
Esquimalt During WW1
The left gun emplacement area at Fort Macaulay was flooded during the overnight rain storm but was attended to by the Esquimalt Public Works Department. The dogs enjoyed wading in it but this was still a hazard to others. During the year some of the roof structure of building 1200 was lost, this was where the original forge exhausted to the outside. The Fort is in need of ongoing attention as has been pointed out continually. To this topic I am still curious if the FHBRO report 10-102 has been finalized yet. This report has been delayed for unknown reasons.
CAF Ombudsman visiting Esquimalt next week – “He wants to hear from you”.
I wonder if the proposed Town Hall meetings would include a delegation from Work Point, even though their Town Hall was demolished in October 2014. The CAF Ombudsman’s telephone number is 1-800-828-3236. “The ultimate goal of the Ombudsman is to contribute to substantial and long lasting improvements to the defence community,” Mr. Gary Wolbourne.
Esquimalt Council Meeting Agenda
Some specific points and observations: DND Lands
The study area does not include the DND lands as the Township has no authority over Federal lands, however, when considering heights and uses in the study area a great deal of consideration should be given to DND owned lands. Over the more than two decades we have owned property in the neighbourhood we have seen considerable building activity on the DND lands and we are aware that the DND has substantial future building plans. We have seen recent construction of the accommodations building at Work Point. This building has an effective height of almost 8 storeys of conventional building construction. We see it as a precedent and we do not think its height offensive or negatively impacting adjacent uses including our own property. DND is a major employer in Greater Victoria. Additional housing is required for their staff and civilian contractor staff. Higher density housing both on DND lands and on adjacent lands, like those in the study area calls for increased density. It is not conceivable, and we would say likely, that a good portion of that housing will be in the form of mid-rise housing (4 - 10 stories).
This is most interesting, the content and source of proposed buildings reference would have to be confirmed before this is to be relied on as true statements for the future of Work Point. If anything, aside from the 2006 – 6 storey NOTC (Venture) accommodation building and the galley, the focus over the past number of decades has been for retention of some and demolition or sale for others. This principle seems to still be current by reports and is evident by the lack of care and maintenance in general for all of Work Point. In 2006 the by-law for civilian Esquimalt dictated a maximum of 4 storys in height allowed within the Township.
Bay Street Armoury 100 Year Anniversary
This celebration was a tremendous time for all those interested in our local military history as well as the participants. I co-contributed to the displays of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum and the Esquimalt archives. Once again a few tears were shed when the Canadian Scottish Pipe Band played, with all eyes and ears fixed on their performance. The Lone Piper dressed in a WW 1 - 16th Battalion (CEF) uniform, was my good friend Jack Drysdale. As proposed in some circles, the Armoury should be renamed “Currie Armoury,” quite relevant.
This article “Tim Hortons touches down in Belmont Park” is a good thing for Belmont Park residents however on my theme of continuing neglect of amenities for the residents of Work Point’s married quarters, it is another example.
Building WP 1068, the Hill 70 Building, or the original RGA Detention Barracks, was in use for another Urban Search and Rescue course today. It is the stage for these activities and was attended by members of the military, civilian counterparts from Fire Departments and other search and rescue jurisdictions. The integrity of the main structure and surrounding walls remains intact.
“Forthright and Candid Military Ombudsman Visits Base”
It would be interesting to see to what lengths the over 160 Residential Housing Units at Work Point were represented at a Town Hall meeting; I would like to hope that all the residents and families had the opportunity to be involved.
The search is still on for the missing letters and odd items from the Work Point Barracks Officer’s Mess, demolished in 2005. The question is, where did they disappear to? See February 19, 2004 for an article published in “The Headway” and December 5, 2004 in the Times Colonist “A Window into History,” for the story.
On September 11, 2012 at Lund’s Auctions, three lots of DND plans appeared.
— Lot 141: Box of Blueprints – Barracks and Drill Hall drawings
— Lot 220: Box of Blueprints – DND Naval
— Lot 283: Box of Blueprints – Work Point
I was outbid on them and tried to contact the successful bidders to no avail. Of course I am interested in the Work Point drawings. These were all original ink on linen drawings and included the Menzies Street Drill hall, the Veteran’s Cemetery in Esquimalt and buildings 1004, 1020 and 1030 at Work Point Barracks, to recall a few from each lot. I would of course like to at least obtain copies of certain plans if they were to become available. Perhaps they will!
For those looking to see what dedications 3 PPCLI had applied to extant Work Point buildings prior to 1994:
WP 1091 (Rainbow) was the Mons Building, WP 1092 (Oakville) was the Vimy Building and WP 1094 (Admiral A.L. Collier) was the Brigadier Arthur de LaLanne building. These buildings have not been referred to on topic previously except WP 1094.
After a quick look around Work Point “proper” today, I noted that the long grass and weeds had been cleaned up around the RGA precinct, very appropriate. Also, in the rear of WP 1020, some building sewer work had been done from the building. This is likely where in early June a couple of antiquated shells were discovered, no follow up response on that yet. I presume they may have been some of the 6” RBL ordnance from Fort Macaulay which decorated Work Point roadways in years gone by. Happy to say there was nothing untoward going into 2016.