The scene of white-clad lawn bowlers playing amid highrises, long an icon of downtown Victoria, will soon vanish, as the city plans to turn a long-established club's greens into underground parking and a hard-surfaced urban plaza.
"Mayor Alan Lowe said the greens the Canadian Pacific Lawn Bowling Club has leased behind the Crystal Garden for 77 years at $1 a year are 'very valuable to the city.'"
"He wants the area as open space with underground parking for the Victoria Conference Centre across the street, which is expanding into the Crystal Garden, leased by the city from the Provincial Capital Commission."
"Club president Ray Turner is resigned to leaving the greens, but said it's tough. 'You get used to the club and like the area.' If players liked the area, tourists liked the bowlers, frequently stopping to photograph the unexpected activity in the middle of the city."
"Robert Randall, president of the Downtown Residents Association, and an advocate of more development downtown, said he likes having the bowlers in the city's core. 'Here's this kind of crazy random idea of a bunch of old folks rolling a ball along the field. It's not contrived. And it's what we want to see: genuine experiences. If they replace one vibrant green space with a dead green space, what are we accomplishing here except to evict people with a healthy pastime?'"