British Columbia Parliament Building – Birdcages

Parliament Building Birdcages 9 Parliament Building Birdcages 3

The grounds on the south side of the Parliament Buildings in downtown Victoria are a Heritage British Columbia site called the Birdcages. The original five legislative structures, resembling unique birdcages with styles of Chinese pagoda, Swiss cottages and Italian villas, for the British colony on Vancouver Island were used in eighteen sixty. With the growth of the region, four of the buildings were moved, mostly demolished, when the current provincial capital building was completed by eighteen ninety eight. The fifth one survived until it succumbed to a fire in the nineteen fifties. There are numerous trees and shrubs placed in the ground beside the lawns, notable a copper beech tree planted in nineteen nineteen and a stately American elm tree estimated from the Birdcage period. The beech is located along the pathway from the water fountain to the fireman and law enforcement memorials; the elm is closer to the junction of Superior and Menzies streets. The water fountain, a centennial fountain built in nineteen sixty two, commemorates the four colonies that formed British Columbia with animal motifs: gulls and sea otters are surrounded by a raven, eagle, bear and wolf which represent the Haida, Tahltan, Tlingit, Nootka, Salish and interior regions. The fountain is in a circular concrete plaza with several benches and picnic tables. A large ornamental cherry tree provides shade to the southwest side of the small plaza. A pathway from Superior Street leads toward the wide thirteen step staircase to the portico on this end of the building. The lawns are surrounded by a boxwood hedge with several shore pine and other coniferous trees.

Geographic coordinates N48° 25′ 6” W123° 22′ 14″

British Columbia Parliament Building – Birdcages can be reached from Blanchard Street. Blanchard Street curves to become Belleville Street. Continue along Belleville Street then turn onto Government Street. This street in the downtown area of Victoria, B.C., has the gardens for the Empress Hotel, Thunderbird Park, the Royal BC Museum as well as the Parliament Buildings. Turn right onto Superior Street and look for parking along this street; note your parking spot for payment.

Maps, photographs and a walking tour of the Parliament Building gardens can be found on the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia website.

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