Victoria Square reopens – Friday 9 March 2018

Today Victoria Square has reopened. It has been closed for a year, having a revamp and repairs.

What’s new:

  • New pieces of art have been added including Ngā Whāriki Manaaki – Woven mats of welcome, and a Literary Trail (series of text sculptures).
  • The Bowker Fountain will be working again and will put on a water and light display.

Here’s what Victoria Square looked like this morning:

Find out more about Victoria Square

Photo Hunt October: Park Royal Hotel 1996

Park Royal Hotel, from Victoria Square, 1996.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Iris Hogers. Kete Christchurch PH14-230.jpg CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0NZ

The Park Royal Hotel from Victoria Square, 1996. The Park Royal (later renamed the Crowne Plaza) was opened in October 1988 and demolished in 2012 following the 2010/2011 earthquakes.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The sailor of Victoria Square: Captain James Cook

83 years ago today on 10 August 1932 the Captain Cook statue in Victoria Square created by local sculptor William Trethewey was unveiled by the Governor-General of the time, Lord Bledisloe.

Unveiling of the Captain Cook statue in Victoria Square by the Governor-General

It is a marble figure on a granite base, the inscription upon which reads –

James Cook, Captain, Royal Navy, circumnavigator who first hoisted the British flag in New Zealand and explored her seas and coasts, 1769–70, 1773–4, 1777

Although the statue survived Christchurch’s quakes undamaged, his dignity has taken something of a blow recently as he currently sports a jaunty, distinctly Cantabrian hat.Captain Cook with traffic cone hat

Though his environs and view may have changed a bit in recent years, still he stands, looking always towards the sea…

For more about Captain Cook

Have your say on Victoria Square

It is time for you to have your say on the future of Victoria Square.

Share your views with the Christchurch Central Development Unit. Feedback closes 24 April 2015.

Victoria Square, Christchurch, 1910 : a panorama looking towards the north-east. [1910]

Victoria Square, Christchurch, 1910 : a panorama looking towards the north-east [1910] CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0005

We have some resources that might help you think about Victoria Square and its long history.

Pictures of Victoria Square

Search our catalogue for photos of Victoria Square and Market Square, and view photos of Victoria Square on our Flickr site. Find more images on DigitalNZ, including this set Market Square / Victoria Square.

Heritage Christchurch – Victoria Square

Join local historian and author Dr Geoff Rice for a talk on Victoria Square.

Geoff will tell you about the rich history of this area and share interesting stories about the people, buildings and activities that have shaped this area over the years.

When: Thursday 6 March 9 – 10 am

Where: Central Library Peterborough

cover of Christchurch Changingcover of Christchurch crimescover for All fall down

Walk & talk Victoria Square

It is nearly time for the Reconnect festival, a programme full of experiencing Christchurch heritage. This Sunday 20 October Christchurch City Libraries joins with local historian Dr Geoff Rice to provide a historical tour of Market Square, now Victoria Square.

If you enjoy listening to local history talks then this walk and talk may just suit you. The tour will focus on some of the buildings, activities and individuals associated with the square from over the last 160 years.

A colleague has been honing his research skills and has located some fascinating tidbits from old newspapers. One article was about lighting the Queen Victoria statue in 1948. I can’t say too much, but the article made fellow librarians let out a collective gasp when it was read aloud. My lips are sealed but this is one gem worth coming to hear.

Let’s hope for a sunny spring Sunday morning this weekend for the 11am tour. Contingency plans have been put in place and the tour will go ahead even if the weather is not playing its part. Get in the mood for this event by browsing Victoria Square photographs from our collection.

Photo of a memorial service for Canterbury officers and soldiers killed in the South African Boer War, Victoria Square, 1913Photo of statue of Queen VictoriaPhoto of bus in Victoria SquarePhoto of James Hay bridgePhoto of Captain Cook StatuePhoto of the unveiling of the Captain Cook statue in Victoria Square in 1932