The Gorge

Tillicum Rd Bridge on Gorge copyThe Gorge is a very historical inland sea where past generations of Victorians would spend summer days swimming, sunbathing, canoeing, rowing and generally lazing around.

Gorge SwimingSwimming In the Gorge

The photographer travelled under the Point Ellice (Bay Street) Bridge. In 1896, this was the site of a horrific accident when a streetcar designed to carry 60 people was drastically overloaded with 142 passengers, collapsed under the weight. 55 people died in what still stands as North America’s worst streetcar incident.In the past, the houses of the wealthy lined the Gorge and some remain today, although most are gone. ¬†Point Ellice House, the home of the O’Reilly family is still served via water today. Visitors can be dropped at the dock just as happened a century ago.

The reversing falls was a tidal phenomenon located at the narrowest point in the Gorge Waterway. During certain tides large volumes of water attempt to flow through a narrow, shallow opening, creating a “reversing falls” with a current of up to 6 knots (11 kilometers per hour/6.5 miles per hour) and up to 5.75 feet (1.75 meters) difference in the water level on either side. The rocks that caused the tidal phenomen were removed in the 20th century.

The Gorge swimming area once had diving towers and was the site of several competitions.

Recreational boating such as kayaking, canoeing and rowing is practiced in the Gorge, with rowing limited to the lower portion. Many of the historical industrial sites in the Selkirk Water of the lower Gorge have been replaced with residential housing, except for a scrap metal recycling operation. The Selkirk train trestle has been converted to a pedestrian and cycle bridge that forms part of the highly used Galloping Goose multi-use trail.

The Selkirk waterfront is located at the north end of the trestle and was once a working sawmill, one of many along this body of water. Today is is home to the Victoria Rowing Club as well as a newly-developed residential areas with office buildings, restaurants, businesses and a school.

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This Hallmark Heritage Society project was funded by the HBC Foundation and the BC150-Heritage Legacy Fund

Project manager and researcher: Helen Edwards

Principal Photography & Consultant: Ron Bukta, West Ventures Photography