Have you ever wandered down Government Street and noticed a sculpture of bronze hands holding a fan? Or wondered why there are a pair of hands holding binoculars on Wharf Street? These are just two of The Hands of Time, a 12-part series of bronze sculptures by B.C. artist Crystal Przybille to commemorate the City of Victoria's 150th anniversary of incorporation in 2012.
If you've never visited or noticed the sculptures, plan for a fun exploration that combines the beauty, history and culture of Victoria! The artwork is designed to playfully engage young and old, local and visitor, while sparking interest in Victoria's history and identity.
The Hands of Time sculptures can be found on buildings, lamp standards, rocks in landscaped areas, and on bedrock. The three-dimensional hands vary in culture, age and gender, and quietly convey eras and stories of Victoria. Below is a list of the sculptures and the locations:
1. Carving a Canoe Paddle
Location: On bedrock in Lime Bay Park, southwest of Songhees Walkway
The paddle element of this sculpture was designed by First Nations artist, Clarence Dick. The sculpture references Lekwungen culture, both past and present.
2. Holding a Railway Spike
Location: On lamp standard, east side of Wharf Street, between Pandora Avenue and Johnson Street
This sculpture references the history and impact of the construction of an island railroad in the 1880s, which connected Victoria with the railway system of Canada. This artwork is in proximity to the old E&N Railroad.
3. Performing with a Fan
Location: On lamp standard, east side of Government Street, between Fisgard Street and Pandora Avenue
This sculpture symbolizes the significance of Chinese culture and the performing arts in Victoria's identity. It is situated in proximity to the McPherson Playhouse and the gates of Canada's oldest Chinatown.
4. Carrying Point Blankets
Location: On west entrance of The Hudson, 1700 Block of Douglas Street
This sculpture references the historical significance of the Hudson's Bay Company to Victoria's identity. The Hudson's Bay Company extensively traded wool point blankets during the North American Fur Trade.
5. Carrying Books
Location: On west wall of Victoria City Hall at Pandora Avenue entrance
The books symbolize education and governance in the Capital City of British Columbia.
6. Holding Binoculars
Location: On brick wall west side of Wharf Street, near Bastion Square
This sculpture looks out to the ocean, referencing the compelling nature of Victoria's geography and the foundation of its tourism and sightseeing industries.
7. Tying a Rope to a Mooring Ring
Location: On bedrock near David Foster Way, below Wharf Street, between Fort and Broughton Streets
This sculpture references the arrival of the first tall ships to the area and Victoria's nautical identity. Original mooring rings - remnants of Fort Victoria - can be found at this location.
8. Panning for Gold
Location: Within landscaping below Wharf Street, near Broughton Street
This sculpture references the Gold Rush of 1858 that brought many people to Fort
Victoria and is situated near the Custom House, where mining licences were administered.
9. Raising a Tea Cup
Location: On lamp standard at corner of Government and Humboldt Streets near the Fairmont Empress Hotel
This sculpture references Victoria's traditional, customary and historical connections to Britain.
10. Holding a Mirror
Location: Lower Causeway wall, below Government Street, near the central staircase
This sculpture reflects the Inner Harbour, which is key to Victoria's history and identity. The reflection and text in the mirror reminds us that where we are now - the present - is a result of all that has come before, and is part of all that is yet to come.
11. Cupping Dogwood Blossoms
Location: On lamp standard north side of Belleville Street, near Government Street
Pacific Dogwood is British Columbia's floral emblem. This sculpture symbolizes Victoria as B.C.'s Capital City, and the importance of appreciating the present and nurturing the future.
12. Digging Camas Bulbs
Location: On rockbed in garden on Beacon Hill, at Beacon Hill Park
The gathering basket element of this sculpture was designed by First Nations artist
Carolyn Memnook. Gathering baskets and digging sticks were utilized by the Lekwungen people to gather Camas bulbs for food. The site of this sculpture overlooks a vast Camas bulb field, a traditional territory of the Lekwungen people.
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