I spent a lovely weekend with friends in the Capital , here are a few observations from my walkabouts.

Amazing what a vision from a developer and a creative team of designers and architects can achieve when they decide against conveniently tearing down a tired building instead developing a series of rich, vibrant spaces.  Witness the before and after of Victoria’s Fort Common.

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Before.  NE Corner of Blanshard and Broughton Streets.

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After. Discovery Coffee anchors a new vibrant corner with outdoor patio seating and lots of room for bikes.

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The old South elevation facing Broughton Street.

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The entrance to The Livet Restaurant/Bar, above a vibrant second level patio space awaits.  Fresh wood and glass playing off a slick black backdrop against a bold pop of Yellow all work well.

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In addition to Discovery Coffee and The Livet, the new site configuration opens up the exciting new Fort Commons flexible space.  Just follow the narrow entrance.

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The before and after of the courtyard space is inspiring, from Carpark to People park.  From the developer Fort Properties:  “The Fort Common is a revitalized brick carriage courtyard in the heart of downtown Victoria. A blank slate, this 3000 sq ft urban outdoor venue is perfect for events large and small, including family reunions, weddings, corporate retreats and meetings.”

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Before. A parking lot for Vehicles.

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After.  Red Arrows show Pedestrian entrances.

Vancouver, I know property prices are high but not every bland structure needs to be torn down.  Re-purposing and redesigning older buildings is not only more sustainable but adds texture and variation to the cityscape.  More information on Victoria’s Fort Commons here