UPDATE: Urban Oases of Victoria - The Paper Box Arcade

After a little bit of work, I have an update to my last post. It turns out that the plan for the parkette in the parking lot between the 500 block of Yates and Johnson Street, was done by Franc D'Ambrosio. He has kindly provided the images and they are way more amazing than I remember. 

The background is that the plans were done as part of a visioning for the Downtown Victoria 2020 Conference. Not much is still on the web from the conference (with the exception of Vibrant Victoria, of course) and the actual Downtown Victoria 2020 Conference Society, which seems to still do some work around town, is rather internet elusive. From what I remember of the conference series, which ran for a few years in the early 2000's is that it was meant to try and bring together people across a broad spectrum of the population that all shared downtown and then try and come up with some original and unique ideas. I believe that there was some work done for Rock Bay as well and many other things, but it was this park idea that stuck in my mind. Here is the layout and perspective for the park. 

Courtesy Of Franc D'Ambrosio and D'Ambrosio Architecture at http://www.fdarc.ca/
The parking lot is all private land so it would have required a significant donation to the public for this to have come about. Still if you compare the use of the parking lot in the photo above to now, it seems as though the land is significantly underused. Could the City not come to some deal with the landowners to give the land to the City in return for additional property tax holidays like they do through the Victoria Heritage Foundation. I am certain that the benefit of such a creative and special place would make it worthwhile. 

Not as busy a lot anymore...
I know that some people worry about creating spaces like this because they can get used for ill purposes, however, I think if you create a space that gets used and has people that care about it looking in, for the most part these type of things can be avoided. Certainly, if the perimeter had an assortment of patios for restaurants and pubs, it would be a vibrant space much of the year.

If you would like to see the full high res story board, Franc D'Ambrosio has kindly supplied a copy here. I would strongly encourage you to have a look at this amazing vision in its entirety.