Mid-Block Walkways of Victoria - Fort to Belleville Street

Bet you didn't know we had a Royal Mall!
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I love a good mid-block walkway and after reading my first three (One, Two and Three), you  likely thought that we had seen all that we could downtown. I will admit that this walkway is not going to save you much time, but it takes you through one of the most recently built-up parts of Victoria and has a very urban feel to it. 

The best place to start this little adventure is at the bus stop
The very cool Sussex building.
just to the east of Douglas on Fort Street. Just behind this bus stop is the very strangely named Royal Mall which consists of about three commercial spaces, only one which seems to be in operation. As you follow the pathway around to the right you will come out into the courtyard of the Sussex building, perhaps one of the most beautiful post modern buildings in Victoria. It is clearly a take on an art deco office tower but with that 1990's spin. The courtyard is a great place to stop for some Mexican food or enjoy a coffee. 

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Head out the passage that is at the south-east. Across the
Downtown Victoria's only urban
street is perhaps the only real alleyway in downtown Victoria. As you head down the alley you are behind the Strathcona Hotel. The alley takes you down to Courtenay Street. The brick building to your left was at one time the exclusive, Alexandra Ladies' Club, the female counterpart to the Union Club which is just two blocks from here. 

As you look across Courtenay Street you will see one of the most divisive buildings in recent memory in the city. The Falls, designed by James Cheng, was a seminal development in the city. Prior to it being built, there was an almost automatic reaction on the part of vocal parts of the city and media to condemn any new building but a concerted effort on the part of many in the city led to a council meeting that changed the conversation on new
The Falls
developments. The building has a very distinct look and is in my opinion one of the most beautiful in the city. One of the amenities that the building had to provide was a publicly accessible walkway through the building during business hours. It is a strange amenity given that the sidewalk is only about 10 metres further down the street. Still you access it across from the entrance to the Sticky Wicket. Go through the car entrance and follow the right hand side. 

The walkway behind the Aria building.

Once you are through you will be on Burdett Street, just to the left of Browns Social House. Walk up the hill to Penwell Street and then head down it until you get to Humboldt Street. Across the street is the Aria building and on its western end is a walkway that will connect with another walkway that goes along the back of the building. Take the walkway to the left and move towards Cridge Park. To your right is the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club. 

Cridge Park
The Cridge Park is an interesting little park, which for the longest time, was just a small green space surrounded by empty parking lots. After the development of the Aria and the buildings across the street, the City fixed it up and it is now a great little space. To the left is the Church of Our Lord, the oldest church in downtown Victoria. 

Once you make it through the park you will be on the corner of Blanshard Street and Belleville, just across the road is St. Ann's Academy. You can actually continue your mid-block walk through here to Beacon Hill Park but this is as far as I go today. 
Victoria Lawn Bowling Club

The Falls public walkway entrance (well
you actually have to go through the garage).

Alexandra Ladies Club