UPDATE: Victoria's Bizarre Neighbourhood Borders - A Story of a Traffic Sign

No, nothing has changed in the last year when it comes to the ridiculous selection of the borders for the neighbourhoods in our city. If you have not read my original post on it, please do here: Rockland Avenue or Fight! Victoria's Bizarre Neighbourhood Borders.

What got me thinking about the borders again was a simple speed limit sign on Cormorant Street.

I am well aware of the large controversy around the amending of the speed limits in the city and I am not going to get into that here at all, but that decision is why the sign is here.

On the City's website you can find a useful map that indicates all of the places the new 40km/h is in effect. And that is what leads me back to this lonely sign on Cormorant Street.

If you have never walked on Cormorant Street between Blanshard and Quadra, it is an interesting mix of businesses, residential, non-profits and a church. It has that unique North Park mix of buildings, except for the enormous, overshadowing and overpowering, Ministry of Health building or Richard Blanshard Building, as it is also known. Due to the city facing and urban nature of the health building, the City of Victoria snipped off the block on which the building sits from the North Park neighbourhood. You can see that on this map of the neighbourhood boundaries. If you think that the 40km/h zone and the neighbourhood boundary for downtown match exactly, you would be right. And that is why we see this sign on the corner of Amelia and Cormorant, it is sitting Downtown and the land beyond is North Park.

Of course, the sign is ridiculous. Why the City would put a sign on this quiet street indicating the end of the 40k zone is bizarre. I guess you can technically speed up to 50 for the half block before you get to Quadra, but it is more than just the blind bureaucratic decision making that led to the sign placement here.

The reason the sign is here, on this neighbourhood border, is because in Victoria we have made these arbitrary lines more powerful than they ever should have been. The City and all Victorians need to take a step back from the balkanization of the city into little fiefdoms. It is actions such as this by the City that embolden the neighbourhoods into thinking that they are more than a simple line drawn on a map.

As you will have seen in my original article, I think it is time for all of us to amend our neighbourhood boundaries and have them align with a sense of place rather than just an arbitrary line that clearly means nothing to the contiguity of the built form. Included in my original article, was my starting place for redrawing the neighbourhood lines so that they followed, in my opinion, that sense of place that each neighbourhood has. The big caveat of course is that the lines must be organic and need to be revisited on a regular basis.

Have you found any other border symbols in Victoria?


  1. I concur 100%. As if the CRD were not already balkanized enough, the powers that be feel a need to further subdivide neighbourhoods based on nothing related to the current reality.


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