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History of Racialisation Group
Victoria, BC CANADA
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17 July 2000

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Imperial Paradise?
An Alternative Walking Tour of Victoria, BC

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Why Did We Develop This Tour?

Rudyard Kipling, one of the most dedicated imperialists of the nineteenth century, admired Victoria immensely. He noted that "Real estate agents recommend it as a little piece of England," but with some precision he went on to clarify that "no England is set in any such seas. To realise Victoria you must take in all that the eye admires most in Bournemouth, Torquay, the Isle of Wight, the Happy Valley of Hong Kong, the Doon, Sorrento, and Camps Bay; add reminiscences of the Thousand Islands, and arrange the whole round the Bay of Naples, with some of the Himalayas for the background."

Victoria the Beautiful -- the City as it is promoted to visitors.
The Legislature and James Bay -- as viewed from the Causeway

Beautiful as it was -- as it continues to be -- it was not quite England.

This tour investigates Victoria's relationship to its supposed Englishness, and more importantly, its imperial spirit.

What does it mean to sell a Canadian city as a "little piece of England"? What part does the history of the island play in this marketing strategy? Indeed, is there room for history? All too often although landmarks and tourist attractions are publicised as historic, the history they represent is carefully censored. Here, we hope to draw your attention to some of the censored segments of Canada's imperial history, and to start some interesting discussions about how tourism and marketing play with history to attract our attention -- and our dollars.

We hope you enjoy our tour and our city. See you on the streets of Victoria!

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 Previous Stop <--   --> Next Stop--> Introduction--> Songhees --> Bastion Square --> Eaton's --> Government Street --> The Empress Hotel --> Captain Cook --> The Legislature --> Queen Victoria