The vision of Victoria as a major industrial centre and cargo terminal began early in the 20th century, as the city anticipated a massive increase in sea trade from deep-sea vessels using the Panama Canal, which was then under construction.
Preparations for the expected increase in shipping included building a 2,500-foot granite and concrete breakwater, which was completed in 1916. Work on The Ogden Point Breakwater included over one million tons of rock and ten thousand granite blocks. Two piers and a cargo warehouse were completed in 1918. Construction included fifty three concrete caissons and over one million cubic yards of dredged fill.
Total cost of the project was $5 million.
The History of Ogden Point
- 1843: Named for Peter Skene Ogden, 1794-1854, an official with the Hudson's Bay Co.
- 1925: Panama Pacific Grain Terminal Elevator Co. Ltd. and city of Victoria agree to build a grain terminal with 22 storage bins, standing 93 feet high, to load Prairie grain into ships heading to ports around the world. A railway serviced the $500,000 grain terminal.
- 1928: Ottawa handed over administration of Ogden Point docks to the Canadian National Railway. About this time, B.C. Packers built its fish processing and cold storage plant.
- 1969. CNR dredges Ogden Point shipping berths and increases storage space for busy facility. Millions of board feet of lumber and millions of bushels of grain pass through port.
- 1970. Federal government spends $1 million on Ogden Point facelift.
- Aug.8, 1977. Fire rips through Canadian National Railway's 140,000 square foot warehouse, causing more than $3 million in losses, destroying the 1911 building, newsprint rolls and 6,800 tons of baled pulp. Port Angeles citizens thought Victoria was on fire and thousands of local residents turned out to watch the spectacular blaze. All firefighting equipment from Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and the Dockyard fire departments put into service and Seaspan tugs battled the fire from the water.
-- January 1978. CNR hands Ogden Point back to Transport Canada. Westcan Terminals leases the site. Pier A raised and 100,000-square-foot concrete warehouse is built. The CNR discontinued rail service to Ogden Point and removed all remaining rail tracks in 1987 and the rail barge ramp was removed in 1994.
- 1978. The grain elevator situated on Pier North B was dismantled.
- 1984. The last major lumber shipper to Ogden Point Terminal, Sooke Forest Products was forced into bankruptcy.
- 1985. Island Jetfoil operated for the year from the head of Pier North B, a passenger only ferry service to Seattle and Vancouver.
- 1985 -86. Island Ferries operate passenger only service to Vancouver.
- 1987 to 2000. BC Steamships thence Stena Line operated a car carrying ferry service to Seattle from Pier South B.
- 1987. Helijet commenced helicopter service to Vancouver.
- March 31, 1990. B.C. Packers' 65-year-old, five-storey concrete cold storage fish plant shuts down, putting 75 out of work because fewer fish were being landed in Victoria.
- November 1990. A federal study says Ogden Point should continue to be used for passenger ships, marine cargo and Helijet Airways.
- 1992 to 2006. Fibre Optic Cable maintenance vessels home-ported at Pier South A.
- 1993. B.C. Packers cold storage and fish packing plant is dismantled.
- 1993. The fibre optic cable depot was installed in the warehouse.
- 1996. The Tally Ho horse drawn trolley service began operations at Ogden Point.
- 1996. The Ogden Point Restaurant and Dive Shop commenced operations.
- May 1996. The Ogden Point Enhancement Society is formed to enhance the cruise ship area at the terminal as a gateway to Victoria and for the public recreational use and access.
- June 12, 1997. The Ogden Point Enhancement Society officially opens Phase I of the Concept Plan. Phase I included allowing public access along the South Shore by creating a Marine Access Corridor linked to the shoreline corridor that extends from Ross Bay, to Clover Point, Beacon Hill to the Breakwater and now Ogden Point for public recreational use and enjoyment and to provide a “Gateway” to Victoria for the visiting cruise ships and Navy vessels that will give these visitors a favourable first impression of our beautiful city, while at the same time ensuring the continued operation of the port in a safe and efficient manner.
Phase I consisted of removing the perimeter fence and planting a strip of shrubs and trees to mark the new access area. Two stonework signs to mark the entrance at Dallas Road and flagpoles, decorative Victoria lamp standards with hanging baskets, banners and benches were also installed.
- 2001. The Norwegian Sky is the first weekly scheduled cruise vessel from Seattle embarkation port.
- April 28, 2001. Phase II of the Concept plan is officially opened.
- 2002: Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is established. Ogden Point, with land stretching from the breakwater to the north of the James Bay Anglers site, is among properties owned by the authority. Transport Canada provided several million dollars in start-up funding and to carry out improvements at the sites.
- 2003: Ogden Point receives a $3 million upgrade by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to raise Pier South B and provide Customs facilities.
- 2008: The newly landscaped section near Pier A is completed and introduced to the public August 23rd in association with BC’s 150th anniversary and the arrival of the 150th Cruise Ship in one season. The Ogden Point Enhancement Society launches a web site.