Unknown Victoria

Victoria: The Unknown City is a guidebook to an eccentric town on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This is the author's blog. Look here for Victoria lore, updates and additions to the book, and hate mail.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tower of Power

For many decades, one of the most distinctive sights on the Inner Harbour was the water tower of the Sidney Roofing and Paper factory (at left is how it appeared in the 1960s), located where the Ocean Pointe Resort is today. Adorned with a neon sign advertising Duroid shingles, a company product made from recycled rubber, the tower was visible everywhere on the downtown waterfront. But what happened to it? Believe it or not, even though the factory was dismantled in the 1980s, the old tower still stands – on the property of Kimoff Wholesale Nurseries, at 6656 Welch Road in Central Saanich.

Peter Kimoff bought the tower (seen at right) in 1995 from a View Royal sawmill, which had been using it for fire protection. But Kimoff’s neighbours were hardly pleased about having the landmark around: he says he had to go to court four times to battle complaints that the tower might fall on an adjacent property before he finally won permission to let it stand. No one knows what happened to the old neon, but the blocks that once provided the foundation for the tower are now part of the observation platform on Songhees Point.

UPDATE (May 8, 2009): I'm sorry to report that Peter Kimoff passed away recently, at the age of 79. He was quite a character, as you can read in a Times Colonist story about his life, posted here. As it explains, Kimoff acquired the water tower from a neighbour whose family owned Victoria Plywood, another business on the Songhees waterfront.


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