The B.C. Agricultural Association
Exhibition Building at the Willows
Stuart Stark, award-winning Heritage Consultant, tells the grand story of Victoria’s astonishing ‘Crystal Palace’, which was built in 1891 and burned in a night-time conflagration in 1907.
Using social and architectural history, the history of the Exhibition Building is recounted, starting in 1861, when the first agricultural exhibition was held as a means of survival for the people living in the Colony of Vancouver’s Island.
The exhibitions developed and grew, culminating in the construction of the landmark building, built on the fortieth anniversary of its London namesake. The roles of the Secretaries of the Agricultural Association – and the hundreds of private individuals and many city councils who planned, organized and controlled the exhibitions – and the politics that made the building possible provide the compelling background of a little–known building that was important to the lives of early Victorians. Fifty-eight agricultural exhibitions were held over the course of 81 years, through social changes, economic tribulations and two wars, until the last Exhibition was held in 1941.
In an age before emails and computers, the amazing accomplishments of a city are celebrated. Royal visits, wonderful exhibits, horse-racing, circuses, fireworks, sports, sideshows and gold medals frame the story of the Exhibition Building as a place “where everyone could come and do their best”.
The agricultural exhibitions developed from an annual show of animals and produce to a huge fairground showcasing industrial exhibitions, automobile shows and movie production facilities. The city’s own history is reflected in the account of this great building, and the exhibitions that came before and after, allow a unique perspective of a town’s story.
Second Edition. 349 pages. 293 illustrations. Footnotes. Index. ISBN 978-1-7751204-1-4 Softcover.
Historic Media. www.LostVictoria.com
Book Launch was held on Friday, December 15, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Oak Bay Library, Monterey Avenue, just off Oak Bay Avenue.
Actually a ‘Novelette’ by page count, this long short story is set in west London, and tells of a unique individual and his obsession, starting in 1950s England, and lasting for fifty years.
Building the West:
The Early Architects of British Columbia
Stuart Stark and Don Luxton developed this project to chronicle the careers of the early architects of British Columbia. Fifty-seven contributors added their knowledge and expertise to the book, bringing together, for the first time, the history – both professional and personal – of the many men, and a few women, who indeed “Built the West”.
Stuart Stark contributed six essays to the authoritative 560 page volume: Victorian Pattern Books; Bungalow Pattern Books; and essays on four architects: John Gerhard Tiarks; Thomas Trounce; Samuel Cyrus Burris and Paul Phipps.
The final volume was compiled and edited by Don Luxton.
Building the West has won numerous awards, including: Heritage Canada Achievement Award (2003), the 2004 City of Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour, BC Book Prize, the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize (2004), Architectural Institute of British Columbia Special Jury Prize (2004) and the Canadian Association of Professional Heritage Consultants Award of Honour (2004).
Talon Books, Vancouver, 2003.
The Crystal Gardens:
West Coast Pleasure Palace
This richly-illustrated book gives a detailed overview of an iconic west coast building: “The Finest Swimming Pool on the Continent”; that once was part of the Canadian Pacific Railway empire – the “greatest travel system in the world” at the time, encompassing trains, ships, hotels and more.
Stuart Stark oversaw the compilation of the book, researched all the 201 illustrations and wrote the captions.
Six contributors – writers and designers – were involved with the book: Carolyn Smyly; Terry Reksten; Alastair Kerr; Martin Segger; Stuart Stark; and Reynold Knowlton. The renowned Pierre Berton contributed a personal introduction.