Sex, scandal and scams lurk in the heart of Bastion Square. Now, the naughty history of Victoria’s seedy underbelly is being served up to interested audiences by the Maritime Museum of B.C.
“Bastion Square was really the centre for some pretty seedy stuff,” says Shalini Kennedy, museum programs coordinator. “Groups will be led around by a 19th century buttoned-up town gossip, who will be telling them all these naughty stories.”
The Victoria Vice Tours will acquaint participants with notorious characters, murder, mayhem and scandal of the historic square and museum. Because of the nature of the topic, Kennedy says she doesn’t recommend it for children. However, viewers can expect to be entertained by shocking tales of the square’s vibrant mix of secrets from as far back as the Gold Rush.
The town gossip will lead the group to classic locations like Tommy Burnes’ famous hourly hotel. “Burnes House” was the location of exchanges with Scarlett Ladies and a rumoured murder. The gossip may tell of other sneaky ways the Scarlett Ladies conducted their business in carriages, brothels and the infamous “Caroll’s Castle” on Tillicum and Gorge. To learn more dark secrets of Victoria, check out Monday‘s feature here.
For ghost lovers and those obsessed with the morbid and haunted, prepare to hear stories of hangings in the jail yards and the forgotten bodies that still lurk beneath the old courthouse.
“Groups will be given a bit of a history lesson on Victoria,” says Kennedy. “We will talk about what used to be here, and reasons for why there was this influx of people, and then make our way around Bastion Square.”
The museum decided to add the vice tours to cater to tourists and locals who love learning about the quirky history of Victoria’s downtown sector.
“You’ve got the type of people that love to hear those ghost stories and the slightly strange things about the building, and lots of people that love to hear about what happened before the ghosts — the weirder stories,” says Kennedy.
Victoria Vice Tours are held every Thursday and Friday from 7:30pm-9pm, until Sept. 1. Tickets are $20 +HST, and include access to the museum. Call 250-385-4222 ext. 112 or stop by the museum at 28 Bastion Square to purchase tickets. M