Artifacts unearthed during bridge construction tell stories from Victoria’s past

Johnson Street Bridge Archeological Artifacts

Historical artifacts unearthed during construction of the new Johnson Street Bridge were among local archeological finds displayed at a Royal B.C. Museum exhibit this weekend.

"It ranges from objects from all over the world to things that were made really locally, which is really special to have," says U-Vic professor Katherine Cook. She ran the exhibit with her students.

Items from many sites were on display, but several came from excavations for the new bridge. "We have everything from old soy bottles and Chinese rice bowls that would have been imported from China to a lot of local objects, like brewers bottles from Thorpe and Co., which was a Victoria brewer."

Professor Cook says the Johnson Street Bridge finds tells the story of how different cultures came together and mingled in Victoria's past, "it gave us the opportunity to explore the archeology of that area. It's a really important area to old Victoria in the context of old Chinatown but, also, it's the economic core of early Victoria. So we see the impact of hotels opening and bars opening in that area, but we also see how immigration was changing the history of that space."

The exhibit was only on this weekend, but Cook hopes to put on similar events based on the success of this one.

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