Victoria Square

Victoria Square is a park developed in 1897 which today is bound by Colombo Street, Armagh Street, and the Avon River.

View of Victoria Square from Robert Jones House
View of Victoria Square from Robert Jones House. © Christchurch Star

Victoria Square was established on land which was once part of the Waitaha pā of Puari.

During the planning of early Christchurch, this land was designated as a reserve by the Canterbury Association. As the town developed, the reserve became a market place known as Market Square. By 1862 it was the site of a police station, immigration barracks, a post office and a public works’ office. Following the relocation of these civic services in the 1870s, the area was later redeveloped as a park in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Notable monuments in the square include the bronze statue of Queen Victoria (1903) by Francis J Williamson; the illuminated Bowker Fountain (1931); the statue of Captain James Cook (1932) by William Trethewey; the Floral Clock (1953); and the Ferrier Fountain commemorating the opening of the Town Hall (1972).

In 1988 the square was redeveloped, winning the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects’ supreme George Malcolm award for excellence in design. As part of this redevelopment, Victoria Street, which had initially ran through the park, crossing the Avon River at Victoria Bridge, was closed.

The Victoria Square Poupou was carved by Riki Manuel to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and unveiled in 1993.

In 2017 the square was closed for earthquake repairs carried out by City Care and Ōtākaro Limited. It reopened in March 2018.