Downtown Victoria Tour
Pioneer Square – Quadra Street between Meares Street and Rockland Avenue
Pioneer Square, originally known as the Quadra Street Burial Ground and later as the Old Burying Ground, was the main cemetery for Victoria between between 1855 and 1873, when Ross Bay Cemetery was opened.
Burials ceased in Pioneer Square after Ross Bay Cemetery was opened in 1873 and Pioneer Square gradually fell into disrepair.
In the early 20th century the City of Victoria removed most of the headstones from Pioneer Square and converted the space into a city park.
The headstones formerly in Pioneer Square are in storage and are currently in the custody of the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria. The Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria also maintains a searchable database of Pioneer Square interments.
The larger grave monuments were left in place but the smaller grave markers remaining in Pioneer Square were moved to the east side of the park.
Here is a map showing the location of Pioneer Square:
We will be adding more information about the burials in Pioneer Square as we develop this site further.
Here are some of the larger monuments in Pioneer Square which were left in their original locations.
Royal Naval Monument
This obelisk near the intersection of Quadra Street and Rockland Avenue was placed to honour the members of the Royal Navy who died in Victoria during the time the Royal Navy Pacific Squadron was based in the Victoria suburb of Esquimalt.
Royal Navy members who died in Victoria between 1855 and 1873 were buried here in the south west corner of Pioneer Square.
The grave of Paul Medana in Pioneer Square.
Medana Street in Victoria’s James Bay district is named for Paul Medana.
Thomas Pritchard was a Welsh sea captain who settled in Victoria and became a leading property owner in early Victoria.
The Thomas Pritchard grave is being preserved by the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria.
The graves of Thomas Carter (foreground) and Thomas Pritchard (background) in Pioneer Square.
Name Currently Unknown
Time and the elements have eroded the names and other identifying information on this significant monument to the point where they cannot be read.
We are currently researching this grave to identify who is buried here and we will post that information when we uncover it.
Andrew Phillips was a sea captain and ship owner who died of an aneurysm while travelling aboard the S.S. Olympia in 1870.
He was a Freemason, a member of British Columbia Lodge No. 1187, now Victoria-Columbia Lodge No. 1 in Victoria, and his grave is a notable example of Masonic tombstone art in Victoria.
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