Victoria Park (Hong Kong)

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Victoria Park
維多利亞公園
Victoria Park 0606.JPG
General view of the park.
Victoria Park (Hong Kong) is located in Hong Kong Island
Victoria Park (Hong Kong)
Location on Hong Kong Island
TypeUrban park
Location1 Hing Fat Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Coordinates22°16′55″N 114°11′17″E / 22.28194°N 114.18806°E / 22.28194; 114.18806Coordinates: 22°16′55″N 114°11′17″E / 22.28194°N 114.18806°E / 22.28194; 114.18806
Area19 hectares (47 acres)
OpenedOctober 1957; 65 years ago (1957-10)
Managed byLeisure and Cultural Services Department
StatusOpen all year
Websitewww.lcsd.gov.hk
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese維多利亞公園
Simplified Chinese维多利亚公园

Victoria Park (simplified Chinese: 维多利亚公园; traditional Chinese: 維多利亞公園; pinyin: Wéiduōlìyà Gōngyuán) is a public park in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai District, Hong Kong. The park is named after Queen Victoria, who has a statue in the park. It is around 190,000 square metres (19 ha) in size and contains sporting facilities for tennis, association football, basketball, handball, volleyball, swimming, jogging, fitness, roller skating, and bowling.[1][2]

The park first opened to the public in October 1957 and was revamped in the early 2000s. Owned and operated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong,[3][4] the park is open all year, free of admission charge.[5] It is Hong Kong's most popular public park, with more visitors than Hong Kong and Kowloon parks combined.[6]

Site[edit]

Victoria Park is located on Hong Kong Island, in the Causeway Bay area of Wan Chai District. It is situated on the shore of Causeway Bay typhoon shelter and separated by a breakwater from Victoria Harbour. The park is bounded by Causeway Road to the southeast, Gloucester Road to the west, Victoria Park Road and Island Eastern Corridor to the north, and Hing Fat Street to the east.[7][8]

The park is bordered on the south by the Hong Kong Central Library and the Regal Hongkong Hotel, on the east by the Park Towers residential complex, on the north by a fire station and Citicorp Centre office tower, and on the west by Windsor House retail mall and The Park Lane Hong Kong hotel. A small square, Tung Lo Wan Garden, is located in the north-eastern portion of Victoria Park. Two stations, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, are located near the park. There are bus lines and a tramline along Causeway Road, which run beside the park. Several pedestrian bridges with escalators and elevators have been built to connect the park to the Causeway Road.[7][8]

History[edit]

Previously, the park's location served as a typhoon shelter, known as Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, used by small fishing boats and yachts during typhoon seasons. In the 1950s, the former bay was filled in, the shoreline was pushed north, and the government decided to create a public park on the newly reclaimed land. A new typhoon shelter was built north of the park.[9][10][11]

In 1955, a statue of Queen Victoria was moved to the park. The statue was cast in Pimlico, London towards the end of the nineteenth century and subsequently erected in Hong Kong's Central District. It was transferred to Japan to be melted down during the Japanese occupation, but was retrieved in the aftermath of World War II, and was restored before being placed in the park. The park officially opened in October 1957. In 1972, embankments in the park's northern half were completed in conjunction with the construction of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, and the Victoria Park Road was paved.[12][13][14][15]

The park's swimming pool in 1957.

A central lawn was laid in the park in 1974 and a tennis court was built in 1981. In 1984, an overpass of the Island Eastern Corridor was built along Victoria Park Road, connecting Causeway Bay with the Tai Koo Shing estate. In September 1996, a mainland Chinese artist, Pun Sing-lui, in protest over Hong Kong's "dull, colonial culture", painted the statue of Queen Victoria crimson and bent its nose with a hammer. The nose of the statue was rebuilt costing $150,000, and Sing-lui was sentenced to 28 days in prison.[16][17][18]

From 2000 to 2002, the park received a major renovation, which saw many sporting facilities built on the site. The park's popularity increased after the revamp, especially among Indonesian domestic workers, as Sugar Street, adjacent to the park, is home to numerous Indonesian food, spice, book, magazine and music shops.[19][20]

In 2013, a modern indoor swimming complex was built on the site of the old outdoor pools. In the following year, construction work for the project began at the northern end of Victoria Park, sparking public outcry. A portion of the park was occupied by construction of a slip road for the Central–Wan Chai Bypass project. This was highly controversial, as local councillors and residents alleged they were not informed that the road would cut through the park. In March 2015, construction unearthed unexploded ordnance dating from World War II, and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force was called in to dispose of it.[21]

Features[edit]

Facilities[edit]

Indoor swimming pool within the park
Central tennis court

In the central section of Victoria Park, there is a complex of fourteen tennis courts, with the main court, which opened in 1981, seating approximately 3,600 spectators,[22] with two fields with artificial turf for playing bowls are nearby.[23] A two-hectare central lawn is surrounded by pathways with trees to the west of the tennis courts.[24] A 625-meter jogging path around the lawn features six stops for diverse fitness training.[25] Six public football pitches are located south of the courts and central lawn,[26] and a sitting statue of Queen Victoria stands next to them. Four basketball courts are located in the southeast section of the park, between the football pitches and the swimming pool.[27][28]

There are public roller rinks,[29] a handball and volleyball court[30] and table tennis courts.[31] There are four playgrounds to the north of the tennis courts, each with its own set of slides, swings, and exercise equipment, as well as a pebble walking trail.[32][33] A 954 square meter in size and a half-meter deep pond where model yachting takes place and an open stage with a bandstand suitable for a hundred spectators are both located to the north of the central lawn.[34][35] Most sports fields in the park have restrooms, changing rooms, and drinking fountains. Open portions of the park are patrolled 24/7 by both local policemen and police teams.[36]

The indoor swimming complex, which opened in September 2013 at a cost of nearly HK$800 million[37] is located in the park's eastern section, on the location of the Old Victoria Park Swimming Pool.[38] It includes two pools with 2,500-seat spectator stands and an electronic scoreboard, as well as changing rooms, showers, restrooms, and wheelchair lifts.[39][40] The Old Victoria Park Swimming Pool was opened with the park itself in 1957 and was the first public swimming pool in Hong Kong.[38]

Vegetation[edit]

Trees such as Jacaranda mimosifolia, Melia azedarach, Spathodea, Delonix regia and Casuarina equisetifolia are found in the park.[41] The park also houses many trees that are registered as "old and valuable", including Ceiba pentandra, Erythrina variegata, Mimusops elengi, Ficus virens and Ficus altissima.[42]

Events[edit]

Hong Kong Flower Show 2016 in Victoria Park.
Market stall in the park during Lunar New Year Fair.

In the days leading up to Chinese New Year, the park hosts the annual Lunar New Year Fair,[13][43] which also includes a plant market, however both of these events were not held in 2022 due to COVID-19.[44] Other annual events such as the Hong Kong Flower Show,[45] Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo,[46] Mid-Autumn Festival,[47] Hong Kong Marathon[48] and Hong Kong Pride Parade[49][50] are also held in the park.

Apart from annual events, employees of the Consulate General of Indonesia frequently arrange meetings and open-air training courses in the park as well.[9] The United Buddy Bears exhibition, which was held on the central lawn of Victoria Park in 2004, drew over 2 million visitors, making it Hong Kong's largest open-air art exposition.[51][52] The "Arts Corner" is hosted in the South Pavilion Square every Sunday, except when there are citywide events. Here, artists sell their works, souvenirs, handicrafts, paintings, drawings, cartoons, and photographs in kiosks and small booths.[53]

Victoria Park serves as a gathering point for the annual 1 July marches,[54][55] and as a place of commemoration for the Tiananmen Square massacre of 4 June 1989,[56] with huge crowds gathering each year to mark the anniversary of the massacre, although the park was closed in June 2021 due to law enforcement restrictions imposed, following the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.[57][58] The park has become a staging ground for protests many times, including for Pro-democracy protests in December 2005,[59] the 2014 Occupy Movement,[60] and anti-government demonstrations in the summer of 2019.[61]

City Forum, attended by government officials, politicians, business figurers and pundits, would debate on new government policies was formerly held at the park weekly on Sunday.[62] The forum was inspired by Speakers' Corner in London, and was aired by Hong Kong government's broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong. It was discontinued in September 2021.[63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miao 2013, p. 173.
  2. ^ Bailey 2009, pp. 31–32.
  3. ^ "Introduction". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 29 January 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  4. ^ Ng 2009, p. 70.
  5. ^ "Opening Hours and Admission". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  6. ^ Inversini & Schegg 2016, pp. 190–192.
  7. ^ a b "Getting Here". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Park Map". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  9. ^ a b Wordie 2002, p. 152.
  10. ^ "1924 Looking east from the Peak". Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  11. ^ Ingham 2007, pp. 72–73.
  12. ^ Ho 2012, pp. 1–3.
  13. ^ a b Ingham 2007, p. 72.
  14. ^ Curry & Hanstedt 2014, pp. 77–79.
  15. ^ Bailey 2009, p. 25.
  16. ^ Ingham 2007, p. 75.
  17. ^ Wai-ting 2004.
  18. ^ Moir, Jane (4 January 1997). "Queen Victoria has successful nose job". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  19. ^ O'Connor 2012, pp. 45–46.
  20. ^ Constable 2007, pp. 171–172.
  21. ^ Mok, Danny; Lai, Ying-kit (5 March 2015). "Bomb squad set for fourth attempt to detonate wartime shell in Hong Kong's Victoria Park". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Tennis Courts". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Outdoor Bowling Green". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Central Lawn". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Fitness Stations & Jogging Trail". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Soccer Pitches". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  27. ^ "Basketball Courts". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  28. ^ Ng 2009, p. 71.
  29. ^ "Roller Skating Rinks". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Handball cum Volleyball Courts". Leisure and Cultural Services. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Table Tennis Table". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Children Playground". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Pebble Walking Trail". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  34. ^ "Model Boat Pool". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  35. ^ "Bandstand". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  36. ^ Ng 2009, pp. 71–72.
  37. ^ Tsang, Emily. "Wu Minxia and other Olympic heroes to dive at new Victoria Park pool". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 23 Apr 2022. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  38. ^ a b "Old Victoria Park Swimming Pool to open for public visits before closure (with photos)". Government of Hong Kong. 28 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  39. ^ "Information on Public Swimming Pools". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  40. ^ "Victoria Park Swimming Pool". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  41. ^ "Blossoms Around Town". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 3 November 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  42. ^ "Old and Valuable Tree". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019.
  43. ^ Kao, Ernest; Leung, Rachel; Lok-kei, Sum (4 February 2019). "Family reunions, festive meals and last-minute shopping as Hongkongers usher in Year of the Pig". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  44. ^ Sataline, Suzanne (31 January 2022). "Little cheer for Year of the Tiger in Hong Kong as COVID bites". Al-Jazeera. Archived from the original on 11 February 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  45. ^ Shanshan, Xu (10 March 2017). "Hong Kong flower show to open at Victoria Park". China News Service. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  46. ^ Tsang, Jack (12 December 2021). "Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo vendors bemoan crimped sales as Covid-19 rules limit crowds, take taste-testing off menu". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  47. ^ Ying, Li (17 September 2021). "【中秋節2021】3大公園中秋燈飾今起亮燈 維園6米高迴旋木馬最啱打卡!" [The lanters of Mid-Autumn Festival are lit up today in the 3 major parks, and the 6-meter-high carousel in Victoria Park is the best punch!]. Hong Kong Economic Times (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  48. ^ Blennerhassett, Patrick (25 October 2021). "The Hong Kong Marathon was a lesson in how not to host a large-scale sporting event during the pandemic". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 27 January 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  49. ^ Mok, Danny (17 November 2018). "Weather rains on Hong Kong Pride parade but marchers' call for equality legislation is undimmed". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  50. ^ Damshenas, Sam. "Over 10,000 people march for equality during Hong Kong Pride". Gay Times. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  51. ^ "Visit of Buddy Bears promotes peace, tolerance and public art". Government of Hong Kong. 26 March 2004. Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  52. ^ "音樂事務處地區青年中樂團" [Music Office District Youth Chinese Orchestra]. Leisure and Cultural Services Department (in Cantonese). 26 March 2004. Archived from the original on 18 February 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  53. ^ "Arts Corner". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  54. ^ Ingham 2007, p. 74.
  55. ^ "Hong Kong: Democracy rally 'draws 510,000 protesters'". BBC News. 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  56. ^ Iyengar, Rishi (4 June 2014). "Tens of Thousands Gather in Hong Kong to Remember the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre". Time. Archived from the original on 15 January 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  57. ^ "Hong Kong Tiananmen Square commemorations: In Pictures". BBC News. 4 June 2021. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  58. ^ Lo, Clifford; Magramo, Kathleen; Cheung, Tony (4 June 2021). "Hong Kong's Tiananmen vigil: police close down part of Victoria Park to stop candlelight gatherings for banned June 4 event". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  59. ^ "Thousands gather in Hong Kong for first WTO protest". The New York Times. 11 December 2005. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  60. ^ Lam, Bourree (30 September 2014). "The Geography of Hong Kong's Protests". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 23 January 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  61. ^ "Victoria Park protest". ABC News. 11 August 2019. Archived from the original on 18 February 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  62. ^ "開創香港直播政治論壇先河 "城市論壇"停播見證時代終結" [Pioneering live broadcast of political forums in Hong Kong, "City Forum" was suspended to witness the end of the era]. Voice of America (in Cantonese). 8 September 2021. Archived from the original on 8 September 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  63. ^ Yee, Leung Mei (7 September 2021). "別了,《城市論壇》" [Farewell, "City Forum"]. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2022.

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Chau, Ka-Kin Helen (2017). An Oasis for Children: Nursery and Daycare Centre in Victoria Park. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 9781361116074.
  • Crowell, Todd (2016). Tales from Victoria Park. Blacksmith Books. ISBN 9789881613936.
  • Luk, Hing-Pong Jimmy (2017). Sports Hall of Fame: A Sports and Museum Complex on Victoria Park. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 9781361092224.

External links[edit]