of New Westminster
Self-Guided Walking Tour
New Westminster City Hall
was opened on November 19, 1953, in what was a major locational change
for the centre of civic government in this City. Prior to this date,
City Halls had all been downtown. The new city hall was built in a block
which was originally destined to be the site of the Capital buildings
when New Westminster was Capital of what is now the Province of British
Columbia. For many years this property was undeveloped land, then home
to the Armoury (still sharing the block today) and a small fire hall
and storage shed (both long gone), and from 1912 to 1955, the site of
the Duke of Connaught High School. From 1953 to 1955 the school and
city hall stood side by side, until the school was demolished.
1. Plaque and Royal Engineers’
Coat of Arms
In the main foyer
is the 1953 dedication plaque which lists those people involved with
the building’s construction and operation. Also, very prominent on the
wall, is a large representation of the coat of arms of the Royal Engineers
who founded and surveyed the City from 1859 to 1863.
2. Mayors and Presidents
On the second floor of City Hall is a photo gallery of the Mayors,
and Presidents, as they were once called, of New Westminster. The list
begins in 1860 with
Leonard McClure, our first head of local municipal government, and continues
up to the present day. Also on the second floor is a beautiful illuminated
scroll, describing the Coat of Arms of the City.
3. Gas Lamps
The Gas Lamps at the front doors of City Hall were presented by
the Lord Mayor of Westminster, England, on the occasion of a visit to
the Royal City. They are actual lamps which once lighted the streets
of “old” Westminster.
4. John Robson
This commemorative sign by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board
of Canada honours John Robson, newspaperman, who was Mayor of New Westminster
(1866/67) and Premier of the Province of British Columbia (1889-1892)
5. Time Capsule
This time capsule was placed in 1961 by Mayor Beth Wood. It contains
material relating to the Centennial Year records of the City of New
Westminster and is to be opened in January, 2061.
6. Flag poles
on the City Hall roof
These poles fly the flags of Canada (middle), British Columbia (right),
and the City of New Westminster (left).
This array of roses is dedicated to the Presidents of the Hyack
Festival Association from 1971 to present. Each year a new rose is presented
by the Portland Rose Rosarians, marking the friendship between the two
The cenotaph, located in Memorial Plaza, commemorates members of
the Armed Services and Merchant Navy who gave their lives in the service
of Canada. The cenotaph was unveiled in 1922 near the corner of McBride
Boulevard and Columbia St. Later it was moved close to the entrance
to the Pattullo Bridge, and then to its current location when this City
Hall was built. Included are names from World War I, World War II, Korean
War, Merchant Navy, and Peacekeeping Members.
9. Duke of
Connaught High School
Situated at this location from 1912 until 1955, was the Duke of
Connaught High School, the corner stone of which was laid by the Duke
himself on an official visit in 1912. The school’s playground was located
approximately where the parking lot is behind City Hall.
This Cosmic May Pole was created by Georganna Malloff in 1976 as
part of a Vancouver Habitat Forum. Due to New Westminster’s close association
with May Day, the piece was acquired by the City after the conference
ended and was re-erected here in May of 1980.
This marker commemorates
Quezon City in the Philippines, New Westminster’s sister city since
This pole flies the flag of the Philippines in recognition of the
sister City arrangement with Quezon.
In 1963, New Westminster and Moriguchi, Japan, became sister cities,
the first twinning of a Canadian and a Japanese City in Canada. This
marker commemorates that achievement which continues through regular
visits by delegations and student exchanges.
14. The Friendship Garden
In 1962, this area was a forested grove behind City Hall. That year
a typhoon blew through the area and uprooted many large trees leaving
huge holes where their roots had been torn up. A member of the Parks
and Recretion Department’s gardening staff knew and loved Japanese water
gardens, and so the holes on the newly “damaged” landscape, gently sloping
across the property, were redeveloped into a beautiful garden. This
area is now known as the Friendship Garden, a favourite place for those
seeking quiet contemplation and picturesque views, and for those looking
for a special place for wedding photos.
15. The Peace Marker
A marker for Peace in four languages – English, French, Spanish,
16. Commemorative trees
There are a number of such trees throughout the park.
17. Tipperary Park
Across the parking lot is Tipperary Park, identified in 1859 to
1863, along with many other areas in the City, by the Columbia Detachment
of Royal Engineers, as park and government reserves. Today it offers
a quiet place with picnic tables, benches, pathways, and is the home
of the New Westminster Tennis Club. The area of Friendship Garden was
also once known as a part of Tipperary Park.
18. Street bricks
The bricks which form the sidewalk alongside the parking area were
once the pavement of 4th Street, the road closed to make way for the
present parking lot at this location. While no accurate date for the
pavement bricks is known, they are considered to date from around 1900.
19. The Armoury
Opened in 1896, the Armoury has served military and community needs,
in war and in peace, throughout its life. The home of the Royal Westminster
Regiment, the Armoury has been the site of such varied events as early
city basketball games, vegetable exhibitions, a dinner for Winston Churchill,
gala celebrations, and an emergency supply centre after the City’s Great
Fire of 1898. Its military obligations encompass conflicts from the
Boer War to the present including peacekeeping throughout the world.
This sixty-four pounder muzzle-loader was once mounted in the Gun
Room of the Armoury to be used in the defence of the City. It is a Sea-Service
weapon from the lower gundeck of a line-of-battleship. For Land-Service,
apart from static use in a fort, it would need a very heavy wheeled
carriage for mobility.
This monument identifies the home of the Royal Westminster Regiment
and the Regimental Museum
22. The Museum of the
Royal Westminster Regiment
Located in the old gun room of the Armoury, this museum chronicles
the history of the Regiment and its antecedent groups. When visiting
the Museum be sure to look at the many dedications and plaques on the
walls of the Armoury itself, apart from the Museum. Access to the Museum
is gained from inside the Armoury.
23. Victoria Cross Winners
This commemorative trilingual (English, French, Ukranian) marker
notes the two Victoria Cross winners who served with the Regiment or
an antecedent group: Jack Mahony (Westminster Regiment) and Filip Konowal
(47th Canadian Infantry Battalion).
This marker, dedicated to Tim Mahony, was placed here in 1924, in
recognition of Tim who was highly regarded and much loved for his involvement
with the youth and sporting activities of the City as well as the Armoury.
The marker was erected when the site was occupied by the Armoury and
the Duke of Connaught High School, long before City Hall was built here.
This number over the back entrance to City Hall marks the date of
the building’s construction. The Hall opened officially in 1953. Also
note the words “City Hall” in the building’s surface, high on the wall,
above this same door, words that must have been a part of the original
new city hall, but which are no longer easily visible due to building
This area, now the City Hall parking lot, was once the playing field
for Duke of Connaught High School. It is remembered as being very rough
and on somewhat of a slope.
more information, contact
New Westminster Museum & Archives
302 Royal Avenue, New Westminster, BC V3L 1H7
New Westminster Public Library
716 Sixth Avenue, New Westminster, BC V3M 2B3
© Corporation of the City of New Westminster, 2000
Return to the Local