It started out as a conversation but now just over a year later, the Langford Station Cultural District is open to the public. In partnership with the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), the City of Langford has revitalized two blocks along Station Avenue for artists and business owners to operate.
“Everybody saw the potential and wanted to bring something special,” said Donna Petrie, Manager of Business Development, City of Langford.
The district has a dozen seacans that can be leased out.
Artists can lease out space for a year to display and sell their work.
Retailers are able to rent out the other six spaces on one to three-year leases.
The district will also have five food truck vendor spaces that can be rented out daily.
“There’ll be lots of food trucks here, there’ll be a lot of artisans here and people who are trying to make a living. This is like an incubator for them, it’s not very expensive for them to start their business here. When they make a bit of money, they can move on to maybe brick-and-mortars.” said Langford Mayor Stew Young.
The Langford Station also offers formalized parking, picnic and chess game tables, a performance stage, a permanent washroom building, and an off-leash area. Phase two of the project is set to beautify the corridor.
“It’s a hope that this becomes a template. This is an example of what can be done with the infrastructure of the corridor…it’s key to us,” said Larry Stevenson, CEO of ICF.
Phase two will bring an overhead lighting canopy, murals and sculptures designed by local artists, and interactive lighting elements. However, the city wants to aim higher with the cultural district. They hope one day that rail services can return but they’ll need other municipalities to follow suit.
“If they can get the other municipalities along up island to start to do things like this and utilize the land that is in the corridor for economic development and for providing an opportunity for local businesses, it’s gotta be a win-win,” said Young.
The ICF has created a business plan to restore commuter rail service between Langford and Victoria as their March 2023 deadline loom. The cost is estimated to be $431 million. Stevenson shares the city’s vision in having a corridor setup similar to Langford. Currently, the cultural district is the only one along the entire 290km stretch of tracks.
“It’s also about developing this corridor for the benefit of the people and communities along the corridor,” said Stevenson.
The second phase is expected to be completed this summer. Events will be taking place every Friday night through August which will feature live music, courtesy of the Victoria Beer Society.
The cultural district is located at 720 Station Avenue.