A family of four disembark from their bicycles to soak up some sun and refreshment at a sidewalk cafe under the eye-catching arch above the boulevard that welcomes you to Goldstream Village. Nearby, children move to the music, mesmerized by the rhythm of the water that dances from the fountain. The Langford Trolley drives through, filled with a mix of shoppers headed to the malls, kids eager for a round of mini-golf at City Centre Park, and Victoria Rebels fans ready for some football at Bear Mountain Stadium.
The improvements to Langford’s downtown core - a priority of Langford Mayor Stew Young and Council since incorporation - are nearing completion, and the early reviews from residents and local businesses are an enthusiastic two thumbs up.
The downtown core has been transformed over the past year with the installation of a traffic calming roundabout on Goldstream Avenue at Bryn Maur Road that features a fountain and water shows coordinated with a mix of music. The shows, every half hour from nine in the morning to nine at night, are even more impressive after dark when the fountain’s lights come to life.
“We wanted to make something special, a fun, family-oriented mini Bellagio,” explains Langford Mayor Stew Young. “Fountains, dancing water and music are things that people of all ages can relate to. It adds vitality to our downtown core, and encourages people to get out of their cars, have a coffee at one of the cafes and check out the unique boutiques, shops and stores along Goldstream Avenue. The style we went with is inspired by what works well in many cities in Europe.”
In addition to the existing enticing mix of flowers, plantings and palm trees, two information kiosks highlighting Langford’s attractions, a community message board, more bicycle racks, public benches and tables will be added in the near future.
A new, colourful flag feature in the boulevard at Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway is also nearing completion.
Mayor Young believes the new downtown promotes the green, cyclist and pedestrian-friendly, less car-reliant options that people are looking for, and highlights Langford’s efforts to become a premier tourist and recreation centre on the Island.
The improvements will also increase pedestrian and tourist traffic for local businesses and draw shoppers from throughout the Capital Region, a welcome boost to shops, restaurants, boutiques and stores in the area. “It’s important to support the local economy,” Young said. “These businesses offer shopping options right here in Langford for our residents, and provide full-time and part-time employment opportunities for the people who live here.”