In Stevenson Park, 1240 Gladstone Ave, you are standing at the site of the original spring whose abundant water influenced the HBC to build their fur trading fort in what is now Victoria. Fernwood was core to Victoria's early development due to Fountain Ridge, now called Spring Ridge, an area rich with natural springs.
The act which united the colony of Vancouver Island with the Colony of British Columbia stated that the Hudson's Bay company surrendered all the land of the island except "...one well set apart and appropriated to public use." Signed Aug 6, 1866 by Governor James Douglas and Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
When you drink the water, remember the spring – proverb
In 2008, a small group of neighbours, committed to the original intent that the pure spring water be free and available to all, invited Ron Welch, a local dowser, to pinpoint where to drill. A pump was installed but despite repeated testing of the water, the City of Victoria's health department did not sanction that it be permanently available to anyone who wanted to draw water. But the well-keeper persevered until the city Ok'ed a once a month pump opening. In celebration, the blessing of the newly dug well occurred on September 27, 2008.
At 9am on the 3rd Saturday of each month (usually), the well-keepers bring the handle and pump water for anyone who wants to taste it or bring some home in their own containers.
To watch the blessing of the community well 2008 in Stevenson Park: