Unveiling the Inspiring Story of Peter Pollen, the Retired Mayor
Peter Pollen, a celebrated figure in Victoria’s rich history, has left an indelible mark on the community through his unwavering commitment to public service and advocacy for the public’s right to access to the waterfront. In this engaging interview conducted at his Uplands residence, Pollen shares his remarkable journey and perspectives on various issues that have shaped Victoria.
From Saskatchewan to Ontario, Peter Pollen’s Journey Begins
Growing up in Saskatchewan and Ontario, Peter Pollen’s passion for public service was nurtured during his time at a small boarding school. Here, he imbibed the values of social responsibility while also gaining invaluable knowledge of table manners and ancient history. These formative experiences played a pivotal role in shaping his future endeavours.
At the age of 34, Pollen’s life took an unexpected turn when he arrived in Victoria as an employee of the Ford Motor Company for a short-term assignment. However, fate intervened, and he was convinced by a local dealer to assume responsibility for running the dealership. Taking a leap of faith, Pollen embraced the opportunity, leading to a successful career in the automotive industry as the owner of both Ford and Honda dealerships.
Mayor Peter Pollen: Champion for the Community
Pollen’s Unique Political Philosophy: Unconventional Blend of Ideas
Contributions and Achievements
Throughout his mayoral terms, Peter Pollen spearheaded numerous initiatives that transformed Victoria’s landscape. His vision for Government Street involved widening sidewalks, planting trees, and envisioning it as a car-free pedestrian mall — an endeavour that encountered resistance from local merchants. Although the vision for a car-free Government Street remained unfulfilled, Pollen’s commitment to enhancing Victoria’s downtown area remains commendable.
His efforts extended to the preservation of iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Theatre, which faced the threat of demolition. By purchasing the theatre and investing in its restoration, Pollen ensured the preservation of its unique character.
Additionally, Pollen’s achievements include engineering the acquisition of the Esso Service Station, now the Visitor Information Centre, advocating for a ban on billboards, securing a three-acre park at Laurel Point, implementing a moratorium on building heights, and preventing the controversial Reid three-tower project on the waterfront near Bastion Square.
Life Well-Lived: Grateful Retrospective on a Fulfilling Journey
Peter Pollen cherishes his time in Victoria and acknowledges the immense generosity and support he and his family have received from the community. With four children and thirteen grandchildren residing within close proximity, the sense of belonging and gratitude remains ever-present. His passion for politics stemmed from a desire to contribute and effect positive change, allowing him to forge deep friendships and embark on enriching experiences, including a memorable trip to China during its early stages of opening up.
As age catches up with him, Pollen admits to a slight slowdown in his activities. However, his spirit remains undeterred as he continues to lend his voice to causes close to his heart by writing letters to the editor and advocating various authorities.
Peter Pollen’s story exemplifies a life dedicated to public service and community betterment. His legacy endures through the countless improvements he spearheaded and the lasting impact he has left on Victoria’s landscape and heritage. Leslie Campbell, who arrived in Victoria in 1985, acknowledges the profound contributions made by Peter Pollen and his councils, which have profoundly enriched the city.