A site of Hongkongers’ collective memories
The statue of Queen Victoria perches majestically on her pedestal overlooking the entrance of Victoria Park. Few people know that the statue has been through quite a few adventures. It was commissioned by the colonial government to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s coronation. Completed in 1897, it was placed on the newly reclaimed open square in Central overlooking HSBC bank and City Hall, in the good company of many other statues.
Moving the queen
In 1941, when Hong Kong was occupied by Japanese military forces, Japanese governor Rensuke Isogai, who had based his command post at HSBC Bank, found the Queen’s statue an eyesore. He decided to remove it together with the pair of bronze lions in front of the bank and shipped them to Japan as war trophies. After the war, the three statues were miraculously found, albeit in poor condition. Queen Victoria’s statue was meticulously restored, but instead of returning it back to Statue Square, they brought it to newly reclaimed site at Causeway Bay and to name the new park after her.
The statue was damaged in 1996 when a Chinese performance artist chipped off Her Majesty’s nose and poured red paint all over her! Thankfully, she’s been repaired and cleaned up without nary a scratch!
Come here for Chinese New Year
Since its opening in 1957, Victoria Park is the de-facto place for large-scale events in Hong Kong, such as sports activities, trade fairs and the world-famous Chinese New Year Market, which is so popular it inspired similar fairs around the world: they popped up in Guangzhou, Singapore and even Toronto!