One Painting, One Story: The Chairs at McNeill Bay

by Suzanne Heron.

How many times have I asked someone at a market, “Do you know the story of the chairs?” only for them to say, “You told me but I forget the details . . . tell me again!” This is the quintessential place to take summer visitors to Victoria, as well as a balm for all of us who sit in them regularly or occasionally. So . . .

The first blue chair was left over from a relationship, and when its maker got married, his wife didn’t want it. So he took it (in the dead of night) out to McMicking Point in McNeill Bay. Instead of being claimed by someone, it became the destination for anyone wanting a moment of calm – until a storm blew the chair away.

Three things then happened, all at once. The original builder’s wife realized people missed the chair and urged him to build another – the red chair. Another guy in the neighbourhood, realizing what a loss this was, also replaced it, with another blue chair. And finally a woman for whom the blue chair was her go-to spot to sit and have a think – well, she found the wreckage, all the way at the other end of McNeill Bay. “Blue chair!!” she said, and hauled the bits and pieces up to Beach Drive. Across the way was an electrician finishing off a job. She said, “Have you got 10 minutes and four feet in your truck?” So the electrician took the pieces to her uncle’s house, where they totally rebuilt it and returned it to McMicking Point.

I got this story from the woman who found the wreckage of the first chair, and also from Victoria Bench by Bench. Go to http://anything.rkc.ca/2011/04/18/mcneill-bay-chair-mystery-solved/ to read about it. The last few times I’ve been by there, only 2 chairs are present. Does anyone know what happened to the third chair?