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Lost giant painted teacup may rest at bottom of B.C. harbour: former mayor

The lost piece, which remains to be recovered, gives a glimpse into Oak Bay history
Oak Bay Tea Party Chair Sandy Germain, past Mayor Christopher Causton and Councillor Hazel Braithwaite paddle the waters off Willows Beach in the Mayors Tea Cup Challenge 2017. (Morgan Cross photo)

Calling all B.C. scuba divers: if you like a challenge then you just might be up for a task. Apparently, a giant teacup may be at the bottom of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

When on the hunt to figure out how the first six-foot fibreglass teacups came to be, which are used nowadays in the Mayor’s Floating Teacup Race (a silly activity part of the region’s annual Oak Bay Tea Party community festival), it became known Christopher Causton, a past Oak Bay mayor of 15 years, might know something.

And Causton did have some information; he knew six teacups were commissioned by an organization called Victoria A.M., which he helped found for a teacup race in the Inner Harbour in what he thinks was likely 1988 or ‘89.

“We did these crazy things around the harbour to encourage tourism,” Causton recalled. “I don’t remember too much about it other than Brian Smith, who was a former mayor of Oak Bay and the Attorney General of British Columbia, was in one of them, and he was smoking a pipe and he sank.”

And Causton believes the teacup is still there today.

“We rescued him but we did not rescue the teacup,” he said. “I think it’s off the Regent Hotel.”

The teacups that did survive that race ended up at a farm in Central Saanich until they were used at the first Oak Bay Teacup race, introduced by Causton himself as Mayor.

“Once we brought them to Oak Bay, we’ve never had a problem losing them because the waters are not 30 feet deep like they are in the Harbour,” he said.

Causton said that long lost teacup was never recovered, but if anyone wants to go looking for it, they just might find bragging rights and a fun piece of Oak Bay’s history.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay mayor looks for 3rd floating teacup race win

Mayor Christopher Causton paddles his way to victory at the 2002 Oak Bay Tea Party. (Oak Bay Archives)

Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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