Welcome to the Swans
The Williams Legacy
These works are part of an extensive collection donated to the University
by Michael Collard Williams. Williams was born in Shropshire, England,
in 1930, and immigrated to Canada in 1958. While living in Victoria, he
became a highly successful businessman, developer, and heritage
conservationist, turning the old factories and warehouses of the
downtown waterfront into popular spaces like the Paperbox Arcade on
Johnson Street, Starfish Glassworks, and of course, Swans Hotel. For his
unflagging commitment to the celebration and preservation of local arts
and heritage, the University of Victoria presented him with an honourary
Doctorate of Laws in 1990.
Williams had always been a great supporter of the University. In 1993 he
commissioned and donated the Chancellorís Chair and Ceremonial
Furnishings from twelve aboriginal artists of BC and the Yukon. The
Ceremonial Furnishings are on permanent display
on the second floor of University Centre.
Michael Williams died on November 9th 2000, and left the University his
house on Ten Mile Point, a number of downtown properties, and an
extensive art collection
encompassing everything from antique carpets and furniture to
contemporary art. With the exception of the antiques and maps, the
collection is almost all of British Columbian origin, and ranges from 18th
century Northwest Coast works to 20th Century works by the likes of Jack
Shadbolt, Robert Davidson, and Toni Onley.
Highlights of the Williams collection continue to be on rotating display in
Swans Hotel, not only in the individual rooms but also in the pub, bistro,
and hotel lobby.