1. A fun fact is since an earthquake on 4th September 2010 we've been saying "Our city rocks!" A little different to the usual name; "the garden city"
2. A weird fact about my city is that the rest of NZ think we are "one-eyed" about our sports teams: not really weird as its true - we know they are the best!
3. A random fact about Christchurch is we have the oldest bridge in NZ. It's in Victoria Square – you will cross it to see the flower clock
4. An interesting fact about my city is one of our local famous women, Kate Shephard, is featured on the NZ ten-dollar note.
5. Our Hagley Park is the 3rd biggest city park in the world ( behind Central Park, NY and Hyde Park, London.
6. Another fun fact is the first coffee shop, jail and post office were side-by-side in Market Place.
7. It's a weird fact (or an interesting one) that by 1900, the Avon River and the weeping willows were featuring on postcards of the city.
8. Although Christchurch is now the biggest city in the South Island, both Lyttelton and Akaroa were bigger than us until about 1860.
9. Christchurch only became a city because it had a cathedral, making it the first city in New Zealand,
10. A random fact is: when exhibitions were in vogue, Christchurch staged the NZ International Exhibition in 1906/7 – according to the programme "good suits made to measure cost 40 shillings"
11. Lyttelton was burned to the ground in 1870
12. Christchurch has been the departure place for the Antarctic for 100 years
Although Christchurch and Canterbury were planned by British idealists as an ordered settlement - on English lines - the city was actually first inhabited by Maori, and the Scottish Deans brothers. Nevertheless, the 'founding fathers' stamped their ideas firmly on the city by placing an Anglican cathedral right in the centre. To this day, lazy writers continue to call it an 'English city': true many of our old buildings date back to the style of our heritage. Many of us locals consider them as 'of the style of our beginnings' rather than as an English city - Gothic Revival, Regent,Queen Ann. And, of course, most people had migrated to escape the old 'rules' and refused to 'stay in their place', and so began our - still firmly-held - egalitarian traditions: 'Jack is as good as his master' we had decided.
Victorian Christchurch encapsulated the British culture of the 1850s and we have preserved many of these. Unfortunately many have been damaged during the 7.1 earthquake, 4th September 2010. Coincidently, just a week before the earthquake, I (the NileGuide 'local expert' for Christchurch) had attended a meeting about the possibility of presenting a case to have a group of these Gothic Revival buildings to be inscribed on the World Heritage list.
In 1849, a Captain Joseph Thomas had been dispatched to New Zealand to prepare the way for the emigrants who would follow soon afterwards - the land he chose was the very marshy area a short distance down-steam from the established Deans farm. After years of drainage, the only swamp-land left in Christchurch is Travis Wetlands - well worth a visit to see our birds..