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Victoria City Hall National Historic Site of Canada

1 Centennial Square, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1977/11/17

General view of Victoria City Hall, showing the symmetrical exterior massing, with a prominent central tower that expresses the building’s role as a civic landmark, 2011.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Andrew Waldron, 2011.
General view
Detail view of Victoria City Hall, showing the central clock tower, 2011.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Andrew Waldron, 2011.
Detail view
General view of Victoria City Hall, showing architectural elements that convey the rich variety of forms, textures and ornamentation that characterise the Second Empire style, 2011.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Andrew Waldron, 2011.
General view

Other Name(s)

Victoria City Hall
Hôtel de ville de Victoria
Victoria City Hall National Historic Site of Canada

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1878/01/01 to 1890/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Victoria City Hall National Historic Site of Canada is a two-and-a-half storey brick building designed in the Second Empire Style. Architectural elements including a prominent central clock tower, a mansard roof with dormers, and numerous decorative wall features, reflect the building’s intended stature as an enduring monument to civic pride. The formal recognition refers to the building on its lot.

Heritage Value

Victoria City Hall was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1977 because it remains one of the best surviving examples of public architecture in the Second Empire style in western Canada.

Victoria City Hall illustrates Canadians' longstanding desire to create landmarks as expressions of civic pride and optimism for the future. Built in three stages between 1878 and 1890 to defray costs, the building’s scale was justified through the accommodation it provided for a wide range of civic functions including council chambers, municipal offices, fire hall, public market and jail. A rear annex was added in 1963. The Victoria City Hall continues to affirm the vision of its builders, both as the seat of local government and as an enduring architectural landmark.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1977.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements relating to the heritage value of this site include:

- those architectural elements that convey the rich variety of forms, textures and ornamentation that characterise the Second Empire style such as the central clock tower and balconied main entrance, mansard roof and dormers, eave brackets, the articulation of the wall plane with quoins, pilasters, belt courses and round-headed window, and the polychromatic brickwork of the original exterior wall surfaces;
- surviving evidence of the original interior layout and ornamentation of main public spaces;
- the symmetrical exterior massing, with a prominent central tower that expresses the building’s role as a civic landmark and embodies the distinctive qualities of 19th-century public architecture in the Second Empire style.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1977/11/17

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1963/01/01 to 1963/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Government
Town or City Hall

Historic

Architect / Designer

John Teague

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

106

Status

Published

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east elevation

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Victoria City Hall is a two-and-one-half storey masonry building situated at the northwest corner of Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue in the Old Town District in Downtown…

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