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Pump House

825 Admirals Road, Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/05/16

Detail view of the Pump House, showing its decorative brickwork and the panel with the date stone, 1985.; Department of Public Works / Ministère des Travaux publics, 1985.
General view of the Pump House, showing its large vertical steel-framed windows divided into small panes, 1991.; Department of Public Works / Ministère des Travaux publics, 1991.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Pump House
Building 1
Bâtiment 1
Graving Dock No. 1
Cale sèche no 1
Esquimalt Graving Dock pump house
Station de pompage de la cale sèche d’Esquimalt

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/09/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located on the north side of the Esquimalt Graving Dock, the Pump House, also known as Building 1, is a large, rectangular building constructed of brick on a concrete foundation. It is three storeys in height with two additions on the north elevation. The north and south façades have nine bays divided by piers. The west façade has a large central entrance flanked by two windows and the east façade has three bays. Ornamental brick patterning and limestone stringcourses decorate the otherwise plain façade. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Pump House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Pump House is one of the best examples of a building that illustrates the theme of the shipping industry, a theme that has been integrally connected with the development of the Canadian economy. The pumping machinery housed within the pump house performs the watering and dewatering operations of the dry dock. It is an integral component of the dock’s function and operation. At the time of its completion the dry dock was the second largest in the world. It is the largest dry dock on the Canadian west coast.

Architectural Value
The Pump House is a very good example of utilitarian design exhibiting features characteristic of the Modern Classical style popular during the first half of the 20th century. The building also reflects an economic approach to construction typically employed for industrial plants. Similarly the interior layout is determined by functional consideration and machinery arrangement.

Environmental Value
The Pump House together with the surrounding buildings forms a homogenous complex where utilitarian designs in combination with machinery, contribute to the industrial character of the Graving Dock. The Esquimalt Graving Dock and its associated buildings are familiar to the residents of Esquimalt and to visitors of the site.

Sources: Sophie Drakich, Esquimalt Graving Dock, Esquilmalt, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Building Report, 90-244; Pump House (Building No.1), Esquimalt Graving Dock, Esquilmalt, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement, 90-244.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character defining elements of the Pump House should be respected.

Its utilitarian design, modern classical features, very good quality craftsmanship and materials such as:
- its large three-storey rectangular, flat-roofed, massing on a well-defined concrete foundation;
- its division into clearly defined bays, and the regular arrangement of openings on these bays;
- its large vertical steel-framed windows divided into small panes;
- its decorative brickwork that includes the course stretchers on edge, the geometric panels with limestone infilling above the piers, the panel with the date stone above the entrance, and the patterning on the piers themselves.

The manner in which the Pump House is compatible with the industrial character of its setting and is a familiar landmark within Esquimalt as evidenced by:
- its utilitarian design;
- its relationship to the industrial buildings of the Graving Dock complex;
- its visibility.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Water or Sewage Facility

Architect / Designer

Max Downing



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




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