Home / Accueil

City Brokerage Building

1018 Blanshard Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/07/10

Exterior view of the City Brokerage Building, 2006; City of Victoria, 2006
Front elevation
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located in downtown Victoria, this mid-block commercial building is distinguished by its Streamline Moderne styling. The one-storey storefront currently serves a single retail function.

Heritage Value

The City Brokerage Building is an excellent example of Streamline Moderne design, which reflected a shift from traditional architecture styles towards modernism in the 1930s. Throughout North America, the Streamline Moderne, with its aerodynamic shapes and allusions to industrial design, was the commercial style of choice, reflected in everything from radio cabinets to ocean liners. It replaced the more elaborate ornamentation of the Art Deco style, heralding a new machine age and expressing the austerity of the Great Depression. It also suited the emerging chain stores and restaurants of the era, which embraced this image of speed and technology as part of their technique of mass marketing and brought the Streamline Moderne to even the smallest communities. As there was little local construction underway at the time, this building is a stylistic rarity in Victoria. This small-scale commercial building is distinguished by its curved entrance, curved storefront windows and speed-stripe banding.

The City Brokerage Building is also valued for its association with the commercial history and development of the City of Victoria, which illustrates the return of development and economic activity to the city after the economic doldrums of the early 1930s. From the time of its construction in 1937 until the 1960s, half of the building was occupied by the office of the City Brokerage, a real estate and insurance business dating back to 1906. It was also the office of contractor Herman R. Brown. Notably, a husband and wife team operated out of this office, with Evelyn Brown managing the brokerage firm. This was an unusual circumstance in a traditionally male-dominated profession. In more recent years, the building has been the location of one of BC's oldest family-owned optical businesses, Maycock Optical, which was established in 1949 in downtown Victoria.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the City Brokerage Building include its:
- mid-block, downtown location, built to the front and side property lines
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-storey front facade, rectangular plan with symmetrically-disposed front facade, and flat roof with stylized, stepped front parapet
- Streamline Moderne detailing as expressed in: concrete construction with impressed speed-striping on the front facade; curved plate glass storefront windows; and the curved walls of the recessed central entry



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places