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Ballantyne's Florists

912 Douglas Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/07/10

Exterior view of Ballantyne's Florists, 2006; City of Victoria, 2006
Front elevation, showing details
Exterior view of Ballantyne's Florists, 2006; City of Victoria, 2006
View from the southeast
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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 on a corner lot at the intersection of Douglas and Courtney Streets in downtown Victoria, Ballantyne's Florists is a one-storey commercial building with prominent angular entrance canopies and geometric storefronts.

Heritage Value

Ballantyne's Florists is one of the outstanding examples of the development of a local stream of the Modern movement in Victoria, which was strongly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The angular storefronts and complex geometry of the shallow-pitched cantilevered canopies reflect Wright's contemporary work, as does the use of floor-to-ceiling glazing that provides continuity between the interior and exterior. The forms are kinetic, manipulated in all directions, with elements pushed and pulled in and through the storefronts. The broad light shelf in each retail unit, which divides the display windows from the transom, is a functional structure that reflects natural lighting into the vaulted interior spaces. The canopies provide protection and street-level interest for the pedestrian, and their complex geometry enlivens the streetscape along Douglas Street.

Built in 1954, Ballantyne's Florists is an exuberant example of the work of architect John Di Castri (1924-2005), who played a seminal role establishing modern architecture in Victoria during the early postwar years. An early commission by Di Castri, this building illustrates his interest in the modernism of Frank Lloyd Wright, and his desire to interpret this work within the local context. His work remains distinctive for its regionalist expression. It is a rich fusion of materials and complex, eccentric forms that demonstrates Di Castri's interpretation of Wrightian motifs, including horizontal planes, manipulated volumes and irregular geometry. This example is illustrative of the sophisticated abstract designs embraced by Di Castri in his work of this era.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of Ballantyne's Florists include its:
- location on a prominent, sloped, corner lot in downtown Victoria's commercial core, built to the front and side property lines
- commercial form, scale and massing stepped to accommodate the sloped site, as expressed by its one-storey height, series of angled storefronts; and folded plate projecting roof forms with flat roof behind
- masonry construction with projecting concrete beams at front, and contrasting light-coloured stucco and red brick cladding
- Modernist details such as projecting canopies over each storefront with projecting metal screens, and green vitrolite insets in the angles of the front facade brickwork
- regular fenestration with: aluminum sashes, frames and associated hardware; plate-glass display windows; storefront transoms; jalousie windows inset into clerestory windows on the Douglas Street façade; and projecting butt-glazed triangular display windows on the Courtney Street facade
- interior features, such as light shelves that run from the exterior into the interior, and vaulted ceilings



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
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

John A. Di Castri



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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