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Bentall Building

1060 Douglas Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/07/10

Exterior view of the Bentall Building, 2006; City of Victoria, 2006
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1963/01/01 to 1964/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The eight-storey Bentall Building is a glass-clad International Style office tower, characterized by its tower and podium design. The building is a landmark structure, located on a prominent corner site at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets in Victoria's downtown core.

Heritage Value

Built in 1963-64, the Bentall Building was one of the first high-rise commercial blocks in downtown Victoria, and is a classic example of an International Style office tower. Designed in Vancouver as a landmark modern structure, with no attempt to fit the local Victoria context, it recalls the design of the revolutionary Lever House in New York, with a curtain wall tower rising from a horizontal podium. The vertical aluminum I-beam extrusions attached to the facade - a detail first used by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the Seagram Building in New York - served both decorative and functional purposes by enriching the surface articulation and acting as tracks for window cleaning equipment.

The Bentall Building is additionally significant for its association with its original owner and builder, Dominion Construction, a highly successful company founded by Charles Bentall in 1911. After the Second World War, the company underwent a major expansion, including the construction of new office towers in Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. For many years Dominion Construction maintained in-house architectural staff. This structure was designed by Frank Musson (b.1932), who was staff architect for Dominion Construction from 1960-1965. Musson subsequently started his own practice, gaining prominence with corporate commissions such as the massive Bentall Centre in Vancouver.

Further significance lies in the association with the Toronto Dominion Bank, which has been a prime tenant of this building since its construction. With the amalgamation of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1954, and the period of expansion and prosperity in the postwar era, the bank required a larger local headquarters in Victoria. The TD Bank embraced corporate modernism at this time, further reflected in the construction of the TD Tower in Toronto, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1967.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bentall Building include its:
- corner location, built to the property lines, on a prominent commercial street
- commercial form, scale and massing as expressed by its seven-storey tower with concrete base and cap, floating on a tall glazed podium
- masonry construction, with board-formed concrete expressed on the blank concrete end wall on the west elevation
- International Style details such as: continuous glass curtain walls; aluminum I-beams attached to the vertical mullions; and plain and unornamented surfaces
- original proportions and components of the curtain wall, including aluminum sash extrusions, clear window glass and opaque dark-grey spandrel glass
- additional exterior elements such as polished black granite trim, two steel-clad columns flanking the main entry, and stucco-clad entrance soffits with recessed pot lighting
- interior lobby features such as recessed pot lights, stainless steel elevator doors with embossed TD logos, and white marble wall cladding



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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

Frank Musson


Dominion Construction Company

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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