Dalton Hotel and Suites
Links and documents
1890/01/01 to 1913/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Dominion Hotel is an imposing, four-storey brick hotel located at the southwest corner of Blanshard and Yates Streets, in Victoria’s Old Town. The front facade features full-height parged pilasters between each window, a decorative cornice, and an entablature at the ground-floor level. The cornice is inscribed 'Dominion Hotel' and the westernmost three bays have larger window openings and a fifth, setback storey.
The Dominion Hotel is significant as the oldest continuously operating hotel in the province and reflects Victoria's evolution as a destination, first for miners and then for tourists. Since 1862, a hotel has been located on this site. Spurred by the arrival of gold seekers bound for the Cariboo, the What Cheer House, a wooden structure, was established. Stephen Jones (died 1893) operated this hotel, later known as the Dominion Hotel, until 1889, when it was taken over by his son, Stephen Jones II (1869-1933). He demolished it in 1890 in favour of the new Dominion Hotel, a much larger and more elaborate three-storey masonry structure.
The construction and evolution of the Dominion Hotel is symbolic of the increased need for hotels for the growing number of visitors from elsewhere on Vancouver Island and Vancouver. In 1888, with a new influx of travellers accompanying the completion of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, there was an expanding hotel industry. At the time, Victoria was the most established city in British Columbia, offering a concentration of shops, entertainment venues and a commercial and government centre. Stephen Jones II continued to aggressively expand the Dominion with construction of a fourth storey in several stages and additional bays on the west side; the large western addition contains an additional storey above the cornice. The last addition, completed in 1913, reflects yet another boom in the city's history, when it was re-inventing itself as a tourist destination. After the death of Stephen Jones II, the Dominion Hotel was taken over by Stephen Jones III, the third generation to run this family’s hotel business.
The Dominion Hotel is further valued as a fine example of the Italianate style, with features such as a prominent bracketed cornice and segmental-arched window openings. Prominent architects Samuel Maclure (1900 addition) and Thomas Hooper (1913 addition) were responsible for additions, but they were limited to replicating original stylistic details so that the facade remained a coherent composition.
Source: City of Victoria Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Dominion Hotel include its:
- location on Yates Street, part of a grouping of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century historic masonry buildings in Victoria's Old Town
- continuous commercial use as a hotel
- siting on the front property line, with no setback
- commercial form, scale, and massing, as expressed by its four-storey height, symmetrical rectangular plan and flat roof
- masonry construction, as expressed by its brick walls and structure, and parged brick pilasters
- Italianate style details such as: a decorative sheet-metal cornice with brackets and modillions, and inscribed with the name 'Dominion Hotel'; segmental-arched window openings with keystones; and entablature at ground level
- regular fenestration, including some original 2-over-2 double-hung wooden sash windows
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection