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Seale and Thomson Garage

409 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/08/04

Seale and Thompson Garage; City of Courtenay, 2009
Front facade, 2009
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/11/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Seale and Thomson Garage is a one-storey, Art Deco building prominently situated on the corner of 4th Street and Cliffe Avenue in the heart of Courtenay’s downtown core. The building features a spacious courtyard and two mature trees.

Heritage Value

The significance of the Seale and Thomson Garage lies in its historic and aesthetic value, particularly for its association with the emergence and proliferation of the automobile in Courtenay, and the building’s notable architecture.

The Seale and Thomson Garage is valued as a reflection of Courtenay’s response to the proliferation in the use of the automobile as a primary method of transportation in the early twentieth century. In 1918, the first garage on the site was opened by Willemar and Wain as the creation of new roads prompted the need for service stations. Dick Seale and Joe Thomson opened a second garage on the site in 1948, which was heralded as a unique and modern building that was highly equipped to service an increasing influx of automobiles in Courtenay, a reflection of the rapid growth of the city after the Second World War.

The aesthetic value of the Seale and Thomson building lies in its Art Deco architecture and prominent setting. Constructed in 1948, the Seale and Thomson Garage reflects the values of modernity and efficiency inherent in an optimistic post World War Two era, seen in the sweeping curved façades and use of glass bricks. The building’s horizontal banding and parapet emphasizes ‘speed and movement’ and parallels the modern developments made to the automobile in the 1940’s.

Source: City of Courtenay Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which define the heritage character of Seale and Thomson Garage include its:

Site and Setting
- prominent location in the heart of Courtenay’s downtown core
- modern complement to the Courtenay Museum across the street
- open courtyard with mature trees

- rectangular form and horizontal massing
- elements that reflect the former use of the building as an automobile service garage, including large ground level windows once used for showcasing vehicles, and courtyard once used for gas pumps
- elements that reflect the art deco style, including sweeping façades, glass bricks, decorative horizontal banding fronting Cliffe Avenue, and parapet
- extensive fenestration, including: glass doors, symmetrical window openings, and glass bricks



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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Service Station

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Courtenay Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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