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Board of Trade Building

31 Bastion Square, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/02/11

Exterior view of the Board of Trade Building, 2004.; City of Victoria, Berdine Jonker, 2004.
front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Board of Trade Building is a four-storey office building located on the southern side of Bastion Square in the Old Town District.

Heritage Value

The Board of Trade Building is a monument to the commitment of entrepreneurial order in the exuberant economy of late nineteenth century Victoria and British Columbia. Erected in 1892, this building is a manifestation of the historic prominence and power of the British Columbia Board of Trade, which had administered local and provincial economic and commercial activities since its beginning as the Victoria Chamber of Commerce in 1863.

The Board of Trade Building's eclectic facade and imposing height contribute significantly to the heritage character of the Old Town District. Designed by architect A. Maxwell Muir, the exterior decorative elements of this building illustrate the late nineteenth century tendency to portray grandeur and importance through the amalgamation of many styles of architecture. The physical presence of this building within the streetscape is notable; its towering stature adds to its imposing image as a former governing body within Victoria's historic business district. The location of this building within Bastion Square - and its juxtaposition with the Provincial Courthouse and the Law Chambers - illustrate the continuum of early building construction which established this part of the city as a centre of regulation and administration.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Board of Trade Building include:
-the location of the building within Bastion Square, and its relationship with the Provincial Courthouse and the Law Courts;
-the towering vertical form and four-storey massing; the verticality of the building influenced by the Chicago School of architecture and achieved by the use of a timber frame construction and brick bearing walls;
-the amalgamation of various architectural styles such High Victorian commercial design with decorative Romanesque elements, articulated by unique treatments of brick and stone work, and different fenestration patterns on each of the four storeys;
-the symmetrical facade defined by bays and pilasters;
-the massive, rusticated sandstone base at the basement and first floor levels;
-the rounded archway entrance flanked by two Doric columns and stone carvings evocative of foliage;
-the unglazed terra cotta used for decorative panels, low relief carving, and horizontal bands of floral ornament on the third floor and the fourth floor string course.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

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

A. Maxwell Muir



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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