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Oriental Hotel

550-552 Yates Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/11/13

Exterior view of the Oriental Hotel, 2004.; BC Heritage Branch
view from SW
Exterior view from South, 2004.; BC Heritage Branch
front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1883/01/01 to 1888/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Oriental Hotel is a three-storey High Victorian Italianate building located on the north side of Yates Street in Old Town Victoria.

Heritage Value

The Oriental Hotel is an excellent example of a late nineteenth century Victorian Italianate hotel, and is notable as the work of the prominent architect John Teague. Elements relating to Teague's design include the extensive use of tall upper storey bay windows and distinct ground-storey arches - made possible by the use of cast iron columns - and reflect the state-of-the-art architectural idiom of the 1880s. The value of this design lies in its classical detailing, ironwork ornamentation, and prominent open facade, which set the Oriental Hotel apart from other historic hotels in the area.

Begun in 1883, this building is notable as one of the first hotels in the Old Town District. Its 1888 expansion, which doubled its size to include additional rooms, unique cantilevered corner bay windows, and a west facade over Oriental Alley, reflects a continued belief in the economic prosperity of the competitive hotel industry which thrived in Victoria's late nineteenth century economy. The attention to detail of this hotel's remarkably intact interior and exterior features reflects the fashionable standards of Victoria's earliest first-rate hotels.

The location of the Oriental Hotel is also significant, as it reflects the early grandeur and multi-functionality of the Yates Street commercial district.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Oriental Hotel include:
-the predominant height of the building with its facade of tall bay windows;
-the brick structure trimmed with metal ornamentation and cast iron columns that support ground-storey arches;
-the Victorian Italianate architectural stylistic elements typified by the tall narrow windows, pediments, mouldings, brackets, columns, foliated capitals, and flat roof with a predominant cornice;
-the angled bay windows on the storefront facade and cantilevered bay windows on the corner of the building;
-the west facade of the building over the space in the adjacent Oriental Alley;
-the intact spatial configurations of the interior;
-the authentic fabric of the interior, such as the floors, plaster detailing on ceilings, woodwork, lighting and architectural hardware from the period of construction (1883-1888).



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
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer

John Teague


Smith and Clark

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning & Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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