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Victoria Hotel

901-905 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Victoria Hotel, Government Street elevation; City of Victoria, 2008
Oblique view, 2008
Victoria Hotel, Courtney Street elevation; City of Victoria, 2008
Oblique view, 2008
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Other Name(s)

Victoria Hotel
Windsor Hotel Additions
Windsor Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/12/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Victoria Hotel is a one-and-one-half storey, side-gabled building with Tudor Revival features. It is located at the northeast corner of Courtney and Government Streets, in the heart of Victoria’s Old Town. There is a flat-roofed projection facing Government Street that extends the retail display space. A two-storey Edwardian-era brick addition at the rear faces Courtney and Gordon Streets.

Heritage Value

The Victoria Hotel is valued as a testament to the most significant event in the history of Victoria and British Columbia - the Fraser River gold rush of 1858. In April of that year, thousands of miners from California arrived at the Hudson's Bay Company’s Fort Victoria. The miners were en route to the Fraser River, and the safest and fastest route was by sea. Since the only available port was Victoria, it was here where they could purchase provisions and equipment for the hazardous journey across the Strait of Georgia and up the Fraser River. At this time, Victoria was a tiny community that lacked accommodation, and a boomtown of tents and wooden buildings soon arose. An enterprising individual, George Richardson (1826-1922) recognized the need for accommodation, and in 1858 he opened the Victoria Hotel, the first hotel in the City, and reputedly the first brick hotel to be built in the province. During his ownership, Richardson opened the doors of his hotel to hordes of miners.

The Victoria Hotel is also symbolic of the City of Victoria’s transition over time into a major tourist destination. It was later owned by hotelier Stephen Jones II. Despite his original plans to demolish and rebuild, a more modest scheme was undertaken in 1913 that retained the original building and extended the hotel into a large addition facing Courtney Street. The original part of the building was renovated with stucco and half-timbering in the Tudor Revival style, reflecting the British identity that was being promoted for Victoria for the purposes of tourism. Retail storefronts were also installed along Government Street, reflecting its development as a major commercial thoroughfare. The first major hotel in the city, the Victoria Hotel continues to play an important role in the Government Street streetscape.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Windsor Hotel include its:
- prominent corner location at Courtney and Government Streets, in proximity to the Inner Harbour
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- form, scale and massing as expressed by its one-and-one-half storey height, with side-gabled roof and flat-roofed front projection
- original brick construction, now covered by stucco and half-timbering
- one internal red-brick chimney
- exterior architectural details, such as cross-leaded casement windows in the gable end
- interior elements, such as early cast-iron columns and a later fireplace with Batchelder tiles
- two-storey addition at rear facing Courtney Street, with tan-brick cladding, sheet metal cornices, one-over-one double-hung wooden-sash windows and an internal staircase with turned balusters



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
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

Fox & Berrill



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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