Hudson's Bay Company Department Store
1701 Douglas Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada
Hudson's Bay Company Department Store
Links and documents
1914/01/01 to 1921/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) Department Store is a four-storey Georgian Revival Style building dating to the Edwardian period. This building covers half of a city block bound by Douglas, Herald, and Fisgard Streets in Victoria.
This 1914 building is a manifestation of the Hudson's Bay Company's modern image in the early twentieth century - the department-store era of retail sales. It is important because it signifies the Company's departure from its fur-trading roots and its establishment as a national commercial retailer.
The architecture of this building is important as an example of the trademark idiom utilized by the HBC's architects (Burke, Hallwood, and White of Toronto). It is significant that this building is essentially identical to other contemporary Hudson's Bay department stores from Vancouver to Winnipeg; it was this palatial design with its terra cotta decorative elements which was chosen to establish architectural permanence, and to portray the luxury, grandeur, and modernity of Canada's most successful and oldest company. The combination of modern symmetry enriched with classical detail is purely Georgian Revival, and is unique within Victoria.
The location of this department store is significant as it originally stood at the northern boundary of the city. The construction of such a substantial structure outside of the commercial core reflects the economic optimism in Canada prior to the First World War. This optimism was relived in the late 1930s, when a considerable addition was constructed on the eastern facade of the building in 1939. It is an important landmark, and its strength of presence and powerful image create an architectural bookend for Victoria's downtown.
Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department
The character-defining elements of the Hudson's Bay Company Department Store include:
-the palatial form and four-storey massing which covers one-half of a city block;
-the prominent location of the building in the northern section of the commercial core;
-the views of the facades of the building on Douglas, Herald, and Fisgard Streets from various vantage points within a two-block radius;
-the 1939 eastern addition identifiable as three bays possessing design elements such as simplified pilasters and slightly different window setting in relation to the 1914 section;
-the identification of architects Burke, Hallwood and White's trademark Georgian Revival HBC department store design as seen in: neo-classical elements such as base piers at ground level, upper storey engaged columns, Corinthian capitals with tobacco-leaf motif, and floral decorative elements; and Commercial Style elements, such as rectilinear massing, grid-like fenestration pattern with maximum number of windows within the structural frame, and substantial cornice;
-the identification of the building with the Hudson's Bay Company, as seen in such elements as medallions on the exterior facade;
-authentic materials, such as cream-coloured glazed terra cotta cladding and decorative elements, and wooden sash windows in upper storeys;
-the presence of large plate glass windows at street level;
-the large, open floor plans and spatial configurations of interior spaces.
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
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
Burke, Horwood and White
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning and Development Department
Cross-Reference to Collection