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Palace Cigar Store

1306 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Palace Cigar Store; City of Victoria, 2008
Front elevation, 2008
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/12/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Palace Cigar Store is a two-storey, brick commercial building located on the west side of Government Street within Victoria’s Old Town. The building features a prominent arcade of three round-headed windows, each springing from a pair of columns, across the upper storey. The ground floor has a retail storefront with a central recessed entrance.

Heritage Value

The Palace Cigar Store is symbolic of the development of Victoria’s Old Town during the city’s early twentieth century economic renewal. At the time, there was increasing demand for retail space downtown, which resulted in construction activity along Government Street as the main shopping district. This building was an investment property for Heinrich Siebenbaum (1859-1942) who was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and arrived in Canada in 1893. By 1899, he was the operator of the Palace Saloon in the adjacent Adelphi Building at the corner of Government and Yates Streets. 1306 Government Street was opened as the Palace Cigar Store, with offices above. Siebenbaum’s business was destroyed in 1915 in local attacks on German commercial properties after the sinking of the Lusitania in World War One.

The Palace Cigar Store is additionally significant as an example of the transition from the Late Victorian era to the Edwardian era at a time when architectural styles, as well as building technologies, were changing. It typifies the late persistence of the Romanesque Revival style, as shown in the round-arched window openings on the upper floor. The ground floor was originally a single arched opening, further emphasizing a Romanesque character, but was later modernized to a rectangular storefront in line with changing commercial tastes.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Palace Cigar Store include its:
- location on Government Street, part of a grouping of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century historic masonry buildings in Victoria's Old Town
- continuous commercial use
- siting on the front and side property lines, with no setback
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height, symmetrical rectangular plan and flat roof
- masonry construction, including pressed brick façade, common brick side and rear walls, and stone cornice
- Romanesque Revival style details, such as round-arched window heads, coupled columns with foliate cushion capitals, simply articulated archivolts, and corbelled brickwork
- fenestration, such as one-over-one double-hung wooden-sash windows with fixed semicircular transoms
- early storefront with central entry and plate glass display windows



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


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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