Home / Accueil

Kaiserhof Hotel

1322 Blanshard Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Kaiserhof Hotel; City of Victoria, 2009
Oblique view, 2009
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)

Kaiserhof Hotel
Hotel Cecil (1920)
Kent Apartments (1942)
Blanshard Hotel
Max Leiser Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Kaiserhof Hotel is a four-storey, brick apartment block, located at the corner of Blanshard and Johnson Streets in Downtown Victoria. Retail storefronts face Blanshard Street, and the two main façades are clad with contrasting surfaces of pressed tan brick and ivory-coloured terra cotta.

Heritage Value

Constructed during the height of the pre-World War One real estate boom, the Kaiserhof Hotel is valued as a reflection of the surge of development that characterized Victoria’s gateway economy. With its substantial size, brick construction and classically-influenced detailing, the Kaiserhof Hotel was, and remains, a downtown landmark. The scale of the building reflects the optimism and rapid growth of the Edwardian era, prior to the collapse of the local economy in 1913 and the outbreak of World War One in 1914. It illustrates the continuing redevelopment of the eastern edge of downtown, through the replacement of earlier buildings on prime sites during a time of great prosperity. At the time the Kaiserhof Hotel was built, Blanshard Street was being established as a significant north-south commercial street that rivalled Douglas and Government Streets. Originally built as an apartment-hotel, it catered to travellers in a city that relied increasingly on trade and commerce, and was developing as a global tourism destination.

This historic place is also significant for its association with the early German community in Victoria, and as a demonstration of the multicultural origins of Victoria. It was built by Max Leiser, who was a leading local businessman and partner in Pither & Leiser Ltd., liquor merchants. Prominent German entrepreneur Alvo von Alvesleben operated his local business interests from this building. The original tenant was the Kaiserhof Hotel, which had a distinctly German flavour, including a fenced-in beer garden at the rear. Public sentiment turned against the Germans at the time of World War One. German immigrants had been fully accepted members of the community, but Britain’s declaration of war in August 1914 provoked a wave of patriotism and a xenophobic response. During the anti-German riots that followed the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, the hotel was extensively damaged and looted. When it re-opened, its name was changed to the Blanshard Hotel.

The Kaiserhof Hotel is also a significant surviving Edwardian-era design by prominent BC architect Thomas Hooper (1857-1935). Hooper had one of the province's longest running and most prolific architectural careers, designing hundreds of commercial and residential buildings in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. Reflective of the influence of the Classical Revival styles that were popular during the Edwardian era, the building is articulated in a tripartite division of base, shaft and capital. The two main façades are boldly detailed with contrasting brick horizontally at the base and capital, and vertically on the main shaft. This is one of Hooper’s most inventive designs, achieved through the interweaving of just two cladding materials.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Kaiserhof Hotel include its:
- prominent location at the corner of Blanshard and Johnson Streets, in Victoria’s historic Old Town
- long-term hotel and residential use on the upper floors, with retail storefronts at ground level
- form, scale and massing, as expressed in its four-storey height, full basement, rectangular plan at ground floor level, L-plan upper floors, and flat roof, built to the property lines with no setbacks
- Edwardian era decorative features, including symmetrical design and details that demonstrate a Classical Revival influence, segmental-arched storefront openings, and pilasters and voussoirs of alternating brick and terra cotta
- masonry construction, including pressed tan brick and ivory-coloured terra cotta for the two main façades, and common red brick for side and rear façades
- surviving early storefront and ground floor elements, including wooden transoms and hopper windows with straight-leaded translucent glass



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

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Multiple Dwelling


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer

Thomas Hooper


Anderson & Anderson

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places