Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Cusack Printing Office has a three-storey, tan-brick main façade, and an east side façade of common red brick, that have both been incorporated into a new commercial development. Located mid-block on the south side of Courtney Street in downtown Victoria, the three-bay front façade displays the influence of the Chicago School that was pervasive during the Edwardian era.
The Cusack Printing Office, built 1911, is emblematic of the industrial uses that were once common throughout Victoria’s Old Town, when many different activities, including warehousing, transshipment and manufacturing were clustered near the working waterfront. Built by prominent businessman Thomas Rodney Cusack (1868-1925), it provided offices and workspace for his successful printing business, T.R. Cusack Presses. This building also illustrates the importance of the local print media; at the time, Cusack was busy providing a steady stream of brochures, publications and catalogues for both public and private clients.
Although built to house a utilitarian function, the front façade was designed to express progressive features of Edwardian-era commercial architecture. The front façade is divided into three bays filled with large windows that reflect the influence of the Chicago School. The high ratio of glass gave generous access to north-facing natural light, which would have facilitated the functions of the printing office, including the setting of type.
Additionally, the Cusack Printing Office is a significant surviving design by prolific Victoria-born architect C. Elwood Watkins (1875-1942). Watkins began his architectural apprenticeship in 1890 in the office of Thomas Hooper, and by 1902 had become a full partner. He opened his own office in 1909, and in addition to his many commercial, institutional and residential projects, Watkins was the official architect of the Victoria and Saanich School Boards.
Source: City of Victoria Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Cusack Printing Office include its:
- location on the south side of Courtney Street, near the southern edge of Victoria’s historic Old Town
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed in its three-storey height, flat roof, symmetrical front façade, segmental-arched window openings on the top floor and offset entry, built to the property lines with no setbacks
- construction materials, including tan pressed brick with red mortar on the main façade, common red brick on the side façade, pressed sheet metal cornice with shaped brackets, and pressed sheet metal canopy over entry
- wooden-sash pivot windows, with tripartite transoms
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
- Communications Facility
Architect / Designer
C. Elwood Watkins
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection