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Cusack Printing Office

625 Courtney Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Cusack Printing Office; City of Victoria, 2009
Front elevation, 2009
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/08

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.

Heritage Value

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

Character-Defining Elements

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



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
Office or Office Building
Communications Facility

Architect / Designer

C. Elwood Watkins



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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