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Sussex Apartment Hotel

1001-1019 Douglas Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Sussex Apartment Hotel; City of Victoria, 2009
Oblique view, 2009
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Other Name(s)

Sussex Apartment Hotel
Sussex Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Sussex Apartment Hotel is a three-storey brick façade, retained and incorporated as part of a new commercial development. Comprised of two main façades that run along Douglas and Broughton Streets and meet at an angled corner, the Sussex is located at the eastern periphery of Victoria’s historic Old Town.

Heritage Value

The Sussex Apartment Hotel represents the ongoing development of Victoria as a global tourism destination, and the changes that have occurred over time to accommodate visitors to the city. Victoria has fashioned itself as a romantic and tranquil destination, an image that is still consciously marketed. The Sussex was one of the first hotels in Victoria to cater to automobile tourism, and epitomizes the growing importance that autos were beginning to assume in the 1930s. It was originally designed with a drive-through from Broughton Street to a parking lot at the rear, and was one of a series of hotels along lower Douglas Street, close to the Inner Harbour, that were built to cater to tourists arriving by car or by ferry. The expansion of auto-related operations also illustrates the relative prosperity and increasing mobility on the West Coast at the end of the Depression era.

Designed in the Art Deco style, the Sussex was the most fashionable hotel in Victoria when it was built. It is also significant as an example of the work of local architect Studley Patrick Birley, one of the more accomplished modernist architects in Victoria. Born in England in 1904, Birley moved to Victoria in 1930, and by 1934 had established his own architectural practice in Victoria concentrating on residential work but also completing a few high-profile larger projects. In 1946, Birley formed an architectural partnership with two younger architects just returning from the war, John Howard Wade and C. Dexter Stockdill. Birley remained active in various partnerships until his premature death in 1962.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Sussex Apartment Hotel include its:
- location at the corner of Douglas and Broughton Streets, at the eastern periphery of Victoria’s historic Old Town
- commercial form, scale and massing of the two surviving façades, as expressed by its three-storey height and angled corner, built to the property lines
- elements of the late Art Deco style, such as its overall horizontal massing, highly-articulated red-brick cladding, herringbone brick pattern in the spandrels, vertical piers between the windows carried past the cornice level to provide a crenellated profile, charcoal grey and tan tile cladding at the ground floor level, with horizontal fluting above the storefront openings, and two-colour glazed Art Deco tile insets with a geometric frozen fountain motif
- double-hung one-over-one wooden-sash windows on the upper floors
- salvaged elements from the original interior, including fluted wooden panels with stylized dogwood carvings, now installed in the lobby of the new commercial tower



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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer

S. Patrick Birley


Luney Brothers

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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