Description of Historic Place
Located on a corner lot at Store Street and Pandora Avenue in Victoria’s historic Old Town, the Station Hotel is a four-storey brick building with Edwardian-era details. It is located across the street from the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Station, the Inner Harbour and Chinatown. Notable features include shaped parapets, deep window reveals and an angled corner entrance. It is adjacent to Market Square, a rehabilitated complex of late nineteenth century buildings that comprise the western half of a full block, with continuous historic streetfronts along three major streets and a central courtyard.
Constructed at the end of the pre-World War One real estate boom, the Station Hotel is valued as a reflection of the surge of development that characterized Victoria’s gateway economy. With its substantial size, brick construction and simple detailing, it remains a prominent presence on the street. Constructed in 1913 for the Victoria Phoenix Brewing Company, it has been used continuously for commercial purposes, and is a significant contribution to the historic character of Market Square. Located across the street from the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Station, it was one of a series of hotels that provided accommodation and sustenance for the many travelers drawn to Victoria both for business and tourism opportunities. The booming economy during the Edwardian era, fueled by transportation developments and the emergence of Victoria as a global tourist destination, subsided before World War I. This hotel replaced an earlier two-storey structure that served as home to the Light House Saloon; the new hotel cost $25,000 to build. In later years, the Station Hotel became home to the Comus Hotel, then the Wah Que Rooms, reflecting its location at the southern edge of Chinatown.
The Station Hotel is also valued for its robust, Edwardian-era architectural expression. It was designed by prominent Victoria architect Jesse M. Warren (1889-1953). Born in San Francisco in 1888, Warren arrived in Seattle at the age of twenty, where he worked with several architects. In 1911, he moved to Victoria. Over the next five years, as Victoria’s building boom wound down, Warren designed a number of residences, as well as several office, apartment, and store blocks. The handsome multi-storey, brick-faced Central Building (at View and Broad streets) with Classical Revival detailing, is among Warren’s more prominent designs.
Additionally, this building has supported Market Square's role in the modern revitalization of Victoria's historic downtown core. In the 1970s, Sam Bawlf and his brother, architect Nick Bawlf, pioneered private sector revitalization in Victoria by creating Market Square, a half-block of contiguous rehabilitated heritage buildings that framed a partly covered central courtyard, housing a vibrant urban environment with boutiques, restaurants, offices, and performance space. This adjacent building has also been fully rehabilitated. In recognition of the material and social values of the historic buildings of Old Town, the City of Victoria has established policies and incentives that encourage their adaptive re-use and improve their economic viability. Rehabilitated buildings such as this play a critical role in revitalizing the downtown economy, in providing new residential accommodation and in environmental sustainability.
Source: City of Victoria Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Station Hotel include its:
- prominent location at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Store Street, adjacent to Market Square at the northern edge of Victoria’s historic Old Town, across the street from the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Station, the Inner Harbour and Chinatown
- continuous commercial use at ground level, with residential use above
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its four-storey height built to the property lines, rectangular plan, angled corner entrance, and flat roof
- masonry construction, including cladding on the two main façades of high-fire paving brick with wide mortar joints, and common red brick side walls
- typical features of the Edwardian-era design, such as shaped parapets, rusticated base, deep window reveals, and sheet-metal cornice above the ground floor
- original wooden window frames, mullions and brickmoulds
- interior features, such as multi-coloured mosaic tile floors in the ground floor commercial space