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Finch Building

719 Yates Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Finch Building; City of Victoria, 2009
Front elevation, 2009
Historic view of Finch Building; City of Victoria, (Victoria Architecturally, CVARD 98410-10-624)
Front elevation, 1911
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Finch Building is a three-storey, brick commercial building, located midblock on the south side of Yates Street between Douglas and Blanshard Streets, in downtown Victoria. It forms part of a grouping of older structures of similar scale that remain on this part of the block. The influence of the Chicago School is evident in the tripartite arrangement of the front façade windows.

Heritage Value

Constructed during the upswing of the pre-World War One real estate boom, the Finch Building is valued as a reflection of the surge of development that characterized Victoria’s gateway economy. Built in 1910, it has been used continuously for commercial purposes, and is a significant contribution to the historic character of this block of Yates Street. It was originally owned by Finch & Finch and was purpose-built for a 20-room office building with storefront space on the ground floor. This area of Yates Street was filled with small, service-oriented retail establishments such as barbershops, jewelers and clothing stores that supported the surrounding community, with a variety of office and hotel uses on the upper floors.

The Finch Building is additionally valued for its Edwardian-era architecture, designed by talented and versatile architect David Cowper Frame (1882-1960), who practiced in Victoria for over half a century and whose career spanned the decline of traditional architecture and the rise of Modernism. He was born in Scotland to a family of prosperous Lanark wool merchants, and after world-wide travels seeking his fortune, settled in Victoria in 1905. He gained employment as an architect's apprentice under F.M. Rattenbury, and in 1908 established his own firm, achieving great success in the booming years prior to the outbreak of World War One. Frame remained prolific into the postwar era, providing the designs for numerous apartment buildings throughout Victoria. This building reflects Frame’s embrace of the architecture of the emerging Chicago school, driven by new building technologies and characterized by its distinctive tripartite window patterns.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Finch Building include its:
- location on the south side of Yates Street, east of Douglas Street, in Victoria’s downtown core, part of a grouping of historic buildings of similar scale
- continuous commercial use
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed through its rectangular, three-storey plan with a flat roof and single storefront, with access to the upper floors through a narrow doorway on the east side
- masonry construction, including original upper floor brick cladding, common red-brick side walls, and internal wood frame construction
- influence of the Chicago School, as expressed through its: symmetrical façade framed by brick pilasters; high ratio of glazing on the front façade; tripartite wooden-sash windows with fixed central pane flanked by two smaller double-hung windows and straight-leaded glass transoms above; and portion of original storefront windows above doorway on east side of façade



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
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

D.C. Frame



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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