Victoria Hall National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
1887/01/01 to 1888/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Victoria Hall is a three-and-a-half-storey, commercial building built in the late 19th century. It is prominently located in a row of commercial buildings opposite Gore Park in the central commercial district of the city of Hamilton. The formal recognition consists of the building and the legal property on which it sat at the time of recognition. The building itself occupies almost all of the property.
Victoria Hall was designated a national historic site because it is of national historic and architectural significance. It is a superior and rare example of a commercial building with a decorative, architectonic, sheet-metal façade, which is completely hand- rather than machine-made. Its well-designed and well-crafted, three-storey, metal façade comprised of high-relief architectural elements is largely intact. The building is an irreplaceable element in King Street's continuum of commercial architecture dating from the pre-confederation era to the present.
The conventional, late-19th-century commercial building is covered with a hand-made, galvanized-sheet-metal façade on the front of its upper three storeys. Designed by Hamilton architect William Stewart and erected for Alexander Bruce, a prominent Hamilton lawyer, the façade projects an image of prosperity by simulating the appearance of exuberant stone masonry. It is a very rare Canadian example of an in-situ, hand-made, sheet-metal façade and is one of the earliest and most architecturally accomplished of the surviving sheet metal façades in Canada. The façade is essentially intact.
Victoria Hall forms part of a continuous row of commercial buildings overlooking Gore Park, an area that has traditionally functioned as the city's commercial heart and the focal point of public events. Victoria Hall is among the last of the robust High-Victorian commercial buildings in the Gore area.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, July 1995.
The key elements that relate to the heritage value of this site include:
- its hand-crafted, sheet-metal facade, covering the entire front of the building above the ground floor;
- the well-proportioned, three-bay, Italianate composition of the metal facade, with architectural elements fabricated in high relief;
- on the lower two storeys, flat-arched windows with rounded corners separated by elongated columns, all framed by rusticated pilasters;
- on the top floor, semi-circular arched windows with highly decorated voussoirs and large keystones;
- a prominent, bracketed cornice capping the façade;
- its successful simulation in galvanized sheet-metal of elaborately carved stone masonry;
- its prominent and highly visible location on King Street near the corner of John Street;
- its incorporation in a continuous row of commercial buildings along the south side of King Street;
- its direct relationship to the open landscaped space of Gore Park on the opposite side of the street.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3
Cross-Reference to Collection