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1459 Vining Street

1459 Vining Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/09/08

Exterior view of 1459 Vining Street; Victoria Heritage Foundation, Derek Trachsel, 2005.
North elevation
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Other Name(s)

1459 Vining Street
Thomas C. Donovan, Sr. Home

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1898/01/01 to 1901/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

1459 Vining Street is an ornate two-storey brick house on the high end of Vining Street, east of the downtown area of the City of Victoria.

Heritage Value

This house, built 1898-1901, is important as one of Victoria's finest surviving brick residences, and one of its best masonry examples of the Queen Anne style, in this case with Romanesque elements. It is also valued because its style is unique in the Victoria area: it is much more like an Eastern Canadian house that was called Bay-n-Gable style in Toronto. The house contributes to the continuity of the historic Vining streetscape, and its prominent roofline and chimneys are viewed between houses on nearby Belmont Avenue.

The house is significant as an example of the fine workmanship of owner and builder Thomas Donovan, one of Victoria's most accomplished masons, who worked both as a contractor and as foreman for the construction of the Inner Harbour Causeway in 1905. It is notable that Donovan, like many other builders in Fernwood and Victoria, married someone related to the building fraternity: his wife Jessie Terry was the daughter of Fernwood resident, bricklayer John Terry.

Sources: City of Victoria Planning & Development Department; Victoria Heritage Foundation

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of 1459 Vining Street include:
- Queen Anne elements, including: steep, flared hipped roof with two cross-gables; two-storey cutaway bay window asymmetrically placed on the front and two- storey square bay window with a second-floor balcony on the right (west) side
- Queen Anne variety in surface treatment, such as: diagonal brickwork for some of the window lintels, masonry interposed in the brickwork, patterned belt course between first and second floors, arch over second-floor front windows
- Romanesque elements, including: broken-bed pediment gable and returned eaves in the front bay, frieze under the eaves cornice
- diamond window in the gable peak
- corbelled brick brackets
- two intricately corbelled chimneys
- inset corner entry porch with two Classical columns with an unusual series of rings on their shafts connecting them to the walls
- brick foundation on stone footings



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Architect / Designer



Thomas C. Donovan

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning & Development Department; Victoria Heritage Foundation

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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