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BC Power Commission

780 Blanshard Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Exterior view of th BC Power Commission; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
north entrance
Exterior view of the BC Power Commission; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
south and west elevations
Exterior view of the BC Power Commission; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
south elevation

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1939/01/01 to 1940/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The BC Power Commission is a large Art Deco Style office building located at the edge of the Humboldt Valley in downtown Victoria. Built on a slope, it has two visible storeys on its northern façade and four storeys facing south.

Heritage Value

The BC Power Commission building is valuable to the City of Victoria because of its distinctive architectural design, and for its connection with the public sector enterprise that helped shape British Columbia's waterpower industry.

Although this building was completed in 1940 for use as a hospital, its first function was as the headquarters of the BC Power Commission, which was created by the provincial government in 1945. Although it is a fairly late expression of the Art Deco Style, its fine architectural composition is integral to its heritage role within the urban core of Victoria's downtown. Its geometric form and ornamentation provide a significant counterpoint to the typically Victorian nineteenth century architecture of nearby landmarks such as St. Ann's Academy, and communicate a sense of modernity well suited to its original function as the control centre for the electrification of the province in the mid-twentieth century.

The history of continuous public sector use of this building supports Victoria's role as a centre of government since the late nineteenth century. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that this building was the location of the signing of the Columbia River Treaty in 1961.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Dept.

Character-Defining Elements

The character defining elements of the BC Power Commission building include:
- Its location on the edge of the Humboldt Valley.
- Its four-storey flat-roofed form and geometric massing.
- Its architectural composition, designed to accommodate its sloping lot and to accentuate the height of its southern façade.
- Evidence of its association with the BC Power Commission, seen in such interior elements as the three storey high aluminum stairwell screen with the initials B.C.P, and such exterior elements as incised signage on the north façade.
- All surviving Art Deco detailing relevant to its 1940 design.
- Surviving interior fittings and fixtures related to its original design.
-The original spatial configurations, fittings, and detailing of the Conference Room (originally the Chairman's Office).

Recognition

Jurisdiction

British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date

1995/01/19

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1961/01/01 to 1961/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Government
Office or office building

Historic

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Dept.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

DcRu-807

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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