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Union Bank

1205 Government Street, Victoria , British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Exterior view of the Union Bank; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
West and south facades
Exterior view of the Union Bank; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
West elevation
Exterior view of the Union Bank; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
Balcony detail

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Union Bank is a grand six-storey Edwardian-era commercial building framed by Government and View Streets, and Trounce Alley, in the heart of Victoria's Old Town District. It is characterized by its combined brick and white-glazed terra cotta detailing, and its wrought-iron balconies at its top-storey level.

Heritage Value

The Union Bank, constructed in 1912, contributes significant heritage value to Victoria's downtown because it is one of the finest examples of a large-scale commercial building of this era in the city.

Designed in the style of the Chicago School, its stately temple-like form and fine architectural detail exude the permanence and solidity associated with Edwardian-era architecture, and is a fine representation of the development boom that occurred in Victoria between 1908 and 1913. Its large floor plate, considerable height, and use as the local headquarters of the Union Bank of Canada reflect the physical and commercial metamorphosis that transformed Victoria from a nineteenth-century supply town to a modern twentieth-century imperial city.

Together with the adjacent Central Building to the east, the landmark Union Bank forms an impressive commercial block that defines Trounce Alley to the north, and maintains the historical context of the commercial streetscapes on View and Government Streets.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Dept.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Union Bank include:
- Its prominent location at the corner of Government and View Streets.
- Its position as a defining element of Trounce Alley.
- Its contiguous relationship to the Central Building.
- Its six-storey massing and temple-like form.
- Its intact Edwardian design elements on all three of its exposed facades, including white-glazed terra cotta quoining blocks, window surrounds, and cornice.
- The wrought-iron balconies on the sixth-storey.
- Surviving interior spatial configurations which represent its original use as a bank.
- Evidence of its association with the Union Bank of Canada.



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


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

A.A. Cox


Norton Griffiths Steel Construction Company

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Dept.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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