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791 Pandora Avenue

791 Pandora Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Exterior view of 791 Pandora Avenue; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2005.
East elevation
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Other Name(s)

791 Pandora Avenue
Ocean Island Backpackers' Inn
Allies Hotel
Osborne House
Pandora Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

791 Pandora Avenue is a four storey building located at the southwest corner of Blanshard Street and Pandora Avenue. It is distinguishable by its Italianate architectural form and massing and its beveled corner.

Heritage Value

791 Pandora Avenue is valued as one of the oldest large-scale commercial buildings of its era to survive in this part of Victoria's downtown. Constructed in 1891 for Carlo Bossi, a prominent pioneer developer and landowner, this historic place is important to the city's heritage character because it is representative of the development patterns of the late nineteenth century, which saw the expansion of the city away from the commercial core and the waterfront. Its Italianate form and beveled corner make it a commanding presence at this intersection of Pandora Avenue and Blanshard Streets.

This historic building also possesses social value in its historical and current uses for accommodation and housing. Designed as a hotel with commercial spaces at street level, it is significant that it has retained an element of its original function through a major 1944 renovation which converted it to wartime housing, and through to its present day use as a backpackers' hostel.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Dept.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of 791 Pandora Avenue include:
- Its prominent corner location, accentuated by a beveled corner.
- Its four-storey form and free-standing appearance, with three of its four facades completely unobstructed within the streetscape.
- Surviving exterior detailing which relates to its original 1891 design, including fourth storey arches, triangular pediments above entrances, and accentuation of the rhythm of the north and east facades through vertical piers.
- Interior elements which support the heritage character associated with its original use as a hotel, and its 1944 renovation for use as wartime housing.
- The integrity of the 1891 building envelope, reinforced by evidence of construction methods and materials used to carry out its original design.
- Its varied uses for temporary accommodation and/or long-term housing.



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)

1944/01/01 to 1944/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer




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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