Description of Historic Place
The Scott and Peden Building is a Victorian Italianate masonry commercial building, located on the east side of Store Street, adjoining the rear of the Grand Pacific Hotel. Two storeys in height facing Store Street, it has a full lower level exposed to the rear courtyard. It is part of Market Square, a rehabilitated complex of late nineteenth century buildings that comprise the western half of a full block, with continuous historic streetfronts along three major streets and a central courtyard behind, in Victoria's Old Town.
The Scott and Peden Building is a significant contributing resource to a key historic grouping of nineteenth-century structures that marks the northern edge of the expansion of Victoria's original Old Town. This block, bounded to the north by Pandora Avenue and to the south by Johnson Street, was once part of the course of the Johnson Street Ravine, a swamp that marked the boundary between the European business area to the south and Chinatown (now a National Historic Site) to the north. During the 1880s, the wooden shacks on the north side of the ravine were replaced with utilitarian commercial blocks housing Chinese businesses, spurred by the dramatic increase in the local Chinese population after the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed. The announcement of the land grant to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway in 1883, and its completion in 1888, sparked a construction boom in Victoria of stores and hotels around the terminus at the west foot of Pandora Avenue. The south side of the block was filled with more elaborate buildings such as hotels and commercial enterprises run by Europeans, illustrating the physical and cultural divide within the early city. Accessed by alleyways cut through the buildings, the large open space in the centre of the block remains as a significant representation of the interconnected network of courtyards and alleyways in Old Town, that provided service areas and access which were important to the commercial functions of these buildings.
Originally built in 1883 as an extension to the Grand Pacific Hotel, this building is significant for its association with its original owner, Giacomo Bossi (1831-1893), a prominent landowner in early Victoria. Bossi was representative of the Italian merchants who arrived in Victoria with the development boom in the late nineteenth century. Upon arriving in Victoria, Giacomo Bossi and his brother, Carlo, opened several stores and hotels and also supplied a small network of Italian merchants and shopkeepers in the Interior of British Columbia. When constructed, the building featured hotel rooms on the second floor and retail stores at the street level. By the turn of the twentieth century, the building was used by Scott and Peden, Ltd. as a commercial warehouse for their feed and grain business, and still retains the painted signage from that business. The Peden family was prominent in Victoria, and one of its members, William 'Torchy' Peden, was famous as Canada's greatest cyclist and a 1928 Olympic competitor.
The property is of additional heritage value for its late nineteenth century architecture. It was designed to complement the Victorian Italianate-style Grand Pacific Hotel, and included identical features to unite the two buildings, such as the projecting window hoods with keystones and a wooden cornice supported by paired brackets.
Additionally, this building represents Market Square's role in the modern revitalization of Victoria's historic downtown core. In the 1970s, Sam Bawlf and his brother, architect Nick Bawlf, pioneered private sector revitalization in Victoria by creating Market Square, a half-block of contiguous rehabilitated heritage buildings that framed a partly covered central courtyard, housing a vibrant urban environment with boutiques, restaurants, offices, and performance space. Seeking to reactivate Victoria's depressed downtown core with this massive project, the Bawlfs balanced urban revitalization with heritage conservation. The preservation of the open space in the central courtyard is a key feature that recalls the integral role of these secondary spaces in Victoria's commercial activities.
Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Scott and Peden Building include its:
- location within Market Square and the historic streetscape of Store Street, set flush to the front and side property lines with other contemporaneous buildings and a contiguous rear courtyard space, on an east-sloping lot that exposes the lower level at the rear
- continuous commercial and retail use
- commercial form, scale and massing as expressed through its two-storey plus lower level height, symmetrical rectangular plan, basement areaways and flat roof
- masonry construction, including: structural front, side and rear brick walls; flush-struck mortar joints on the front wall; timber internal frame; granite door thresholds; and rubble-stone foundations
- Victorian Italianate-style features, such as segmental arched, second-storey front facade windows with ornamental window hoods and keystones, and a projecting wooden cornice supported by paired scroll-cut brackets
- additional exterior details including: a historic, painted 'Scott and Peden' sign on the upper part of the front façade and brick piers separating the storefront windows
- fenestration, such as: rectangular storefront openings; and segmental arched double-hung 2-over-2 wooden sash windows with window horns on the front and rear elevations
- elements of the 1970s rehabilitation, such as the rear decks, openings into the rear courtyard from the front street, and stairways to upper floors