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Finlayson Building

1202-1214 Wharf Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1975/03/13

Exterior view of the Finlayson Building, Wharf Street elevation, February, 2006.; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2006
East elevation
Exterior view of the Finlayson Building, February 2006; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2006
West elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

Finlayson Building
Hartwig Court

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Finlayson Building is a massive fieldstone and brick structure located on the western side of Wharf Street. It has the appearance of one storey at street level, and three storeys at rear.

Heritage Value

The Finlayson Building (1882) is valued as a hybrid of historic and modern architecture, which tells the story Victoria's evolving commercial and architectural history. Having supported a continuum of business activities ranging from nineteenth-century ship chandlers and provisioners to modern offices and restaurants, it speaks to the enduring commercial strength of the Inner Harbour. Its additive form and composite design, seen in its combined brick and stone construction, reflect how Victoria's early commercial trades laid a foundation for today's adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

Architecturally, it possesses both historic and modern elements which are of value to Victoria's heritage. It is one of the finest and largest examples of fieldstone construction still standing in Victoria, reflecting the utilitarian, vernacular style of the early warehouse trade in this area. Elements such as a completely hollowed-out bay and heavy-timbered galleries illustrate its innovative mid-1970s renovation and reflect the ideals of the early downtown revitalization movement.

The Finlayson Building also possesses heritage value as an example of the early large-scale warehouse buildings which once lined this side of Wharf Street. Much like the now-demolished 1858 Hudson's Bay Company warehouse which stood next door, its form makes maximum use of its exposure to both Wharf Street and the Inner Harbour waterway. It retains the character of this area as Victoria's most important early transshipment point. Constructed for prominent early politician and developer, Roderick Finlayson, this historic building is also a testament to the influence of successful businessmen in the establishment of Victoria as the key urban and commercial hub of the province in the late nineteenth century.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Finlayson Building include:
- Its location within the Inner Harbour Precinct, and its relationship to both Wharf Street and the waterfront.
- Unobstructed views between the building and the water.
- Evidence of its original 1882 form, which makes maximum use of the topography.
- Its composite form, seen in its combined brick and stone construction.
- Surviving elements of its nineteenth century design, such as window and door openings.
- The character of surviving nineteenth-century stonework.
- The character of surviving nineteenth-century brickwork.
- Elements of its 1970s renovation which contribute to its heritage value, such as the hollowed-out bay on Wharf Street, upper recessed storey, and heavy-timbering.
- Its mixed commercial use, and storefronts along Wharf Street.
- Stone remnants of the Hudson's Bay Company warehouse which make up the southern end of the building.



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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

H.O. Tiedemann



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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