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Reid Block

1205-1213 Wharf Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1975/03/13

Exterior view of the Reid Block, February 2006; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2006
South and west elevations.
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Other Name(s)

Reid Block
Macdonald Block

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1862/01/01 to 1863/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Reid Block is a large, three-storey commercial building situated on Wharf Street, at the northwest corner of Bastion Square, facing the Inner Harbour waterway. It is characterized by its mansard-roofed third floor, small arched upper storey windows, and lack of decorative architectural elements.

Heritage Value

The Reid Block is valued for the contribution it makes to the continuity of the east side of Wharf Street, and as an early example of heritage building rehabilitation in Victoria.

The physical value of this building lies in its mass and form, and in its relationship to both Wharf Street and Bastion Square. Its long, five-bay facade fronting Wharf Street upholds the continuity of the street wall, a key characteristic of this unique commercial thoroughfare. Together with its contiguous neighbours, and the nearby collection of historic buildings on the other side of Bastion Square, the Reid Block illustrates the integrity of this part of the Inner Harbour Precinct as the critical link between shipping in the Inner Harbour and commercial endeavours on land.

Constructed as a warehouse for Hudson's Bay Company captain and Victoria Port Warden James Murray Reid in 1862-1863, this historic commercial building presently reveals little of its original decorative design. However, with its sparse detailing, stucco exterior, and third-storey mansard roof addition, it is an indicator of typical heritage building rehabilitation dating to the late 1970s. Furthermore, the significance of the relationship of this building to Bastion Square adds to its value, as it is representative of the role of downtown revitalization and rehabilitation in preserving Victoria's unique heritage character and historic streetscapes.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Reid Block include:
- Its prominent corner location, marking the western entrance to Bastion Square.
- Its physical relationship to both Wharf Street and Bastion Square.
- Its three-storey height.
- The contribution it makes, by way of its massing and overall design, to the continuity of the commercial streetscape on the eastern side of Wharf Street.
- Surviving elements of its 1862-1863 construction, such as window and door openings on the ground floor and second storey, brick elements of exterior facades (now covered by stucco), cast-iron structural elements, upper-storey double-hung wooden-sash windows, and pilasters.
- Major elements of its 1979 rehabilitation, including the third storey mansard addition.



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)

1979/01/01 to 1979/01/01

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

Architect / Designer

Bawlf, Cooper and Associates



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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