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1218 Wharf Street

1218 Wharf Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1975/03/13

Exterior view of 1218 Wharf Street, February 2006; City of Victoria, Berdine J. Jonker, 2006
East elevation
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Other Name(s)

1218 Wharf Street
Bravo Restaurant
Norwestra Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

1218 Wharf Street is a modest nineteenth-century vernacular brick and stone commercial warehouse located within Victoria's Inner Harbour Precinct. It is situated between Wharf Street and the Inner Harbour waterway, having one storey at street level, and four storeys facing the water. Its most distinctive elements include its random-rubble stone construction and its cast-iron columns, which extend out over the sidewalk almost to the street.

Heritage Value

1218 Wharf Street is valued for the elements of its original design, which are an invaluable part of Victoria's heritage. A good example of an early utilitarian, vernacular style commercial building, its key values lie in its random-rubble construction and in its unique cast iron storefront, which was the earliest of its type in the city and set the stylistic tone for subsequent commercial buildings nearby.

An interesting hybrid of historic and modern architecture, 1218 Wharf Street tells the story of Victoria's evolving commercial and architectural history. Rehabilitated in the 1970s, its additive form and composite design of brick and stone construction reflect how Victoria's early commercial trades and vernacular architectural forms laid a foundation for modern adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

Constructed for prominent local landowner and developer James Yates circa 1860, 1218 Wharf Street is valued as an important reflection of how Victoria's early businessmen established the city as the key urban and commercial hub of the province. Purportedly the first saloon and liquor warehouse in the city, it provides insight into the historic multi-faceted commercial use of the Inner Harbour, and contributes significantly to the sense of place of the historic streetscape comprised of other early warehouses and commercial buildings nearby.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of 1218 Wharf Street include:
- Its relationship to the waterfront.
- Its relationship to Wharf Street, and to other similar commercial buildings in the area.
- Its modest one-storey appearance at street level, and multi-storey massing of its waterfront facade.
- The contribution it makes to the streetscape, adding to the continuity of the historic streetwall of one of the Victoria's most significant commercial streets.
- The nineteenth-century vernacular architectural character and detailing, seen in such elements as original stonework and cast iron structural elements.
- Surviving elements of its original storefront facade, which extend almost to the street, including cast-iron columns.
- Original window and door openings relevant to its circa 1860 design.
- Its composite form made up of a combination of historic stonework and modern brick masonry, especially in its unique open street front facade.



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

Architect / Designer




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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