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731 Vancouver Street

731 Vancouver Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1977/01/27

Exterior view of 731 Vancouver Street; City of Victoria, 2007
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Elizabeth O.S. Schofield House
731 Vancouver Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/03/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

731 Vancouver Street is a two-and-a-half storey wood frame Italianate residence, part of a grouping of similar heritage homes in the heart of Victoria's Fairfield neighbourhood.

Heritage Value

The historic place, built in 1892, has value for its architecture, how its construction illustrates foreign investment and speculative housing in the late nineteenth century, for its architect, and for its reflection of the emerging heritage movement in the 1970s.

731 Vancouver Street has heritage value as one of six extant examples of eight adjacent houses built at the end of the nineteenth century for British investor Hedley Chapman. The B.C. Land and Investment Agency, who at one time owned or controlled half the real estate in Victoria, acted as agents and arranged for the construction of the houses by contractors Bishop and Sherborne. In 1908, the property was subdivided into six lots, two houses were moved further down Vancouver Street, and the remaining six houses were sold. This cluster clearly illustrates the early speculative rental market, a trend begun in Victoria's early building boom.

All the houses are identical in size and layout but have subtle differences in architectural embellishments. The Italianate styling reflects the architectural tastes of the late 19th century, and these examples are more modest expressions of the villas owned by more affluent owners. The occupations of early residents reflects the growth of the middle class. This building was rented by Ethelbert Schofield who became the provincial librarian and the provincial archivist. He and his family lived in the house for several years.

The property is also valued as an example of modest domestic architecture by architect John Teague, better known for larger, institutional commissions in the City such as Victoria City Hall, the Church of Our Lord, and the Masonic Temple. That he was most comfortable with the Italianate idiom in residential architecture is evident both in these examples and his larger commissions for Victoria's elite.

This cluster of houses is valued by the Fairfield neighbourhood. In 1977, the City, responding to a Fairfield Community Association request, designated five of the six remaining buildings: today, they serve as a reminder of the emerging heritage program in Victoria at that time.

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage character of 731 Vancouver Street is defined by the following elements:
- characteristics of the Italianate style, including deeply overhanging eaves with ornamental brackets, wooden arcaded porch, double-storey box bay windows, prominent front entrance with wood stairs, decorative bargeboards, and bands of fish-scale shingles
- eyebrow window in peak of gable
- form and pattern of fenestration
- relationship between this house and the rest of the cluster
- uniformity of setbacks, building height, and mass throughout the cluster



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

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

John Teague



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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