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Ker Block

512 Fort Street, Victoria, Colombie-Britannique, Canada

Reconnu formellement en: 1995/01/19

Ker Block; City of Victoria, 2009
Front elevation, 2009
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Autre nom(s)


Liens et documents

Date(s) de construction


Inscrit au répertoire canadien: 2010/02/08

Énoncé d'importance

Description du lieu patrimonial

The Ker Block is a two-storey Edwardian era, brick commercial building located mid-block on Fort Street, between Wharf Street and Langley Street, near the Inner Harbour in Victoria’s historic Old Town. This building’s simple front façade consists of a large rectangular storefront, segmental-arched second floor window openings with exaggerated keystones, and second floor quoining. It is part of a grouping of smaller-scale buildings that line this block of Fort Street.

Valeur patrimoniale

Constructed in 1909, during the pre-World War One real estate boom, the Ker Block is valued as a reflection of the surge of development that characterized Victoria’s gateway economy. Prominent Victoria businessman David Russel Ker (1862-1923), president and manager of the Brackman-Ker Milling Company, built this block as an investment property during the upswing of the great economic boom of the Edwardian era. His successful milling business was formed when he partnered with Henry Brackman (circa 1832-1903) in 1881. Upon Brackman’s death in 1903, Ker took over leadership of the company and began an ambitious expansion throughout Western Canada.

The Ker Block is additionally significant as an example of the work of renowned architect Francis Mawson Rattenbury (1867-1935). After immigrating to Victoria in 1892, Rattenbury dominated the architectural profession in British Columbia. Only months after his arrival, at the age of 25, he won the design competition for the new Parliament Buildings in Victoria. Among his many other designs in Victoria are the Bank of Montreal, 1200 Government Street, 1897; the Law Chambers, 45 Bastion Square/1118 Langley Street, 1901, and the centre block of the Empress Hotel, 721 Government Street, 1904-08. Rattenbury also designed the Brackman-Ker Milling Company Warehouse, 1414-1420 Broad Street, in 1907. The design of this façade demonstrates Rattenbury’s familiarity with the Edwardian Baroque – also known as the Free Classic style – that was popular at the time throughout the British Empire. Recognizably British, it was a style based on Baroque precedents including the work of Sir Christopher Wren, and was inventively pursued by architects such as Sir Edwin Lutyens. Typical of this style, the classical elements are used in an eclectic manner, including the undersized quoins and the oversized keystones, expressed in contrasting polychromatic masonry reminiscent of London’s Westminster Cathedral (completed in 1903).

Source: City of Victoria Planning Department

Éléments caractéristiques

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ker Block include its:
- location on the north side of Fort Street, close to the Inner Harbour in Victoria’s historic Old Town
- continuous commercial use
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height built to the property lines, rectangular symmetrical plan, and flat roof
- masonry construction, including brick walls, stone sills and trim, and heavy timber internal structure
- Edwardian-era architectural details, such as its symmetrical design, front parapets with twin flagpoles, segmental-arched second-floor window openings with keystones, and quoining
- influence of the Edwardian Baroque style, including polychromatic masonry, and exaggerated scale of classical details




Autorité de reconnaissance

Administrations locales (C.-B.)

Loi habilitante

Local Government Act, art.954

Type de reconnaissance

Répertoire du patrimoine communautaire

Date de reconnaissance


Données sur l'histoire

Date(s) importantes


Thème - catégorie et type

Économies en développement
Commerce et affaires

Catégorie de fonction / Type de fonction


Commerce / Services commerciaux
Établissement de restauration ou de débit de boissons


Commerce / Services commerciaux
Bureau ou édifice à bureaux

Architecte / Concepteur

F.M. Rattenbury


Dinsdale & Malcolm

Informations supplémentaires

Emplacement de la documentation

City of Victoria Planning Department

Réfère à une collection

Identificateur féd./prov./terr.




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