Downtown Victoria Tour

Wharf Street – 1000 Block

1002 Wharf Street – the Customs House

The Customs House at 1002 Wharf Street was built in 1874-1875 by the Federal Department of Public Works as the offices for the Collector of Customs. At that time, Victoria was a major west coast sea port and the Customs House was sited on the Inner Harbour waterfront to deal with sea borne trade coming into Victoria harbour. The building originally had a roof top viewing deck to observe shipping movements in Victoria harbour.

The Customs House is a City of Victoria Heritage Building and was also placed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is now an office building.

 

The Customs House, 1002 Wharf Street, built in 1874-75. (photo by Victoria Online Sightseeing)

Here’s a map showing the location of 1002 Wharf Street.

Architecturally, the Customs House is notable for its Second Empire design with its Mansard roof. This was common in Thomas Seaton Scott‘s 19th century designs for the federal government but is fairly rare in Victoria. Another surviving 19th century example of Second Empire design in Victoria is 1124 Fort Street.

The Customs House, 1002 Wharf Street, built in 1874-75. (photo by Victoria Online Sightseeing)

Additional Information About 1002 Wharf Street

  • Assessed Value (July 2015): $2,180,000; Land $676,000 Buildings $1,504,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014): $2,160,000; Land $650,000 Buildings $1,510,000
  • Canadian Register of Historic Places – 1002 Wharf Street was listed in 1975

A Brief History of the Customs House, 1002 Wharf Street

The Customs House at 1002 Wharf Street was built in 1874-1875 by Thomas Seaton Scott (1826-1895), the Chief Architect of the Federal Department of Public Works, as the offices for the Collector of Customs. At that time, Victoria was a major west coast sea port and the Customs House was sited on the Inner Harbour waterfront to deal with sea borne trade coming into Victoria harbour. The building originally had a roof top viewing deck to observe shipping movements in Victoria harbour.

The Customs House staff also handled other federal government functions. There is an 1898 photograph of prospective gold miners lined up outside the Customs House to obtain licenses to mine for gold in the Klondike.

Here are some other historic photographs of the Customs House:

The Customs House is no longer a federal government building. It is now an office building, the primary occupants being lawyers’ offices.

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