Downtown Victoria Tour
Wharf Street – 1200 Block
This building at 1215-1221 Wharf Street was built in 1892 for James Yates, a major property owner in 19th century Victoria. It is a City of Victoria Heritage Building and was listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Here is a map showing the location of 1215-1221 Wharf Street:
Additional Information About 1215-1221 Wharf Street
This building is legally consolidated with the adjacent building at 503 Yates Street.
- Assessed Value (July 2017): $5,096,000; Land $3,508,000 Buildings $1,588,000
- Assessed Value (July 2016): $4,589,000; Land $3,336,000 Buildings $1,253,000
- Assessed Value (July 2015): $4,401,000; Land $2,875,000 Buildings $1,526,000
- Assessed Value (July 2014): $4,398,000; Land $2,717,000 Buildings $1,681,000
- Canadian Register of Historic Places – this building was listed in 1995.
A Brief History of 1215-1221 Wharf Street
Here are some links to historic photos of 1215-1229 Wharf Street:
- BC Archives photo H-02671 – circa 1910, showing the Ship Inn Saloon, 1217 Wharf Street, in the background.
- BC Archives photo I-01834 – 1947. Photographer: Duncan Macphail
- BC Archives photo I-02227 – interior of 1221 Wharf Street, 1950. Photographer: Duncan Macphail
This building at 1215-1221 Wharf Street was built in 1892 for James Yates, a major property owner in 19th century Victoria. Apart from this frontage on Wharf Street, it also included a small brick warehouse which still fronts onto Commercial Alley, which runs between Yates Street and Bastion Square immediately behind this building. The architect who designed this building is believed to have been John Teague, although that cannot be stated with certainty. John Teague is known to have designed 1244-1252 Wharf Street -just across Wharf Street to the north – for James Yates in 1882.
The building’s occupancy history shows the development of this area.
In the 1890’s this area was a retail and entertainment district. This building’ occupants included the Ship Inn Saloon, which stayed in this building until about 1920. By 1912 the Ship Inn was sharing its space at 1217 Wharf Street with the Spezia & Stallone restaurant. Another early business in this building was Loewenberg & Co. which also acted as the German Consulate and whose owner, Carl Loewenberg, served as German Consul for Victoria. A moving company, Joseph Heaney, trucks and drays, was based at 1219 Wharf Street.
Joseph Heaney’s business reflected what this area became over the next half century, a warehouse and light industrial district. Margison Brothers Printers moved into the store at 1221 Wharf Street and stayed until the 1950’s. The shop spaces at 1217 Wharf Street and 1219 Wharf Street were occupied by businesses like the Central Transfer Company, Clifford Wire Works, R. Rudolph upholstery and Denby Brothers wholesale leather.
In the 1940’s the Canadian government rented storage space in the building. In the 1950’s G.H. Wheaton, general contractors, moved into 1217 Wharf Street and stayed until the 1980’s. Until the ear;ly 1970’s the other occupants of the building were typically warehouse operations, including Imperial Tobacco’s warehouse and Major Appliances & Refrigeration, an appliance distributor.
But by In the early 1970’s, this area started to change from a warehouse and light industrial district to the retail, office and entertainment district that it is today. The occupants of this building reflected that change.
1215-1229 Wharf Street in now legally consolidated with the adjacent building to the north at 503 Yates Street.
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