Downtown Victoria Tour
Blanshard Street – 1300 Block
1320-1324 Blanshard Street
1320-1324 Blanshard Street was built in 1912 by architect Thomas Hooper for Max Leiser, who used it as the Kaiserhof Hotel. This building was listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Although this building was originally designed as a hotel, it has been configured since the early 1940’s as apartments on the upper three floors with a restaurant on the main, or street, level. The restaurant currently occupied the main floor of this historic building is the Shine Cafe.
Here is a map showing the location of 1320-1324 Blanshard Street.
Additional Information On 1320-1324 Blanshard Street
- Assessed Value (July 2016): $1,973,000; Land $513,000 Buildings $1.460,000
- Assessed Value (July 2015): $1,803,000; Land $442,000 Buildings $1.361,000
- Assessed Value (July 2014): $1,814,000; Land $418,000 Buildings $1.396,000
- Canadian Register of Historic Places – listed in 1995
A Brief History of 1320-1324 Blanshard Street
From an architectural view, this building is noted for Thomas Hooper‘s use of terra cotta along with alternating bands of cream glazed block cladding and tan brick used to give a strong horizontal emphasis on the base, and then used again on the upper three floors to create a contrasting vertical emphasis. Alternating brick and terra cotta are also used on the arches which outline the main floor entrances.
Max Leiser was a German immigrant and the Hotel Kaiserhof had a distinctly German theme, complete with a fenced in beer garden.
The First World War brought an end to that. In May 1915, following the sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, an anti-German mob rampaged through downtown Victoria attacking anything, and anyone, considered German. The Hotel Kaiserhof, with its unquestionably German name and fittings, was attacked and looted. So were other Leiser family business properties, including the Simon Leiser warehouse at 524 Yates Street.
Given the prevailing anti-German mood of the time, the Hotel Kaiserhof was renamed the Blanshard Hotel. By 1918 the name had been changed again, to the Cecil Hotel.
It remained the Cecil Hotel until the early 1940’s, when the building was converted into the Kent Apartments, with apartments on the upper three floors and a restaurant – at the time of the building’s conversion to apartments in the 1940’s, the restaurant was called the Kent Restaurant – on the main, or street, level.
The building is still maintained in this configuration today. Over the years, there have been several restaurants on the main level. One long running and popular establishment was the Demitasse Cafe, which opened here in the 1980’s and operated in this building for over two decades.
The current restaurant in this building is the Shine Cafe.
This building was listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Here are links to some historical photographs of 1320-1324 Blanshard Street
- BC Archives Photo A-02709– mob ouside the Hotel Kaiserhof on 8 May 1915
- BC Archives Photo A-06826 – damage to the Hotel Kaiserhof bar after May 1915 riot
- BC Archives Photo C-07552 – damage to the Hotel Kaiserhof bar after May 1915 riot
- BC Archives Photo C-07533 – police stationed outside the Hotel Kaiserhof after May 1915 riot
- BC Archives Photo F-00012 – the Cecil Hotel circa 1934
- BC Archives Photo A-06488 – the Cecil Hotel circa 1935
- BC Archives Photo A-06489 – the Cecil Hotel circa 1935
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