Downtown Victoria Tour
Government Street – 1700 Block
1713 Government Street – Yen Wo Society

This City of Victoria Heritage Building at 1713 Government Street was built in 1912 by architect Leonard W. Hargreaves for the Yen Wo Society.

It is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

1713 Government Street, the Yen Wo Society building. Built for the Yen Wo Society in 1912 by architect Leonard W. Hargreaves. (photo by Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours)

Here is a map showing the location of the Yen Wo Society building, 1713 Government Street:

Additional Information About the Yen Wo Society Building, 1713 Government Street

  • Assessed Value (July 2017): $1,292,900; Land $335,900 Buildings $957,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2016): $1,242,800; Land $319,600 Buildings $923,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015): $1,139,800; Land $275,800 Buildings $864,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014): $1,114,300; Land $260,300 Buildings $854,000
  • Canadian Register of Historic Places – formally recognized in 1995, listed in 2009

A Brief History of the Yen Wo Society Building, 1713 Government Street

This City of Victoria Heritage Building at 1713 Government Street was built in 1912 by architect Leonard W. Hargreaves for the Yen Wo Society, which still owns the building.

But the origins of the building go back to the 1870’s

In January 1877, Tsay Ching and Dong Bang, two Hakka natives, bought a narrow plot of land (subdivision No.7 of lots 602 and 603, measuring 20 feet wide and eighty feet long) from James Porter for $375, and established Tam Kung Temple on the site.

After the Yen Wo Society was formed, it took possession of the property in October 1911. In 1912, the old temple was demolished and replaced by this three-storey building.

The original building permit, issued to the Yen Wo Society by the City of Victoria in May 1912, described a “New brick building”, 4 storeys, 6 rooms, with an estimated construction cost of $9,500.

The ground floor was occupied by stores, the second floor by tenements, and the third by the Tam Kung Temple.

The building still retains that configuration.

The building is essentially Edwardian Classical, with Renaissance pilasters and cornices. However, it is readily identified as a Chinatown building by a flagpole, an English inscription of the association’s name above the cornice, a recessed balcony on the top floor, a bank of blind fretwork above the second storey windows, and English and Chinese bilingual signs at the street level.

It also has a cheater floor still intact.

The Yen Wo Society Building is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

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