Downtown Victoria Tour
Yates Street – 700 Block

794 Yates Street – the Carnegie Building

The Carnegie Library was built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, which funded the construction of hundreds of public library buildings throughout North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Victoria’s Carnegie Library was listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1979. The former Carnegie Library is now an office building, with space rented to commercial and institutional tenants.

The Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street. Built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.

The Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street. Built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.

The Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street. Built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.

The Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street. Built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.

Additional Information About the Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street

The former Carnegie Library at 794 Yates Street is now legally consolidated with the adjacent, and attached, building at 1312 Blanshard Street. The assessment information below is for both buildings.

  • Assessed Value (July 2016): $4,608,000; Land $2,083,000 Buildings $2,525,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015): $4,033,000; Land $1,506,000 Buildings $2,527,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014): $3,971,000; Land $1,379,000 Buildings $2,592,000
  • Canadian Register of Historic Places – listed in 1979.
  • 1312 Blanshard Street, commercial leasing information

A Brief History of the Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street

Here are links to some historic photos of the Carnegie Library:

The Carnegie Library was built in 1904 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, which funded the construction of hundreds of library buildings throughout North America. The construction cost was estimated at $54,000.

The Carnegie Library opened in January 1906 and operated in this building until 1949. In November 1949, the City of Victoria approved plans for a four storey addition attached to the rear of the Carnegie Library building. In December 1949, a referendum approved $350,000 to fund the construction of the library addition, which opened to the public in October 1951. This addition is at 1312 Blanshard Street, attached to the rear of the original Carnegie Library.

Victoria’s Carnegie Library was listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1979.

In the 1980’s the Carnegie Library was sold to a credit union, which used it as a downtown Victoria branch office. The Victoria Public Library then moved to its current location at 735 Broughton Street.

In 1984 the Heritage Canada Foundation awarded Westcoast Savings Credit Union its National Award of Honour for renovations to the Carnegie Library building.

The former Carnegie Library at 794 Yates Street and the 1950-1951 addition at 1312 Blanshard Street are now legally consolidated as a single office building, with space rented to commercial and institutional tenants.

Exterior decorative detail, possibly representing the Cheshire Cat, on the stair railing of the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

Exterior decorative detail, possibly representing the Cheshire Cat, on the stair railing of the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

Exterior decorative detail on the stair railing of the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

Exterior decorative detail on the stair railing of the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

Exterior decorative detail on the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

Exterior decorative detail on the Yates Street entrance of the former Carnegie Library, 794 Yates Street.

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