Downtown Victoria Tour
Herald Street – 500 Block
529-539 Herald Street – Hart’s Block
The Hart’s Block at 529-539 Herald Street was built in 1891 for Michael Hart, who used it as a carriage repair shop. About the same time, Micheal Hart also built the building at 532-536 Fisgard Street, one block directly south of the Hart’s Block.
529-539 Herald Street is a City of Victoria Heritage Building,
One curious feature of the Hart’s Block is that the Herald Street facade is asymmetrical. On the main floor, there is an extra door at the east side of the building which takes away the symmetry of the central door, carriage doors and windows. On the second floor, the window placement does not fit in with the main floor architectural details.
The photo below shows the south side of the Hart’s Block at 532-536 Fisgard Street.
Here is a map showing the location of 529-539 Herald Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of 529-539 Herald Street:
Additional Information About 529-539 Herald Street
Although the properties at 529-539 Herald Street and 532-536 Fisgard Street now appear to be one continuous structure, they are legally divided into three distinct and separate buildings, legally described as 531 Herald Street, 532 Fisgard Street and 12 strata units in the former Quan Yeun Yen building. at 532 1/2 Fisgard Street.
- Assessed Value (July 2018): $2,088,000; Land $1,562,000 Buildings $526,000
- Assessed Value (July 2017): $1,902,000; Land $1,358,000 Buildings $544,000
- Assessed Value (July 2016): $1,645,000; Land $1,085,000 Buildings $560,000
- Assessed Value (July 2015): $1,545,000; Land $993,000 Buildings $552,000
- Assessed Value (July 2014): $1,540,000; Land $990,000 Buildings $550,000
Some History of The Hart’s Block
The Hart’s Block was built in 1891 for Micheal Hart, who used it as a livery stable and carriage repair business. The two wider carriage doors to allow horses and carriages to enter and exit the building are still a primary architectural feature of the Herald Street facade.
At the time Micheal Hart built this building on Herald Street, he also built what is now the Heritage designated building at 532-536 Fisgard Street, on the north side of Fisgard Street, directly south of, and backing onto, the Hart’s Block. These two buildings are now connected by another Heritage building, the Quan Yeun Yen building, which was built in 1912 as tenements, but which is now condominiums.
There is now a common internal passageway called Blood Alley now connecting 532-536 Fisgard Street, the Quan Yeun Yen building and the Hart’s Block.
After November 1910, the Hart’s Block passed into the possession of Chinese business owners. It was used for various functions over the years, including laundries and a notorious brothel, which was run on the second floor circa 1920’s. One remaining feature of the second floor brothel was a partitioning of the rooms by two connecting closets, through which people could move between rooms without being seen in the main corridors.
Here are links to some historic photographs of 529-539 Herald Street:
- City of Victoria Archives photo M04210 – circa 1958
- City of Victoria Archives photo M01377 – 1968
- City of Victoria Archives photo M06259 – 1972
Would you like to leave a comment or question about anything on this page?