Here is a map showing the location of the Yen Wo Society building, 1713 Government Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of 1713 Government Street:
Additional Information About the Yen Wo Society Building, 1713 Government Street
- Assessed Value (July 2018): $1,364,400; Land $342,400 Buildings $1,022,000
- 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
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.
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