Downtown Victoria Tour
Herald Street – 500 Block
532 Herald Street – the Biggerstaff
This building at 532 Herald Street was built circa 1909, possibly in conjunction with the adjacent building at 536 Herald Street.
It was originally designed and built by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins for Wilson Brothers, a wholesale grocery firm and was used as a grocery wholesaling facility for several decades. It has recently been re-developed into an apartment building, called The Biggerstaff, by Victoria developer Lefevre & Co. The Biggerstaff is named for Biggerstaff Wilson, one of the principals of Wilson Brothers.
Here is a map showing the location of 532 Herald Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of 532 Herald Street:
Additional Information About 532 Herald Street
- Assessed Value (July 2020): $9,651,000; Land $6,209,000 Buildings $3,442,000
- Assessed Value (July 2019): $10,283,000; Land $6,763,000 Buildings $3,520,000
- Assessed Value (July 2018): $8,080,000; Land $4,615,000 Buildings $3,465,000
- Assessed Value (July 2017): $6,637,000; Land $3,081,000 Buildings $3,556,000
- Assessed Value (July 2016): $5,978,000; Land $2,377,000 Buildings $3,601,000
- Assessed Value (July 2015): $5,559,000; Land $2,064,000 Buildings $3,495,000
- Assessed Value (July 2014): $5,237,000; Land $1,769,000 Buildings $3,468,000
A Brief History of 532 Herald Street
532 Herald Street was built for Wilson Brothers, a wholesale grocery company. We believe that 532 Herald Street was designed and built in 1908-09, in conjunction with the adjacent building at 536 Herald Street, in 1908-09 by architects Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins.
While this building and the adjacent structure at 536 Herald Street certainly appear to be part of the same design, the original building permit, issued by the City of Victoria to “B. Wilson” in November 1908, describes a “two storey”, 14 room building, to be used for “cold storage” with an estimated construction cost of $25,000.
The B. Wilson Company owned the adjacent structure at 536 Herald Street but its principal, Biggerstaff Wilson, also owned part of Wilson Brothers so it is quite possible that the two adjacent buildings were part of the same 1908 design by Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins. We are currently researching this further before we state conclusively that 532 Herald Street and 536 Herald Street were part of the same design.
Biggerstaff Wilson lived at 1770 Rockland Avenue, which he commissioned architect Samuel Maclure to design and build in 1905.
Wilson Brothers operated until until the 1920’s, when it was taken over by MacDonalds Consolidated, which continued to operate from this building as a wholesale grocery. until the 1960’s, when this building became a warehouse for Capital Iron, which is still in business at 1900 Store Street, one block northwest.
The building was vacant for extended periods in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
It has been re-developed by Victoria developer Lefevre & Co. into an apartment building called The Biggerstaff, named for Biggerstaff Wilson (died 1925), one of the owners of Wilson Brothers, which originally built this building.
Biggerstaff Wilson is also remembered for his home at 1770 Rockland Avenue, designed by renowned Victoria architect Samuel Maclure.
Here are links to some historic photos of 532 Herald Street:
- BC Archives photo I-00803 – MacDonalds Consolidated, 1942. Photographer: Duncan MacPhail
- BC Archives photo I-00804 – MacDonalds Consolidated, 1942. Photographer: Duncan MacPhail
- BC Archives photo I-00805 – MacDonalds Consolidated warehouse interior, 1942. Photographer: Duncan MacPhail
- BC Archives photo I-00806 – MacDonalds Consolidated warehouse interior, 1942. Photographer: Duncan MacPhail
- City of Victoria Archives photo M04207 – Marshall Wells, circa 1960
Biggerstaff Wilson‘s house, designed in 1905 by architect Samuel Maclure, is still standing at 1770 Rockland Avenue.
1770 Rockland Avenue, built in 1905 by architect Samuel Maclure for Richard Biggerstaff Wilson.
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