Downtown Victoria Tour

Fort Street – 700 Block

738 Fort Street

738 Fort Street was built in 1910 as a warehouse for the Colbert Plumbing & Heating Company.

It has been used as retail space for most of the period since 1910.

732 Fort Street (left) and 734 Fort Street (right) (photo: Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours)

732 Fort Street (left) and 738 Fort Street (right) (photo: Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours)

Here is a map showing the location of 738 Fort Street:

Here is a Google Street View image of 738 Fort Street:

Additional Information About 738-742 Fort Street

  • Assessed Value (July 2018): $1,829,000; Land $875,000; Buildings $954,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2017): $1,695,000; Land $768,000; Buildings $927,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2016): $1,498,000; Land $730,000; Buildings $768,000

A Brief History of 738-742 Fort Street

738-742 Yates Street was built in 1910 as a warehouse for the Colbert Plumbing & Heating Company. The original building permit, issued to “Colbert P&H” by the City of Victoria in July 1910, describes a “new brick building, 2 storey, 2 room. Purpose: warehouse” with an estimated construction cost of $8,000.

The contemporary records do not say which architect(s) designed the building but, based on the second storey windows, we think it is possible that the building was designed by Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins. The style of the second storey windows on this building is very common on downtown Victoria buildings designed by Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins, including 911 Government Street, built in 1903; Rogers Chocolates, 913 Government Street, built in 1903; the Promis Block, 1006-1010 Government Street, built in 1906; The Bishop’s Residence, 740 View Street, built in 1909.

There were some initial delays in construction due to paving and other improvements on Fort Street which was taking place in 1909-1910. In July 1910 a local newspaper reported that:

“The Colbert Plumbing & Heating Company will commence work immediately on the erection of a two storey brick and concrete warehouse on the north side of Fort Street between Douglas and Blanchard streets [note: Blanshard Street was often spelled “Blanchard” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries], to cost $8,000. The excavation for the building has been completed for some time, but owing to the delay in the forwarding of the Fort Street improvement scheme, which has been before the city council for some months past, the city engineer was unable to give the necessary street lines and work on the new block was delayed. Now the street lines are available and work will proceed. Yesterday a permit for the new building was issued by the building inspector.”

Here are links to some historic photographs of 738-742 Yates Street:

Although it was built as a warehouse, this building has been used for retail stores for most of its lifetime. It is currently occupied by Russell Books.

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