Historic Buildings in Victoria BC
Following a large construction boom, it’s common to see brightly coloured cranes lining Victoria’s downtown skyline. Assisting in the construction of modern and gleaming highrises in the Downtown core, cranes mark the transition of old to new. Paying homage to history though are protected buildings earmarked as ‘heritage’ or, Municipal, National or Provincial Historic Sites.
Preserving history and adding flavour to architecture, here are some of the historic buildings to visit in Victoria, BC
Acting as the most major landmark in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the Parliament Buildings welcome all those who wander through downtown. Lit year-round, the buildings are home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Open for operation in 1898, the final construction cost (nearly $423,000 over budget) was $923,000. Hosting guided tours Monday through Friday, the Parliament Buildings welcome droves of visitors year-round.
Surrounded by beautiful green space and heritage gardens in the centre of downtown, St. Ann’s was built by the Roman Catholic women’s congregation of the Sisters of St. Ann of Lachine, Quebec in the late 1800s. Previously an all-girls Catholic school and convent, the building has been restored over the years, now playing hosts to numerous weddings and events. Visitors will enjoy manicured greenspace, gardens, ceiling carvings, gold leaf detailing, stained glass windows and more.
Home to 412 rooms and another landmark of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress is one of the oldest hotels in Victoria, BC. With a recent multi-million dollar renovation, the hotel’s interior exudes sophistication with Victorian detailing paired with a renewed modern contemporary flair. Not only offering incredible accommodations, but The Fairmont is also known for shopping and conventions, its spa, the Willow Stream, and it’s lounge and restaurant, The Q.
Today, Royal Roads is best known for offering progressive post-secondary education, but its origin (1908) was meant to provide a home for James Dunsmuir, a Canadian Prime Minister, followed by royalty, King George VI. Following the death of Dunsmuir, the property was sold to government and used as a military college, and then, in recent years, as an internationally renowned University. With lush grounds, a museum, a castle, scenic vistas and wild peacocks strolling about, Royal Roads is certainly worth a visit.
With stained glass windows, cavernous interiors, and rich exterior detailing Victoria’s cathedrals pay homage to the city’s past. In the downtown core alone, three prominent cathedrals are worth your attention. Built in the thirteenth century Gothic style, the initial sections of the Christ Church Cathedral were completed in 1929. The construction of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, inspired by European medieval architecture, began in 1890. And, the city’s first Cathedral, now known as St. Ann’s Academy, dates back to 1858.
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