Heritage Tour: Victoria West

The sun came out from behind the clouds and we decided to grab our copy of This Old House and head over to Victoria West to look at the heritage homes in the neighbourhood. 
Vic West is one of the rapidly growing areas in the city that you can still wander through and find a character home on nearly every block. Defined in 1890, the neighbourhood borders the Selkirk Waterway and Esquimalt, and offers views of the working and Inner Harbour of Victoria. A truly diverse area, history shows that Vic West is where the wealthy and working class lived alongside one another in the early 1900's. 

We started out on Catherine St. near the Westside Village. Catherine St. t is a great place to start your heritage tour, with numerous eye-catching homes tucked around every corner. First up was 502 Catherine St. This impressive home stands tall and proud, showing off a grand staircase and second story balcony with attractive brackets and spindles. This home was built in 1892, for an estimated cost of $2,500.

Further down Catherine St. we took a short detour to 303 Langford St. This 1890 home features grand windows and an ornate entryway and side porch with spindled accents.

Next, we popped over to see two beautiful homes standing side by side – 340 & 350 Wilson St.340 Wilson St. is a home that was built in 1891, and has a pleasingly symmetric front presentation. The ½ storey above has a steel-pitched roof with a cupola at the peak and a dormer in front. The front porch is very welcoming and warm.350 Wilson St. predates its’ neighbour, being built in 1883. This home was restored in the early 1990s to better represent its original glory, which is truly something to see. The Queen Anne and Folk Victorian style is bright and inviting, with a wraparound porch and elaborate eaves brackets. This is one of the oldest remaining homes in Vic West!


Our next stop was at 1020 Catherine St., which is an 1899 Queen Anne style landmark. The fancy shingles, art-glass windows and porch detailing are truly lovely. 

A short distance down, we found 1116 Catherine St., which is an ornate cottage building in 1884. The sunburst decorations are a wonderful feature of this Queen Anne style home, making this modestly-sized home appear quite fanciful. 

There were many more homes that we walked past, notably ones on Robert St. close to Rainbow Park where we stopped to take in the views. This area of town is so interesting, as many buildings appear to be stuck in time, lovingly maintained from their construction over 120 years ago, existing beside new minimalist builds and even condominium buildings. This dichotomy is a perfect representation of Victoria itself – an old town with old town charm, stepping boldly forward into modern day. 

We also want to note that The Market Garden on Catherine St. is an absolutely incredible shop to wander through – never before have we seen such a variety of jarred spices, jams and jellies so lovingly displayed. Absolutely worth a visit!

Until next time, 
- Victoria Character Homes