Victoria’s history began in the spring of 1778, as Captain James Cook became the first non-aboriginal man to set foot on what is now British Columbia, Canada. He landed on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and discovered that First Nations peoples were already living in the rugged yet pristine wilderness of the island.
Many aboriginal families lived on Southern Vancouver Island, each referred to themselves by distinct family group names. These First Nations peoples could be divided into three groups who spoke different dialects of the North Straits Salish or Lekwungaynung language, the groups became known as the Songhees, the Saanich and the Sooke First Nations peoples.
Victoria is Western Canada’s oldest city. The City’s history began in 1843, when James Douglas chose Victoria (then known as Camosack), as a Hudson Bay Company trading post. The post was eventually renamed Fort Victoria, in honour of Queen Victoria.
With the Fraser Valley gold rush in 1858, Victoria grew rapidly as the main port of entry to the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. In 1852, the name Victoria was adopted for the townsite that had rapidly developed around Fort Victoria, the townsite was incorporated as a city on August 2, 1862. When the colonies combined in 1866, the City became the colonial capital and was later established as the provincial capital when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871.
In the twentieth century, Victoria evolved as a city of government, retirement and tourism. The City remains, however, Canada’s western naval base and home to a major fishing fleet. Information Technology is now one of the largest industries in the city, and increasingly, the city is developing as a marine, forestry and agricultural research centre. The City is also noted for its fine educational institutions which include the University of Victoria, University Canada West, Camosun College and Royal Roads University.
Today with a growing regional population, a moderate climate and scenic setting, Victoria has retained a very vital but comfortable quality of life. The City is proud of its rich heritage, its historic and attractive downtown, the flowers and parks and, of course, its Inner Harbour with scenic vistas toward the famous Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings. Victoria also has its share of local myths and legends such as the Cadborosaurus and the Mermaid of Active Pass.
Quoted from www.tourismvictoria.com website.
Simon Leiser & Co., Wholesale Grocers, was the largest business of its kind in British Columbia when this warehouse was built. The building featured a central electrical elevator with tracks radiating from the elevator on each floor for ease of handling merchandise.
Designed by architect A.C. Ewart, the building cost $35,000 in 1896. The brick structure has stone dressings and sheet metal decoration. It was renovated in 1972 as the headquarters for the Capital Regional District.
The building was then graciously restored and converted to condominiums by LeFevre & Company in 2008 as open loft concept living, with a city zoning that permits live/work space, and vacation rental uses. The City of Victoria’s initiative in this regard was highly successful to encourage developers to restore and invigorate historic classed buildings with new life and use.