Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Famous Buildings in Victoria

The BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria were constructed in 1893 by a young 25 year old creative architect, Francis Rattenbury in honor of celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Even back then they dealt with construction over runs and controversy as the construction costs ballooned to just under 1 Million Dollars opposed to the $600,000 budgeted.

The Jewel of the Pacific. Cresting the Inner Harbour, the Empress Hotel was built in the Edwardian style and recently restored to its original grandeur. The Empress was originally designed by Francis Rattenbury, and opened in 1908.

Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889, just months before his majestic Craigdarroch Castle was completed. Although he arrived on Vancouver Island a poor coal miner, he built an empire and became the wealthiest and most influential man in British Columbia.

Robert’s son, James Dunsmuir commissioned Samuel Maclure, a Victorian architect, to design the "Castle", and Messrs. Brett and Hall, landscape artists of Boston, Massachusetts, to plan “Hatley Park. James is quoted as saying: "Money doesn't matter, just build what I want."

As the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians, Government House continues the long-standing tradition of honouring the contributions of our fellow British Columbians. The House contains the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the representative of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada. This glass gazebo and gardens are open to the public all year long.
Designed by architects Francis M. Rattenbury and Samuel Maclure Government House was completed in 1903, until it was razed by fire in April 1957. With the exception of the porte cochère, the House and contents were totally destroyed. Reconstruction was completed two years later.

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North American (after San Francisco's). During the Gold Rush, it was much larger, as half of Victoria's population was Chinese. The Gate of Harmonious Interest was built in 1981 as a gift from Suzhou, Victoria's sister city in China.

Last but not least, is David Butterfield’s Shoal Point Development across the water on Fisherman’s Wharf. Shoal Point is a high-density mixed-use commercial/residential building, with all features that point towards further systemic energy efficiencies.

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