I’m fascinated by early views of Victoria, especially those from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These three glass slides, each measuring 3.25″ x 3.25″, offer three unique perspectives of the city. Although they’re not dated I’ve determined they were taken in 1903 or 1904.
The slide shown in the upper left corner is a rare view of Victoria from the bow of a ship entering the Inner Harbour. The Customs House Building (1876) and the newly built General Post Office (1898) are both prominent buildings along Wharf Street. The Weiler Building, completed in 1899, can also be seen on Government Street.
The third slide, shown on the right, offers a unique panorama of the city. I believe it may have been taken from the roof of the Driard Hotel looking north-west with Broad Street immediately below. The building in the foreground is the Williams Building, named after bookbinder R.T. Williams. In 1906 David Spencer purchased this building in order to expand his “Dry Goods Emporium”, then based in the Spencer’s Arcade building on Government Street. In October 1910, seven years after this photo was taken, a huge fire destroyed an entire city block including the Williams Building. The domed building in the right foreground, situated on Broad Street to the north of Trounce Alley, escaped the fire and exists to this day.