We’re back to focusing on local architecture today, and for this shoot I really wanted to do something different.  Both buildings posted today have been shot countless times at night, with breathtaking results to be sure.  At night both locations are gently lit, creating a true sensation of being back in a much older time.  But, these shots have been done, and have been done well.  I really wanted to focus on the architecture of these great local buildings.

The Empress Hotel - Victoria BC Canada

The Empress Hotel - Victoria BC Canada

Welcome to the Empress Hotel.  This local icon of Victoria is one of our most famous locations.  We’ve had the Queen and other factions of the Royal Family stay here, as well as countless famous folks.  Rumor has it that Barbara Streisand has stayed here in the summer before, but because of the age of the building the installation of air conditioning is almost impossible.  Word was with Barbara’s visit, she got very upset at the lack of A/C and left the facility in favor of a more modern hotel that indeed did have air conditioning.

High Tea at Noon is a well-known past-time for the Empress.  Once you enter this wonderful icon, you are immediately enveloped in a sense of being back in England in the 1800’s.  Tea service is distinctly crafted to ensure a feel of authentic English afternoon tea.  Most afternoons find the tea room absolutely filled with local’s and sometimes a bit of a wait is necessary even in the off-season.  Victoria is populated with many folks who originated from England, and our entire local downtown area was carefully and purposefully designed to mimic the distinct feel of London.

This hotel is built on a man-made berm.  Photos from just before and during construction show that this portion of the inner harbor had to be filled in to accommodate the new structure; the Empress sits on what was previously wide open ocean.  It just goes to show that even 100 years ago, building engineers knew how to problem solve.

There is an underground parking lot to the hotel.  Rumor has it that there is an entrance-way to an underground series of catacombs with some of the channels leading out to sea; I understand this is intended to provide a form of ebb and flow for the ocean underneath the hotel itself.  Rumor also has it that some of these tunnels take you to underground areas below Chinatown.

This entire area of Victoria is one of the oldest areas and is full of mysteries.  There are many more rumors as well, and it’s difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t, but in reality it all adds to the overall mystique.

Legislature Building - Victoria BC Canada

Legislature Building - Victoria BC Canada

This is the iconic Legislature Building.  Located kitty-corner to the Empress, this once again is one of the oldest buildings in Victoria.  Victoria, BC is the capital city of our province, and this is where our provincial government sits and does it governmental duties.  I absolutely love this building with its marvelous stone-work and the green roof tops.  A very regal structure, its large footprint and grounds takes up a few square city blocks.  I hope to return as the weather improves and take a more detailed look at this building, taking you around the sides and back to explore some of the wonderful details that make it a true heritage building in our city.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed these images today, and as always we encourage you to leave a comment as we really love to hear from our visitors!  Thanks for your support and visit today.




  1. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Wow, those are some cool building. If the Toad is doing tea in those fine place, he has certainly moved up in the social ranks. Fantastic work once again Toad!

  2. avatar Jerry Denham says:

    Love old authentic architecture like this Toad. Your shots show them off very well, too.

    • Thank you Jerry, that’s awesome of you to say. As you know, these sorts of architectural studies are bigger than me, they are my favorite shoots to do for sure. Thanks for popping by and leaving such great comments my friend!

  3. avatar Mike Criss says:

    Very cool shots. Interesting history too.

  4. avatar Steve Beal says:

    Really cool buildings! Looking forward to your close-up images hopefully coming soon!

    • You rock, big time, Steve!!! Really means the world to me to see you pop by and leave great comments like this! I really hope to get a chance to get back soon, as you mentioned. The weather reports are positive for the upcoming bit here, so our chances improve. I pulled our convertible Corvette out this week and been driving her again; a sure sign spring is here! 🙂

  5. nice building shots, looking forward to seeing more from this set 🙂

  6. What a neat contrast to your usual fare. Nice job.

  7. Awesome shots. Their tea better than our, everyday individual, tea?

    • I don’t think so, my friend, but I’ll bet it’s more expensive! It’s a big English tradition to have “cucumber sandwiches and tea and sweets” in the afternoon. I think it’s a tradition that hearkens back to a much older time. Really appreciate your visit and comments today my friend!!

  8. Both of these are great shots Toad! I love that hotel! Actually I love any kind of old building. They truly make great subjects. Have you been inside there to take any pictures yet? I bet it is amazing inside.