The Victoria Block 312-322 W. Pender has been undergoing an extensive renovation and one of the delights of this ongoing work is the nice bit of restoration of the pediment and balcony balustrade metal work.
Many buildings in the city featured galvanized tin architectural decoration; it was cheaper and more versatile than stone. Much of it could be ordered from catalogues as well from local metal shops.
The Victoria Block dates from 1908 and was built by Adkison & Dill to the designs of architect William Frederick Gardiner. Gardiner had a thriving practice in Vancouver and in the immediate area he designed the Hartney Chambers on the opposite corner to the Victoria Block and to the west at 429-433 West Pender, the Hutchinson Block (Montgomery Hotel). The Hartney Chambers housed a variety of professional offices, including William Gardiner’s architectural office and the offices for the builders Adkison and Dill.
Gardiner left England with his brother Francis in 1907 for the booming City of Vancouver where the new firm immediately received a number of commissions. In 1911, Francis George Gardiner and his younger brother William F Gardiner merged practices with Andrew Lamb Mercer under the title of Gardiner & Mercer. Despite the partnership, William continued to keep a separate office and practice and left the partnership in 1913.
From the Northern Who’s Who:
WILLIAM FREDERICK GARDINER — Architect, 347 Pender St., Vancouver. Born Bath, England, May 4, 1884, son of Frederick William and Emma Gardiner. Educated Kingsholme College; took three years’ course in architecture. Practiced in his father’s office 1902. Came to British Columbia, 1907, and practiced Vancouver since. Member B. C. Architects’ Association; member Royal Colonial Institute of London, England. Clubs: New Westminster; Western; Country; Junior Constitutional (London); Union (Victoria). Conservative; Anglican.
Address:Balmoral Court, Pendrell and Thurlow Sts., Vancouver, B. C.