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The Ship Point site is located to the west of Wharf Street, extending south roughly 120m from the historic Dominion Customs House along the shoreline below Wharf St. and includes city lots 940, 946 and 1000. The site is now a parking lot which also gives vehicle and pedestrian access to the Harbour Air terminal, the Inner Harbour and the start of the Gorge Waterway. Historically Victoria’s harbour was a 'working harbour', with heavy industry, fishing fleets, transportation, cargo and other marine dependant industries. This site embodied these uses throughout its history, focusing mainly on the movement and storage of materials and the production and storage of cement, industries that drove the development of the harbour, Victoria and Vancouver Island. The historic Inner Harbour Precinct, including the Ship Point site, embodies the wholesale supply and trade networks which fuelled the development and maintenance of the mines, logging camps and salmon canneries which drove the early economy in the province. Ships in the harbour doing business with these mercantile buildings would have been moored with shore ties as evidenced in the iron ring still in place in the shoreline rocks. This section of Wharf St. would also have played host to the thousands of prospectors lined up at Customs House, located at the North end of the site, waiting their chance at heading to the Fraser River and Klondike gold fields in the late 1800's. The history specific to Ship Point begins in 1874 with the construction of the Dominion Customs House located at the extreme northern end of the site. Designed by Thomas Seaton Scott, a Federal Works Department architect, the Customs House was built on a prominent piece of land just south of the spot where the Hudson Bay Company had established Fort Victoria in 1843. The Custom House gained it's nickname, the Malahat Building, from the HMCS Malahat organization which occupied it from 1954 to 1964. Early photographs and fire insurance maps show that the site was bare to the south of the Customs House, with a few very small buildings along the shoreline ending in the Victoria Dock Co. wharf and warehouse at the southern end. Between 1903 and 1911 this shoreline was developed to include the Evans Coleman and Evans wharves, freight shed and warehouse and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway freight shed. In 1909 the Grand Trunk Pacific offered freight and steamship service between Prince Rupert, its Pacific terminus, and the southern cities of Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. The building and wharf on the site would have housed goods transported between these cities and was in operation until at least 1915, when the now bankrupt company was bought out to create the Canadian National Railway. The primary use of the site has been the production and storage of cement beginning with Evans, Coleman and Evans in 1913, after they got out of the freight business. The first cement production in Victoria came in the early 1900's courtesy of Robert Butchart at Todd Inlet and subsequently in 1912, from the Portland Cement Construction Company of London, managed locally by Mr. H.K.G. Bamber. Both were drawn to Victoria because of the rich deposits of limestone. In the early part of the century, Victoria was the Portland cement supplier for much of the Pacific Northwest. By 1947, the company had changed names to Evans, Coleman and Johnson, and expanded North up the Gorge waterway at the site of the present Lafarge plant site and merging with Ocean Cement sometime after this. Ocean Cement merged with the BC Cement Company in 1957, becoming the largest cement producer in the Pacific Northwest, producing 8 million bags of cement a year. The Ship Point site continued to produce, ship and store cement until 1971, when the demolition of the buildings on the site was approved by Victoria's city council. The site was fully cleared in 1974 by the Oliver Equipment Service and Supply Co. and several plans were submitted to city council, one of which was by prominent architect Arthur Erickson. The Ship Point site along Wharf Street, in the historic Inner Harbour precinct of Victoria, has been a hub of commerce and industry since the late 1800's, and its primary use has been the production, shipping and storage of cement until its demolition and clearing in 1974. In the course of the research for this project no major accidents, spills or incidents were noted in the historical records pertaining to the site. The photographic record also supports this and several photos seem to show that the debris from the demolition of the cement works could have been used for the fill which sits under the current parking lot on the site. With its prominent location within Victoria's historic Inner Harbour Precinct, this site has the potential to be developed in such a way that will enhance the city and area while reminding visitors of its working past. Appendix 1 Fire Insurance Map Information 1903 From Broughton St. (Customs House) running South: - Wharf extending out from Customs House with 5 one storey buildings - Blank shoreline with several small buildings above original shoreline - Victoria Dock Co., Wharf and warehouse 1911 From Broughton St. (Customs House) running South: - Government Offices (Customs House) and wharf with several small buildings - Evans Coleman and Evans 'Pier A' Freight Shed - G.rand Trunk.Pacific Railway Freight Shed 'Pier B and C' - Evans Coleman and Evans 'Pier D' Wharf and warehouse 1949 From Broughton St. (Customs House) running South: - HMCS Malahat/Storage (Customs House) Office of Dept. Of Marine - Department of Public Works access - Several small buildings on wharf - Evans Coleman and Johnson: Cement Storage Warehouse and Wharf - Foot of Courtney St. - 2 Bunkers, one is two stories - 1 Machine Storage - Evans Coleman and Johnson: Warehouse and Wharf - Offices - Reinforced concrete sand and gravel bunkers - Freight sheds 1957 From Broughton St. (Customs House) running South: - Office of Dept. of Marine (Customs House) - Department of Public Works access - Several small buildings on wharf - Evans Coleman and Johnson: Cement Storage Warehouse and Wharf - Foot of Courtney St. - 2 Bunkers, one is two stories - 1 Machine Storage - Evans Coleman and Johnson Warehouse and Wharf - Offices - Reinforced concrete sand and gravel bunkers - Freight sheds
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