As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project section on Buildings Built By, Or For, Freemasons here is a page on the former Simon Leiser warehouse at 524 Yates Street in downtown Victoria, built in 1896.
524 Yates Street is a heritage building in downtown Victoria, B.C. It was converted to condominiums in 2011.
Simon Leiser was a member of Vancouver & Quadra Lodge, No.2 in Victoria.
He was a leading figure in Victoria and Vancouver Island business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Simon Leiser built this building in 1896 as the warehouse for his wholesale grocery business.
Here is a excerpt from the local newspaper reports of this building’s construction in 1896:
“absolutely fire-proof.. .and are thoroughly modern in all respects…The basement, which has a cement floor, is used for the storage of butter and other articles requiring an even temperature [and] is so ventilated that the atmosphere can be maintained at a low point even in the hottest of the dog days.
“The ground floor is conveniently divided into general offices, private office, cigar and tobacco rooms… The offices are neatly fitted up and are models as regards light and ventilation, the whole being heated with hot water…
“The large ware-room…is stacked high with all the various comestibles that go to make up the stock in trade of a wholesale grocer.
“The building is fitted with an electric freight elevator…To facilitate the handling of goods, on every floor a line of track runs from front to rear [to] the elevator itself which is fitted with a turntable, so that a loaded truck can be run in at either of the main entrances and transported to any part of the building and its cargo handled with a minimum expenditure of time and labor.”
After Simon Leiser‘s death in 1917 his wholesale grocery business was purchased by Kelly-Douglas Ltd.
The building later became government offices until it was converted to condominiums in 2011.
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