Wharf Street 1881




Historical Background of Victoria

City Description

General Progress on Wharf Street

List of Wharf Street Businesses

Profiles of Business Owners

Building Profiles and Architecture





Rithet Building

The Rithet Building is comprised of three distinct structures and was named after later owner and local businessman R.P. Rithet. The block was built during the boom years of the gold rush from 1860 to 1865. In 1861, Robert Burnaby purchased a piece of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company on the west side of Wharf Street where he constructed a single storey brick warehouse. Over the next two decades two adjacent buildings were constructed and two additional storeys were added to the initial structure. The building that once housed Richard Carr’s wholesale firm is also a part of the Rithet complex. The current look of the buildings is much as they were in 1889.49

This row of buildings preserves the common frontage once popular among business districts in coastal towns. Moreover, this type of facade once symbolized the prosperity of the business sector. The decorative iron front could be ordered by catalogue from San Francisco or made locally using imported moulds.50

Since its construction, the building has served an assortment or owners and tenants. R.P. Rithet began his wholesale business in the building in 1871. Rithet also shared the space with the Dowell Moving and Storage Company from 1942 to 1948. In 1968, the buildings were purchased by the City of Victoria as part of their restoration project of Bastion Square. Since then the building has served as government and law offices as well as commercial space.51



Current Image of the Rithet Complex - 2003


Building that Housed Richard Carr's Wholesale Business - 2003