Ocean Island Inn

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Ocean Island Inn
Victoria, BC - Ocean Island Inn - 791 Pandora Avenue - 01 (20590831941).jpg
The Main building
General information
Location 791 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 1N9
Coordinates 48°25′39″N 123°21′43″W / 48.42756°N 123.36202°W / 48.42756; -123.36202Coordinates: 48°25′39″N 123°21′43″W / 48.42756°N 123.36202°W / 48.42756; -123.36202
Opening 1891
Technical details
Floor count 4
Other information
Number of rooms 70
Number of restaurants 1
Number of bars 1
Parking Yes
Ocean Island Inn

Ocean Island Inn is a historic building in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; it is Vancouver Island's largest backpackers' inn.

Located at 791 Pandora Avenue in Downtown Victoria, it is a four-storey heritage building,[1] readily distinguishable by its Italianate architectural form and massing, and by its distinctive beveled corner.


Ocean Island Inn is one of the oldest large-scale commercial buildings of its era to survive in this part of Victoria’s downtown. Constructed in 1891 for Carlo Bossi, a prominent pioneer developer and landowner, it is important to the city's heritage because it is representative of the development patterns of the late nineteenth century, which saw the expansion of the City away from the commercial core and the waterfront. Designed as a hotel with commercial spaces at street level, it is significant that it has retained an element of its original function through a major 1944 renovation which converted it to war-time housing, and through to its present-day use as a backpacker's hostel.

Allied Hotel.jpg

Since 1891, it has been variously known as Osborne House, Pandora Hotel, Allies Hotel, Alexander Apartments, Solomon Apartments and Ocean Island Inn Backpackers Suites. It was called the Alexander Apartments during the 1980s and was purchased by Howie Siegel (through his construction company, Perma Construction) around 1990 and renamed the Solomon Apartments. Howie's team were responsible for commissioning the "Honeymooners" mural that graces the south side of the building. Subsequently, it became, and remains today, the Ocean Island Inn Backpackers Suites.

This building is on a corner lot and has entrances on both Blanshard St (Blanchard St prior to 1906) and Pandora Avenue. The street addresses have changed over time. After 1944 the building only has a Pandora address.

From British Columbia city directories archives, a brief history of the occupants:[2] 1892 - #86 Blanchard is "Bossi Block" - 3-story building constructed.

1893 to 1908: Osborne House Hotel, addressed as 82 or 86 Blanchard Street. Osborne Saloon entrance at 71 Pandora.

1906 - Victoria changes street addresses to new system

1908 - Osborne Hotel now listed as 1426 Blanshard, and Bishop & Dodge Cleaners are tenants at 1424 Blanshard

1909 - Pandora Hotel opens at 1424 Blanshard

1910 - Pandora Hotel now numbered 1420 Blanshard, 765 Pandora opens as the Pandora Saloon

1912 - Plumber John T Braden occupies ground floor at 1424 Blanshard, stays until 1944.

1917 - Saloon at 765 Pandora now vacant and hotel closed

1919 or 1920 - Hotel reopens as Allies Hotel, 765 Pandora (1420 Blanshard listed as Mrs. Lillian Walker)

1925 - Allies Hotel closed, building now owned by Mulholland J.

1935 - building primarily used as furniture/hardware store.

1944/1945 - Building is renovated and becomes a four-story apartment block.

1945 - #789-#795 Pandora is now "Alexander Apartments".

1946 - #791 Pandora - Alexander Apartments with four floors of tenants listed.

1989 - Howie Siegel's Perma Construction Ltd, purchases building at 791 Pandora and renames to Solomon Apartments.

early 2000's - building becomes the Ocean Island Backpackers Inn


Mural at the rear of the building

The south side of the building has a Trompe-l'œil of "The Honeymooners" – depicting two characters from the television show The Honeymooners – and a Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest mural painted by Robert Scott Dobie, a Vancouver Island-born artist.[3] The mural is 40' wide x 65' tall and is painted with acrylic resin on stucco.

See also


  1. ^ City of Victoria Inventory of Heritage Buildings, November 2008. Pg, 18
  2. ^ https://www.vpl.ca/bccd/index.php/browse/index
  3. ^ Art Wanted, Biography Robert Scott Dobie

External links

  • Official website
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