When it first opened in 1951, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibited art in the historic 1889 mansion that is now adjacent to its seven modern galleries. With almost 20,000 works of art, the Art Gallery has the largest public collection in BC and is a vibrant and active part of Victoria’s artist community.
The Victorian Mansion
Designed by William Ridgeway Wilson, the Spencer Mansion was built in 1889. The property originally stretched from Fort Street to Rockland Avenue and incorporated formal gardens, two tennis courts, stables and a coach house. The crowning feature, the belvedere, commands an inspiring view of the ocean. The Mansion was donated in 1951 by Miss Sarah Spencer to become the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Today the Mansion houses The Gallery Shop and Art Rental & Sales as well as administrative offices on the 2nd floor. The Gallery Shop features handmade pottery, jewelry, scarves and other beautiful crafts by local artisans. Through Art Rental & Sales, individuals or businesses can purchase art or rent it for a low monthly fee. This program represents and financially supports artists in the community, while helping to raise funds for the Gallery. The Mansion can also be rented for meetings, weddings or special occasions. In the summer of 2004, the heritage mansion was repainted to reflect the original Queen Anne style colours.