231 Government Street, built in 1929 as an automobile dealership for Thomas Pitt
231 Government Street, built in 1929 by architect Douglas James as an automobile dealership for Thomas Pitt

The building at 231 Government Street (at the corner of Government Street and Jubilee Street) is currently occupied by Magnolia Fashions, but it was originally built in 1929 for an automobile dealership.

Additional Information on 211 Craig Street

  • Assessed Value (July 2015): $331,000; Land – $155,000, Buildings – $176,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014): $331,000; Land – $155,000, Buildings – $176,000

Some History of 231 Government Street

This building was designed and built in 1929 by architect Douglas James for Thomas Pitt (1870-1937) as a business premises for his garage and automobile dealership. Unfortunately, the Great Depression struck soon after Thomas Pitt opened this car dealership and the business failed, leaving the once prosperous Thomas Pitt in very reduced financial circumstances.

This building was designed and built for Thomas Pitt in 1929 by architect Douglas James, who lived in Duncan at the time but later became better known for his work in Victoria. This building was originally designed as an Art Deco structure but many of the Art Deco elements have been obscured by later renovations. Note, for example, the arches above the doors and windows; these were originally arched cleristory windows which have since been removed or covered over.

After Thomas Pitt left this building, it became a restaurant called the Totem Fountain Lunch, also known as the Totem Cafe, which occupied the building until the 1960s.

In 2000, it was occupied by another restaurant called the New Totem Restaurant. It was later occupied by another restuarant called Dino’s, which was destroyed by a fire in this building in 2012 and did not reopen afterwards.

The building was repaired after the 2012 fire and is now occupied by Magnolia Accessories.

Would you like to leave a comment or question about anything on this page?