Walking Tours

Gonzales Title
1058 Davie

About Gonzales

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Victoria was home to the indigenous Coast Salish people of the Lekwungen nation, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt People.

The Gonzales neighbourhood is named for Spanish explorer Gonzalo Lopez de Haro, first mate of the Spanish ship Princesa Real, who helped chart the waters around Vancouver Island in 1790. In 1885 Joseph Despard Pemberton, the first colonial land surveyor, named his large farm and home Gonzales.

The introduction of the electric streetcar line along Oak Bay Avenue in 1891 was instrumental in encouraging early subdivisions. However, it was not until after the turn of the century that the improved infrastructure and 1907-1913 real estate boom, turned this area into a popular residential neighbourhood. Many houses were built and financed on the installment plan by local builders and developers who often purchased several lots in a row. The residential building boom ended in 1913-14, and the neighbourhood took many more years to infill with more modest homes.

The 2nd World War demand for inexpensive accommodation and the difficulties in sustaining large houses in the post-war period resulted in many homes being converted into suites. Following the 2nd World War, another housing boom saw the remaining vacant land developed.

Well-known Victorians are remembered in local street names. Charles E. Redfern was a jeweller and watchmaker who served as mayor. Dr. John Chapman Davie was a medical doctor and a Member of Parliament. Amphion St is named for HMS Amphion. Somenos, Quamichan and Cowichan Streets honour some of Vancouver Island’s First Nations.

Today Gonzales is a desirable neighbourhood characterized by its tree-lined residential streets, historic homes, and landscaped gardens. While it appears to be mainly a single family neighbourhood in character, there are many secondary suites, strata and heritage conversions.

The Gonzales neighbourhood has evolved from Garry Oak meadows and farmland to one of Victoria’s most popular neighbourhoods in less than 150 years..

App link
Download Gonzales
walking tour


House GrantsHeritage Houses Resources & PublicationsNews & EventsBuilding CommunityAbout