“The building was erected by the Dominion Government, in the year 1875. It is intended to afford accommodation for the officers of the customs, Internal Revenue Department, Telegraph Department, Marine and Fisheries Department. It is considered as fine and substantial a building as there is in Victoria. It cost about thirty-three thousand dollars.”
The British Columbia Penitentiary is a two-storey-plus lower-level Second Empire-style masonry institutional building, distinguished by its characteristic mansard roof and stone cladding. The building stands on a steep rise with a sweeping view across the Fraser River. The penitentiary lands have now been redeveloped as a residential neighbourhood, and this original penitentiary building is one of the few prison structures that has been preserved on the site.