Dave Obee: Times Colonist moving to temporary home in Vic West

After almost 70 years in the 2600 block of Douglas Street, the Times Colonist is moving — but don’t worry, it will be temporary.

Our home, the Victoria Press Building at 2621 Douglas, is being rebuilt from top to bottom and side to side. We can’t stay in a building undergoing massive amounts of work – and we certainly don’t want to be in an office without electrical service or working plumbing. So we are heading out.

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After Sept. 1, our editorial, advertising and business offices will be on the second storey of 655 Tyee Road in Vic West. It’s the building on the south side of the west end of the Point Ellice Bridge, the building that is also home to Abebooks.

We have also moved our circulation department, to 785 Lampson St., the former Greaves Moving and Storage warehouse in Esquimalt.

If plans hold, we will move back to 2621 Douglas in a couple of years, after the building is transformed by Merchant Capital, which bought it from the Times Colonist a couple of years ago.

The Times Colonist has been at 2621 Douglas since 1972, when the afternoon Victoria Times and the morning Daily Colonist moved into this building from the one next door, 2631 Douglas. 2621 was designed with expansion in mind, but changing technology means that work once done by dozens of people can be done by one or two.

As an example: At one time, people in the newsroom would design a page on a paper dummy then hand it to someone else to complete. The finished page would be photographed, and the negative used to create a plate for the press. Today, everything is on computer – and when the page is ready, with a keystroke the plate pops out of a machine at the press facility in Ladysmith.

We were at 2631 Douglas for only 21 years. That building has been expanded and rebuilt to become the John Alfred Manor for seniors.

The two newspapers were in a variety of locations in the downtown core from when they were started (the Colonist in 1858, the Times in 1884) until their move north of Bay Street in May 1951.

But enough about history. What will thismean to you — our loyal readers and advertisers?

In truth, not much. Our office has been closed to the public since the pandemic hit in March. It will remain closed in our new location until we are no longer quite as concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

Besides, many of our staff members are working from their homes. They might not notice the change either.

This move to a temporary home is part of our long-term plans to reinvigorate our business and ensure that we continue to serve Greater Victoria for many more decades.

No matter where our office may be, our commitment to the community will not waver.

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