W & J Wilsons Limited (1862 – Present)

W & J Wilsons Limited

1221 Government St

Formerly at:

332 Menzies St.
James Bay
Victoria, BC
(250) 382-8282


W & J Wilsons is an established fine clothier that carries tasteful fashion for both men and women. Wilsons carries among their three locations such brands as Vetono, Mycra Pac, Marc Cain, Betty Barclay, Viyella, Esprit, Eileen Fisher, Joseph Ribkoff, Tommy Bahama, Culture, Gerry Weber, and Bianca. Wilsons is also one of the oldest customers of such firms as Burberry and Alan Paine.

Among the men’s fashion, they carry Harris Tweed jackets and navy blue and black blazers.


W & J Wilsons was founded by William Wilson in 1862 during a stop-over in Victoria en route to Barkerville’s gold rush. William had brought along 18 cases of dry goods for the trip to sell in Barkerville to raise his ‘grub stake.’ But when he found the cost of transporting his goods would be prohibitive he decided to place them on consignment in Hardy Gillard’s store (in the current location of Wilsons at 1221 Government Street). Gillard himself had taken over the premises of Mrs. Holland, Milliner, and Mr. Mansell, booth and shoemaker, previously. When Mr. Gillard does not make payment for the sale of William’s goods, William took over Gillard’s store as compensation. Finding the retail business in Victoria booming William sent for his brother Joseph in England who brought over more goods in 1864; their father would their buying agent, sending a selection of fine clothing from the United Kingdom.

William Wilson’s grandson, Richard B. Wilson, would become Mayor of Victoria from 1961 to 1965. He would follow in Wilson’s entrepreneurial spirit by establishing Wilson Motors Ltd.

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