The Root Cellar

Creating a new commercial destination that adds to a thriving community.

The Root Cellar

The Cook Street Root Cellar involved the renovation of the historic Oxford Foods building in the Cook Street Village to accommodate a second location for Victoria’s favourite local greengrocer – The Root Cellar. The project was a design collaboration with the Root Cellar Leadership, Sarah Donald of HansenBuilt Design, and Story Construction.




Completed 2021


Root Cellar


Victoria, Canada


1270 sqm


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Taking a bespoke approach to the design process.

The Oxford Foods building is an agglomeration of 4 distinct structures collected and repeated renovated over more than 100 years of operation. As such it proved to be a challenging building to renew, and required a bespoke approach to improvement of life safety systems and correction of structural defects.

However, the biggest challenge for the team lay in stretching what remained of the budget—after structural and code improvements, to refresh the architecture and interiors in a way that would blend the witty and on-point Root Cellar brand aesthetic with Cook Street Village’s popular eclecticism.

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The ‘big move’ was to visually reconnect the interior produce area with the life outside the building at the busy intersection of Cook Street and Oxford Street. We accomplished this by replacing opaque signage with new operable windows at the corner of the building, extending daylight and views deep into the floor space, and giving the impression of a more open-air market hall. This increased the store presence on the street and contributes greatly to a renewed sense of vitality at that corner of Cook Street.

Additional exterior renovations included new exterior paint, hemlock siding and new lighting as well as a painted mural and bas-relief wood screen reminding passers-by to “Eat your Veggies, please!

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Our team worked under the direction of HansenBuilt Design on additional interior renovations for Root Cellar, which included a complete re-fit of the space with new lighting, all new display cases, a new Butcher and cashier line.

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Collaborative work leads to success.

The project was completed under a complicated permitting sequence due to the complexities of the building’s non-conforming conditions, including encroachments public property. As a result,2 separate Development Permits and 2 Building Permits were taken in order to advance interior work while exterior improvement proposals wound through the City of Victoria technical, legal, and Council review processes.

Cascadia’s ability to work collaboratively with ownership, other designers, and Municipal Authorities was influential in achieving a successful outcome for the project—which has been extremely well received in the community since opening in the Fall of 2021.

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The Team

Client The Root Cellar

Architect Cascadia Architects Inc.

Electrical Engineer Triumph Engineering

Contractor Story Construction

Civil Engineer JEA Civil Engineering

Structural Engineer Skyline Engineering

Interior Design Hansen Built Design

Mechanical Engineer Avalon Mechanical

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