Heritage Register

949 Meares Street

Built 1901-02
Heritage-Designated 2004

For: George & Mary Mowat

949 Meares


A classical variation of the Colonial Bungalow, the house is more elaborately finished than most of this type. The full verandah shelters a central entrance and flanking window bays. Double brackets articulate the eaves and a complex series of mouldings define the major structural elements.


The Mowats arrived in Victoria after the 1901 Census, and purchased the land from the Anglican Diocese. They lived here until 1906. George was a florist at the time and later a bank messenger.


The house was sold to Donald C. (c.1844-1908) and Agnes (McGregor, 1858-1943) McKinnon, who came to Victoria from the east in 1906. Donald was born in Guelph, ON, and Agnes in the USA. They took over the Imperial Hotel when they moved to Victoria, but had to leave the business when Donald developed cancer of the jaw. When he died in 1908, they were living in 957 Meares, but Agnes moved into 949 by 1912. She later lived in 931 Meares until her death in 1943.

Before Agnes moved into 949 Meares, she rented it in 1908-09 to Violet and Frederick Arthur Johns (c.1875-1911). Fred Johns, born in New Westminster, married Victoria-born Violet Gerry in 1900. Several months later, they were listed in the census as lodgers in the Presbyterian School. Fred died in 1911 of pneumonia. He last worked as a waiter at Victoria’s famous Poodle Dog Cafe at Yates and Government. He was a member of the Order of Eagles.

By the late 1930s, the owners were pioneer druggist Bert Aaronson (1889-1968) and his wife Marguerite Victoria (1893-1976). Both were born in Victoria, Bert to Andrew Aaronson and Rose Vandersluis from England, and Marguerite to John Wilson from England and Emma Eliza Smith from Victoria. Bert graduated from the Ontario College of Pharmacy in 1910, returned to Victoria, and immediately opened his drug store at the corner of Fort and Cook Sts. Son Gordon Aaronson later ran the pharmacy for many years, but the family sold the business in the 1970s.

Bert and family generally lived over the shop, but by the late 1930s, they lived in this house on Meares. When they died, they were living over the shop, with an address at 1088 Meares. Bert was president of the BC Pharmaceutical Association, a member of Vancouver and Quadra Lodge, AF&AM, and an avid golfer: he was a charter member of Uplands Golf Club. Marguerite, who died from a fractured skull after being struck by a bus on Fort St, was a 50-year member of Victoria Chapter No.17, OES.

From about 1938 to the present the owners have been Sue Jun Duck and his wife Sue Yee Ho, and their descendants. They were married when they came to Victoria from China in 1903, but Mrs. Sue arrived slighly later than her husband. They ran a grocery and produce store on Fort St. At least three of their nine children were born above the shop when it was at 818 Fort, now the site of BC Vital Statistics. After WWII the Sues leased acreage on San Juan Av in Saanich for a market garden and ran a truck farming business. Sue Jun Duck died in 1956 at 77. Daughters Pansee and Lily lived in this house with their mother until 1962. Then son Robert Sue (aka Hung Qun Sue) married Sarah Ngo and they moved in to look after his mother. From 1967 this house became a rental property. Mrs. Sue died in 1972 at 85 and the house was inherited by sons George and Robert, until George’s death in 1994. As George had no children, it was inherited by Robert’s daughter, Michelle Sue. In 1998 Robert and restoration carpenter Davyd McMinn won the Hallmark Society’s highest award, the 1999 Louis Award for their restoration.


• Statement of Significance (Canadian Register of Historic Places)

• GIS Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Four: Fairfield, Gonzales & Jubilee

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