Heritage Register

651 Trutch Street

Built 1910
Heritage-Designated 2003 (including garage)

For: Violet & Alexander Peden

Architect: Samuel Maclure
Builders: attributed to Luney Brothers

651 Trutch


The attribution of this house to Samuel Maclure would only be second-hand, were it not for his stylistic trademarks. While no plans have survived, and only Luney Bros’ name is on the plumbing permit (making them the likely builders), there’s a scribbled note by City Plumbing Inspector Herbert Shade (2303 Quadra St, North Park), referring to Maclure as the architect.

But apart from that, the house conforms well with Maclure’s Swiss Chalet style. Front-gabled with a fairly low-pitched roof, it has wide eaves and a highly-decorated central balcony, and for those reasons alone has a close affinity with 1009 Terrace Av (Rockland). There are heavy brackets at the eaves, and the rafter tails are exposed. The upper front is jettied over the main floor at both corners, supported by large brackets, giving the impression of box bays. Groups of three slightly chamfered square porch posts at the corners are linked by curved hoods. The posts extend through the flat roof with a series of fretwork panels to form a balustrade for the upper balcony. (The balcony door is probably a replacement.) The large, open front porch leads to a central glazed entrance door with art glass side-lights. The lower front windows are in two matched groups of three and all are multi-pane over single-pane. Each side of the roof has a large gabled dormer, also with brackets at the eaves. The north side has large leaded art glass hall and stair windows. The chimneys have been stuccoed, but retain distinctive decorative caps featuring a vertical corbel on each side. Heavy pendant finials finish the gables. The top edge of all the bargeboards is covered in a vertically applied row of shingles in a most unusual manner. A privet hedge encloses the garden.


The Pedens owned this house until 1936. Alexander Peden (1878-1951) was born in Cockenzie, Scotland, to Alexander Peden and Mary Highstead. The family came to Victoria in 1888, and his father became a fisherman. Alex married Violet Robinson (1881-1957) in 1904; she was the daughter of jeweller Edward Frederick Robinson and Elizabeth Maylin, who came from London, Eng, in 1882. Violet worked as a milliner before her marriage. Alex ran his own tailor shop until 1915, then sold insurance for New York Life. In 1927 he became the Victoria manager. Alex had a long history of involvement in municipal politics, serving six terms on Victoria City Council between 1911 and 1938, and on Oak Bay Council from 1942-45. He was also on the Victoria Police Commission in 1921 and a school trustee 1922-24. He was a charter member of BPOE, Victoria Lodge No.2, a member of Victoria Rotary Club, and of Victoria Columbia Lodge No.1, AF&AM.

The Peden name is well-known in Victoria for two things: the historic Scott and Peden sign on the west side of the Market Square buildings on Store St, facing the Johnson Street Bridge, and as outstanding athletes. Alex’s brother William had a bicycle store by 1901, and their brothers Robert and Thomas worked at the store. William later formed Scott and Peden, selling flour, feed, hay and grain; the firm was eventually sold to Buckerfields. However, William’s sons went into bicycle racing. William “Torchy” Peden (named for his flaming red hair) was in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, became a professional world-champion 6-day bicyclist, and had a chocolate bar named after him. His brother Doug, an all-round athlete, participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and became a long-time sports editor for the Victoria Daily Times.


From 1936-40 the owners were Belle Crawford (Magee, 1885-1971) and John Wesley Gibson (c.1874-1954). Gibson was born in Osgoode, ON, about 1874 and studied at Queens University, Kingston, Stanford University in California and the University of Toronto. He and Belle came west in 1914. He joined the BC Department of Education and started an agricultural education program. In 1929 he developed a high school correspondence programme, and was Director of Correspondence until his retirement in 1941. This was the first such programme in North America, patterned after methods first used in Australia. During WWII, he set up the correspondence branch for the Canadian Legion War Services. His son James became Dean of Arts at Carlton College, Ottawa, and son William was professor of neurological research in the faculty of medicine at UBC. Belle was born in Ontario and died in Vancouver.

The third owner of the house, during the 1940s, was Gertrude Elizabeth Armstrong (Kappel, 1889-1963), widow of James Sylvester Armstrong and a frequent contributor to the Islander magazine of the Victoria Daily Colonist. She was born in Neath, Wales, came to Canada in 1920, and spent her last two years in the St. Charles Nursing Home.


• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

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

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