Heritage Register

53 Welllington Avenue

Built 1913
Heritage-Designated 1999

For: C.A. Steele

53 Wellington


This side-gabled Craftsman Bungalow features the typical low pitched roof with a large offset front-gabled porch. On the side there is a small gable over a cantilevered box bay, balanced by a large side wall chimney. The centred front door is bracketed by two sets of three windows. The windows are generally Craftsman-style: four small, narrow, vertical panes over large single panes. The eaves have exposed rafters and knee brackets, with flattened pyramids on the outside of the bargeboards, which have long slits at the ends and wide crown molding. The walls are entirely clad in wood shingle with string course only high in the gables. The imposing original porch has been significantly diminished by removal of the heavy columns and piers, the balustrade, and the front-facing steps.


This house was built for C.A. Steele, who never lived here but used it as revenue property. The first known occupant was Mabel Matthews, who lived here c.1914-17, after which she left Victoria. She was the widow of Charles Matthews (c.1873-1910), a sea captain born in St. Louis, MO, who died of stomach cancer in 1910.


Lieut-Col Charles Leonard (1870-1948) and Marie Lydia Laura (Millward, 1879-1960) Flick lived here with their daughters Charlotte and Dorothy in the early 1920s. Born in England, they came to Canada c.1920. They married at Mayne Island, BC, 1904, where they later returned.

By 1926 the house’s first long-term occupants had moved in. Joseph Algernon Pearce (1893-1988), an astro-physicist at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory lived here with his wife Esther Edith (Mott, 1894-1945) until about 1941. They were born in Brantford, ON, and came to Victoria in the early 1920s. He and the first director of the observatory, J.S. Plaskett, published the first detailed spectroscopic analysis of the Milky Way Galaxy in 1935. Joseph was director of the observatory from 1940-51, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 1940, and vice-president of the American Astronomical Society from 1944-46. He served overseas during WWI, and was a Freemason. He married Elizabeth Allan sometime after Edith died.

Elmer George (1907-1984) and Marie Estelle (Scott) Whitten bought this house by 1946 and lived here until at least the early 1980s. Born in Winnipeg, MB, Elmer was a clerk with the Victoria Daily Times, and later worked for the Victoria Press.


• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

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

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