Heritage Register

1052 Topaz Avenue

Built 1906
Heritage-Designated 2006

For: W. Clayton Cronk

Designer/Builder: W. Clayton Cronk

1052 Topaz


This house is a good example of a Colonial Bungalow 1½-storey house with Arts and Crafts detailing. It has a bellcast hipped roof with four matching dormers, three with 1/1 sash windows (triple in the front and double on the two sides) with horns. The original cresting on the roof and corbelling of the chimney are visible in the archival photograph. On the right (east) side there is a cantilevered square bay window with a triple 1/1 sash window with horns, while on the west side there is a stained-glass window. The house has wide, closed eaves over a frieze board with a narrow moulding strip.

The main floor level is overlaid with 1940s-50s asbestos siding, separated from basement level shingling by a watertable. The front porch is recessed under the main roof with chamfered square supports topped with capitals and bridged by segmental arches; a cutaway angled bay window with stained-glass transoms fills the left side of the porch.


Wellington Clayton Cronk (1879-1966) was born in Ontario and first appears in Victoria in the 1901 Census, boarding with his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Frederick Hodges. Clayton spent 1901-03 in Dawson City, Yukon. He staked a claim on Bonanza Creek, and built the Eldorado Hotel, which later burnt down. Clayton, a carpenter, built this house for himself in 1906. In June 1907 he married Clara (1878-1966), daughter of farmers Richard and Ellen Chapman. Clara was born in Sault Ste Marie, ON, came here with her family in 1891, and worked as a shirtmaker for some years before her marriage. Clayton became a contractor and hardware merchant until his retirement in 1960. After living at 312 Mary St in Vic West in 1911, he built their subsequent homes, 1454 Ryan St in 1912, and then 3544 Quadra St, where they lived from c.1946 until their deaths. The Cronks were married almost 59 years. They were early leaders in the Gosworth Rd Community Church and Sunday School.


The Cronks sold the house to George and Effie Halliday, who came to Victoria c.1906. They lived here from 1912-15, and their son Harry was still here in 1917. George ran the hardware store Halliday & Sons on Yates St. They were living at 1928 Crescent Rd when Effie, who was born in Ontario, died in 1924 at 64. George retired to live with their daughter in San Leandro, CA, where he died a year later.

They were followed by William and Mary Ada Bolton. William was described as a rancher in the 1920 voters’ list; the city directory says he was an employee of Randys Nursery, and by the time of his death in 1935 he and Mary Ada were farmers on Old West Saanich Road. In 1927 the owner Patrick J. Neary was a nightwatchman. From 1929-32 owner Ralph Clarke was chief clerk with the Liquor Control Board and then an agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co, while his wife Enid was secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary of FOE. The next owners were Caroline and Frederick Balfour, a carpenter in the Red Cross Workshop.

The house finally acquired longer-term owners in 1937 in English immigrants Agnes and John H. Knowles, who was a welder but retired by 1941. They remained here until 1950 and lived on Glasgow Av when John died in 1953. They were followed by Elspeth Robertson (Bone) and Hugh James Burnett, a maritime engineer who lived here until 1962. They moved here from 51 Oswego St (James Bay). Hugh was 20 and a sailor when he married Elspeth Bone, 17, and a children’s nurse, in 1927 in Vancouver


• Map of Victoria Heritage Register Properties

• Hillside-Quadra History

• Hillside-Quadra Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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