Heritage Register
James Bay

151 Government Street

Built 1909

For: Wiliam & Charlotte Grant

151 Government


This two-storey, Edwardian Foursquare house has a full-front verandah and hipped roof with bellcast eaves featuring modillions. The exterior is clad in double-bevel siding. Square chamfered posts supporting the hipped verandah roof are paired at the corners. The left side has an angled bay balanced on the right by an entrance with leaded glass side-lights. Most windows are multipane-over-1. The left side on Simcoe St has a gabled two-storey box bay with elaborately moulded bargeboard and pendant finial. The main floor side window has leaded glass matching the front angled bay transom. The back has a hip-roofed, one-storey extension echoing the front verandah. The right side has a cantilevered single-storey box bay on brackets. The front chimney is still corbelled, the back one has been modified.


1909-10: William Grant (b. Banffshire, SCT 1855-1936) and Charlotte Alvina (née Colmorgan, b. London, ON 1859-1912) came to BC in 1885, to Victoria in the mid-1890s. William, a commercial traveller, then a hotelkeeper, came to Ontario from Scotland in 1870. Charlotte, a schoolteacher before marrying, died after a long illness.


1911-16: Robert Porter (b. Dorset, ENG c.1835-1914) and Alice (née Kerr, b. from Belfast, IRL c.1839-1916), parents of Robert John Porter (649 Superior St, James Bay), married here in 1865; Alice was newly arrived via Panama. Robert came to Victoria on the Tory in 1851 and lived in Fort Victoria. He worked on HBC’s Beckley Farm in James Bay, then for surveyor J.D. Pemberton, laying out Victoria, then as a brickmaker for the HBC, at what is now the northern end of Beacon Hill Park. The Porters moved to Saanich, first to a cattle farm, then to an acreage on Burnside Rd. The farm was gradually increased to 1000 acres. They moved back into town and in 1871 Robert established a butcher business at the corner of Douglas and Johnson; their farms supplied meat for the business. In 1886 he took his five sons as partners in Robert Porter & Sons. At the height of the business, there were two stores in Victoria and two in Vancouver. Sons Robert John, Henry and George operated the Victoria stores, Charles and Frederick the Vancouver ones. In 1909, Robert retired and the business was sold to Patrick Burns of Calgary, although the Porters retained stock interests.

1917-38: Annie Roach (b. Devon, ENG 1857-1945), widow of George Roach (b. Devon 1854-1907); they lived elsewhere in Canada for some time before coming to Victoria in 1891. George, an engineer, worked at the Phoenix Brewery for eight years.

Tenants: 1940-49: CPR Chief Steward Clifford Charles Arthur Warn (b. Southampton, ENG c.1871-1955) and Gertrude Oliver (née Wood c.1884-1949) married in Vancouver in 1906; Clifford was divorced at the time. He retired in 1940 after 30 years on the job. He was residing with their daughter Winnifred Warn in an apartment in 2008 Fernwood Rd, Fernwood, when he died.

1950-69: George Gibney (b. Liverpool, ENG 1900-1968) and Ruth Elizabeth (née McGuire, b. Saskatchewan 1915-1969) inherited 588 Toronto St, James Bay, in 1949 but rented that out and lived in this house until their deaths.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay

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