Heritage Register
James Bay

33 Government Street

Built 1908
Heritage-Designated 2007

For: George & Minnie Carr

33 Government


This 1½-storey Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts house was built early in Victoria’s pre-WWI construction boom. It has the typical steep, front-gabled roof with a cross gable on the right and a gabled roof dormer on the left. The gabled roofs have whalebone bargeboards and finials; the finials are a holdover from Victorian houses. A large sleeping porch in the right pedimented gable is now enclosed with casement windows. The pent roof of a rectangular bay interrupts the base of the pediment. A bracketed oriole bay sits below the jettied stringcourse in the symmetrical front upper gable. The asymmetrical lower front façade has an inset angled bay on the right and a now-enclosed porch extension on the left. The rear porch has also been enclosed. A restored, shingled, stepped balustrade leads up to the front porch, which has a period front door. There are piano windows on both sides behind the front façade. For some years the house was covered in asbestos siding. It was removed, revealing the original shingles, which have now been restored. An old garage is attached to the left side, and there is still an apple tree planted by the Carrs.


1908-55: George Sydney Carr (1880-1948) built a small house on this property in 1902, then had the present house built in 1908 to replace it. Born in Hamilton, ON, George came to BC in 1891 and to Victoria in 1901. He was a bookbinder with the provincial government for many years, and a member of Vancouver and Quadra Lodge, No.2, AF&AM. In 1903 he married Victoria-born Minnie Sarah Lakin (c.1866-1958), who had been a dressmaker before her marriage. Her parents Frank and Mary Ann Lakin came from England in the early 1860s, and Frank was working as a miner in 1901. Minnie sold this house in 1955, and resided with her daughter Lorna Thorbourne at 80 Moss St until her death.


1955-2012: Emil Vollmeier (1919-2008) and Olga Maria Mercedes (née Mauric, 1920-1994) were married in Victoria in 1955. Emil was born in Gahwil, Switzerland, and trained as a chef. He was accepted by Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1948, who were looking for 25 Swiss chefs. He spent 18 months at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, several months in Montreal, and then came to Victoria to the Empress Hotel. He later managed several local restaurants before becoming Chef Supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital (850 Humboldt St, Fairfield). Emil retired in 1983 from Victoria General Hospital, as St. Joseph’s was then known. In 1977 he received a Silver Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, having been nominated by the hospital administration.

Olga was born in Gorizia, Yugoslavia, into a farming family. After the hard years of WWII, she went to Italy in 1946 and ended up in a refugee shelter. In 1950 she went with a small group through Germany and caught a ship to Halifax, NS, then a train to Victoria. Immigration assigned her to domestic work until she learned English. Later she got a job in the doctors’ dining room in St. Joseph’s, met Emil, and they married and bought the house in 1955. They had three children; the youngest, Agnes, owned the house with her widowed father until his death. They strata-titled the lot and Agnes built a home at the rear, at 31 Government St.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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