Heritage Register
James Bay

58 Government Street (ex-87 Carr St)

Built 1900

For: John & Catherine Lewis

Builder: John Lewis

58 Government


This is a Victorian hip-roofed, square bungalow with a full-width, enclosed, hip-roofed extension on the back. A narrow original sunroom at the rear of the left side of the house was built over the basement which accommodated the extensive woodwork shop. The sunroom and basement were widened pre-1968; at the same time the pediment-gabled, deep box bay in front of the sunroom was partially cantilevered to allow entry to a garage in the basement. Another pre-1968 addition is the wide, hip-roofed dormer on the front, creating a widow’s walk now with a thin metal railing; this wide dormer replaced two charming original gabled dormers. A much more recent hip-roofed dormer was added on the right side of the main roof. The hipped roof of the full-width front verandah is partly sheltered under the main roof, creating a narrow verandah. It has bracketed, turned posts on what is now a solid shingled balustrade. The Victorian windows all have shaped aprons. The main floor and pedimented gable are clad in drop siding; the dormers and basement are shingled, instead of the original drop siding, vertical on the basement. Asbestos siding from the 1940s-50s was removed in 1986.


John Lewis built this house for his family, which is confirmed by the quality of workmanship in the house. John and Catherine (Jones) Lewis emigrated from Wales to Victoria in 1891. John, an expert cabinetmaker, worked for Jacob Sehl, John Weiler, and David Spencer during his 30 years in the business. His skills also extended to building houses, as he built a house on Belmont Av in Fernwood. He died in 1943 at 79.

Catherine was an active charity worker during the many years she lived in James Bay. She continued to live in this house until 1948 when she moved to Vernon to live with her daughter Anne and son-in-law, Stephen Temple. She died there in 1957 at 97.

In the early 1900s family and friends frequently gathered on the wide flat roof on top of the house to watch events on the Caledonian Grounds, now gone, which was bordered by Government, Niagara, St Andrews and Simcoe Streets. John Lewis, a keen amateur photographer, took photos of these events and his neighbourhood.


Thomas Llewellyn Lewis inherited this house from his parents. He was born in Victoria in 1893, and married Gertrude Alice in 1915. Gertrude was born on the Isle of Man in 1889 to John and Alice Watterson. She came to Victoria shortly before her marriage. Thomas was employed as a machinist at the Victoria Machinery Depot during the 1940s. Gertrude died in 1978 and Thomas continued to live here until he died in 1986.

The house was sold to Bill and Patty Huot, who with their daughters Gillian and Wendy won a 1987 Hallmark Society Award for their restoration work on this house. This included removing asbestos shingles which had covered the house for many years. Bill worked for many years in the Heritage Branch of the BC Government. He was one of the main persons involved in the development of BC’s current heritage legislation which was adopted by the Legislature in October 1993.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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