line
 
   
 
 
 
 

Heritage Register
James Bay

580 Michigan Street
(ex-69, then 522 Superior St,
relocated to 521 Superior St in 1910,
relocated to 580 Michigan St in 2016)

Built 1891; 1910; 2016
Heritage Designated 2016

For: Robert & Mary Jameson;
Charles & Eleanor Cameron (1910)

Architect: Cornelius John Soule

521 Superior

ARCHITECTURE:

This 2½-storey, front-gabled Queen Anne house has pedimented gables on all four sides with sunbursts in the apices. The pediments are created by shallow pent roofs at the bases of the gables. Two multi-paned casement windows are in the front, left and rear gables; the left gable is a dormer. Three panels separated by string courses define those three gables: the left and rear gables have two panels of half-timbering and stucco over a panel of shingles; the front gable has two panels of plain shingles over distinctive wavy shingles. The pedimented gables, the sunbursts and the wavy shingles are signature features of architect C.J. Soule’s houses (see the 1891 Dalby house at 1272 Balmoral Rd, Fernwood TOH1). A one-storey, steeply-pitched, shed-roofed extension sits below the rear gable. The gable on the right side of the house is lower and smaller than the other three; it has the sunburst and is shingled, but has no panels or windows. It tops a full-height, deep box bay to the front of which is a balcony above a verandah, both accessed by doors on the front of the bay.

The upper storey of the front has two pairs of multi-paned-over-one sashes; they are separated by a half-timbered panel below a sawn design identical to the apron below the piano window on the left side of the house. The front lower storey has a recessed entrance porch to the left and a wide angled bay with cutaway brackets to the right. There are arched brackets at the entry and heavy boxed piers of vertical V-joint T&G on shingled bases; the capitals of the piers have bullseyes. Larger paired bullseyes appear in the porch, verandah and balcony balustrades. The panelled double front doors have glazed insets and an etched-glass transom; the piano window also has etched glass. Drop siding covers the lower level, shingles the upper. The original panelled and corbelled brick chimneys have been rebuilt, as has the brick foundation.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

1891-1908: The Victoria Daily Colonist, 1891 April 18, page one, reported: “Model Residences - Mr. Soule, architect....R.H. Jameson’s residence on Superior street, will soon be ready for occupation. The men are hard at work plastering, putting in electric bells and electric lights.”* Robert Hamilton Jameson (b. Alloa, SCT 1844-1929) took part in Fenian Raids, and was a steadfast advocate of Home Rule for Scotland. In 1863 he came to North America, landing in New York and going to Florida, where he reportedly witnessed the arrival of the last slave ships from Africa. He came to Canada, settled in Whitby, ON, and married Mary Cecelia Blair (b. Brooklyn, ON 1852-1918) in 1869. After visiting Victoria, Robert moved his family here in 1888. For 12 years he operated a grocery business which evolved into a successful coffee and spice company, the W.A. Jameson Coffee Co, named after his son William Alexander. Robert later became a traveller for tea importers Balfour & McLaren of Hamilton, ON. After Mary’s death, Robert retired to the Sooke River. He loved nature and was a botanist, writer and poet. He was a member of the Canadian Legion, Campaigner’s Association, IOOF, and the Burns Club.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

1908-09: Captain Melville Fixott Cutler (b. Arichat, NS 1861-1936) was exposed to the seafaring life at an early age. He rapidly mastered sailing, and at 17 officially began his career aboard the brig Josephine out of Halifax. In 1890 Melville sailed on the sealing schooner Carmolite around Cape Horn to Victoria. Sealing was a booming industry on the West Coast, and drew many young captains to the region. He was on the Carmolite one year, then returned by land to Nova Scotia, where he became part-owner and captain of the schooner Agnes McDonald. He sailed to Victoria in 1892, and again engaged in sealing. He later worked for the Dunsmuir family and captained several of their ships, including the coaling ship SS Wellington during WWI. Cutler served as Admiralty Court commissioner on wreck inquiries. In 1891 he joined Vancouver and Quadra Lodge No.2, AF&AM, and in 1932 was elected a life member. He was also a life member of Gizeh Lodge. Cutler’s wife predeceased him, and he died in Vancouver.

1910: The Provincial Government bought houses on the north side of Superior in this block to be relocated for expansion of the Legislature Buildings, specifically for the provincial library. They bought 522 Superior from Cutler and auctioned off the house in May.

1910-31: Charles and Eleanor Cameron bought the house for $675 and moved it across the street to 521 Superior, after removing their original house, built in 1884, to 543 Michigan St (demolished 1967). The Cameron family lived in this house until the Government repurchased it in 1931. Charles Napier Cameron (1854-1935) was born in California to Jessie and Duncan Cameron, who met and married during the gold rush. As the gold rush waned, news spread of gold in BC, and the family moved here in 1860. Duncan spent much time in the Cariboo until his accidental death in 1884. Charles married Abbigale Louisa “Abbie” Gosnell in 1882, but she died at 20 in 1885 following childbirth. He remarried in 1888 to Eleanor Penelope Atwood (b. Victoria 1865-1936). Charles was employed in a variety of occupations: he was a warehouseman in the late 1870s, then a clerk on Wharf St; a clothier salesman with Strauss & Co 1889-93, then a grocer on Douglas St. Until 1903 Charles worked in the clothing business again with his brother William Cameron, former city alderman. Charles later operated an automobile repair business with son Walter. In 1931 the Camerons moved to 447 Kingston St, where they remained until after Charles’s death. [Charles Cameron’s sister Agnes Deans Cameron was South Park School’s first principal (508 Douglas St, James Bay) and a pioneer feminist.]

1931: The BC Government purchased the house from the Camerons.
Users: 1931-47: BC Government Police Training School, then BCG Police Department of Education.
1948-50: BCG Police Traffic Branch shared the house with Provincial Government Employees and Canadian Legion Public Service Branch. 1951-55: Provincial Government Employees and Canadian Legion Public Service Branch shared the facility.

2014-16: The BC Government sold Capital Park Block (Superior/
Government/Michigan/Menzies) to Jawl Precinct Lands Corp & South Block (Concert) Ltd. They moved the houses off the property, the three on Superior to 580, 584 and 588 Michigan St, and the two on Michigan to 222 and 226 Dallas Rd. They are redeveloping much of the block except for the three houses they moved to the east end of Michigan St, the Robson and Hunter houses around the corner at 506 and 514 Government St, and 563 Superior St, all of which are on the City’s Heritage Register. The company restored the three Michigan St houses, and in 2017 won a Hallmark Heritage Society Award of Merit for their superb work.

* from research by Dorothy Mindenhall.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

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


 © VICTORIA HERITAGE FOUNDATION (VHF) 2019
House GrantsHeritage HousesResources & Publications News & EventsBuilding CommunityAbout