Heritage Register
James Bay

614 Niagara Street

Built 1909
Heritage-Designated 2013

For: Frederick Glasson

Builder: Robert Hetherington

614 Niagara


This is a one-storey, bellcast-hip-roofed Colonial Bungalow. This style and size of house was very popular in Victoria in the boom before WWI, allowing modest families to get into the housing market. However, because of their smaller size, few have survived intact.

There is a small, centrally-located, bellcast hip-roofed dormer on the front slope of the roof. The front façade has a door directly below the dormer which separates the recessed porch on the right from the shallow, extended, angled bay on the left. The bay is supported on ornate sandwich brackets. There are matching angled bays on the left side and rear. The porch has two simple Tuscan columns and a solid balustrade. The front porch is matched at the rear with a small porch extension. The front door has bevelled glass, and the bay has art glass in the transom. The windows on the main floor are double-hung sash with horns on the upper sash. The wide front steps have very low solid balustrades, typical of the period. For safety reasons, hand rails have been added. The main floor, including its balustrades, and the dormer are clad in double-bevelled siding, while the basement level is shingled. There are two chimneys, the one on the left front corbelled.

Contractor and builder Robert Hetherington (b. Clabby, Co Fermanagh, IRE, 1869-1938) built this six-room home in 1909 at a cost of $1,750, likely with his brother Richard (b. Co Fermanagh, IRE, 1884-1960), a carpenter. This was one of more than 70 houses that they constructed in the boom before World War I. The Hetheringtons worked in Victoria and area from the time they immigrated, Robert in 1891 and Richard in 1904, until 1938 and 1953, respectively. Robert built 1153 Burdett Av in 1901 and it was his home with his wife Dorothy until his death. The majority of houses appear to have been built speculatively, but a few were built, like this one, for a specific owner. Robert stated in a Daily Colonist advertisement: “My specialty is Modern Cottages and Bungalows at reasonable figures.” Many of the Hetherington houses have already gone. 451 Chester Av, a mirror image of 614 Niagara, was recently demolished by a developer. Still others have been seriously compromised. 1126 Richardson St, which originally had a handsome full-width porch, was used to illustrate the 1909 ad. Unfortunately there is only one other Hetherington house, 634 Battery St in James Bay, currently on Victoria’s Heritage Register. The Royal Oak Community Hall at 4516 West Saanich Rd in Saanich, which Robert also built, is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.


Frederick Gasson (b. Kent, ENG, c.1868-1916) had this house built as a rental property. At the time he was working as a groom and had lived at the Queen’s Hotel, corner of Store and Johnson Sts, for several years. He arrived in Victoria c.1891 and later was a linesman for the BC Electric Railway Co. He was a past president of No. 131, Pride of the Island Chapter of the Sons of England. Fred was forced to retire early after a stroke, and was found dead in his shack on McNeill Av in Oak Bay. After his death it was discovered that he had owned considerable property.


The house doesn’t appear in city directories until 1912: Oscar Lucas, proprietor of The City Fair, notions and granitewear, 1312 Douglas St. 1913-15: Mrs. Susan Skerry and Cecil, Water Rights Branch Lands Dept draftsman, and Gertrude, masseuse. Susan’s daughter Mabel Edith lived with them until she married accountant Horace Herbert Coton in 1914 and moved into their new house at 1925 Forrester St in Saanich (now Heritage-Registered). The Skerrys came from Edinburgh, SCT, in 1910. Susan’s husband George Edward Skerry had been a barrister-at-law.

1917-48: Thomas Douglas Roberts (b. Victoria, BC, 1891-1957) and stenographer Marion Florence (née Armstrong, b. Salmon Arm, BC, 1892-1961) married in Victoria in 1917. Thomas worked for the Canadian National Railway, eventually becoming Construction Department Chief Clerk.

1949-51: Stanley Edward Tront (b. Mayfield, MB, 1924-1980) and Margaret Ann (née McIntyre) ran the grocery store at 581 Niagara St. Stenographer Violet Tront and Yarrows shipyard labourer John Tront lived with them. Stanley later became a realtor.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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