Heritage Register
James Bay

646 Niagara Street

Built 1909
Heritage-Designated 1986

For: Thomas & Martha McConnell

Designer/Builder: James Fairall

646 Niagara


The front of this British Arts & Crafts, 1½-storey house has a gable-on-hip roof. There is a shallow gabled wing on the right side of the house, and a gabled dormer on the left above a shallow, cantilevered box bay; beyond the bay is a deep, hip-roofed box bay. There is a shed-roofed porch on the right rear with side-facing steps. The front gable displays a hip-roofed, angled oriel surrounded by Tudor half-timbering edged with quarter-round. The asymmetrical main floor has a shallow box bay to the left front; to the right of the bay is the offset front entrance and the enclosed porch which extends around the corner. Front facing stairs with stepped balustrades turn to the left up to a shed-roofed landing giving access to the front door. There are six chamfered square posts and a pilaster on the porch, and six-light windows between the posts on the enclosed section. A string course around the house under the windows is continuous with the porch balustrade; a water table and wide beltcourse separate the main floor from the basement. There are leaded diamond lights in the upper windows across the front, in the dormer and the bays. The cladding on the walls above the roofline and below the beltcourse is shingled, the main floor has double-bevelled siding. There are two brick corbelled chimneys and the foundation is concrete.


James Fairall (515 Springfield St, Victoria West) designed and built this home for the McConnells, who owned it until at least 1916. Thomas emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1890, and Martha in 1892. They were married in Victoria in 1893. Martha died in 1920 at 47. Thomas was a bricklayer and worked in real estate until he retired in 1928. He died in 1943 at 83.

The McConnells lived here about four years and then used the property for rental revenue. There were many occupants over the years. The 1914 renter was Hiram Stanley, sales representative with McLennan, McFeely & Co, hardware dealers. In 1917, the resident was Stanley G. Peel, an electrical engineer with the BCER Power House. Retired couple Robert and Frances Ellen Squire were occupants in the early-to-mid-1920s. By 1931 it was Daily Times printerVincent J. Baines and his wife Louisa Caroline (née Trott).


From 1932 to the mid-1940s, Catherine Caddell, widow of Alexander Caddell, and her sons James, John, and Alexander, all employees at the Times, lived here. The Caddells emigrated here from Ireland in 1910. Alexander left Victoria in 1916 for WWI with the 103rd Battalion, Victoria Timber Wolves, and was assigned to a tunneling company near the front lines. He never made it home, dying in 1917 at 28. Catherine was born in Bridge-of-Weir, Scotland in 1892. She never re-married. By 1951 she lived at 648 Niagara St, where she died in 1962 at 72.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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