Heritage Register
James Bay

144 Ontario Street/242 Montreal Street

Built: 1910; 1937-38
Heritage-Designated 2004

For: Oscar & Alice Dey; John Hall

Architects: Thomas Hooper (1910);
Hubert Savage (1937)
Contractors: attributed to Luney Bros. (1910)
attributed to John Hall (1937)

144 Ontario


This 1½-storey, front-gabled Craftsman house has a small hip-roofed, through-the-roof wall dormer on each side and a hip-roofed porch addition on the right rear. On the right side of the house below the dormer is a gabled porch roof over side entrance stairs and landing. On the left side towards the rear is a hip-roofed, one-storey, angled bay. There are exposed rafter tails in the eaves of the main roof and dormers, exposed beam ends in the front gable, and numerous small brackets on the belt course around the house. There is a recessed vent in the apex of the front gable, above the string course; below is a recessed sleeping porch with an angled bay on the left side. Curved shingles on the sides of the vent and the sleeping porch are in the Shingle style. The deeply-inset, full-width front verandah has four heavy, square, bracketed posts and two pilasters on solid balustrades. The upper floor is shingled, and the main floor has double-bevelled cladding. Most windows are multi-paned-over-one, double-hung sashes. The right dormer and the piano windows on each side have stained art glass. There are two corbelled brick chimneys and the foundation is concrete. As Luney Brothers were the pipe layers for this house, it is possible that they were also the builders.


Oscar Dey was born in 1873 in Toronto and grew up in Napanee, ON. At 18 he became a CPR telegraph messenger, then telegraph operator in Rat Portage (now Kenora), ON, the Kootenays and Vancouver in 1905. He worked for years with BCCSS in Vancouver and Victoria, when he had this house built. In 1911 he transferred to the E&N and worked at Duncan, Wellington, Courtenay, Qualicum, Port Alberni, and Nanaimo, where he retired in 1938 after 47 years with the CPR. Oscar and Alice spent WWII in England and Bermuda, returning to Nanaimo in 1945. Oscar died there in 1960.


By 1913 the owner was retired Col. Henry C. Lamb, who married Edith Ransom that year. He was 64 and she, 51, and they lived in The Glenshiel, 606 Douglas St. City policeman George J. Gates and his wife Rose rented from 1917 into the 1920s. George was born in Surrey, England, in 1868 and immigrated to Victoria in 1911. He later worked as a night watchman until his death in 1942, when they were living with their daughter Phyllis Cann. Rose was still there when she died at 85 in 1967.

The owner by 1929 was postman James Mason. In 1937-38 owner John Hall duplexed the house to designs by architect Hubert Savage. In 1939 Gertrude and Walter Ayton, a steward at the British Public Schools Club, lived here. In 1946, the owner was photo finisher Mary Wyllie, and in 1951, longshoreman Robert Knight and wife Elsie lived here.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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