Heritage Register
James Bay

59-61 Oswego Street (ex-129 Oswego St)
Built 1905-07

For: Samuel & Zipporah Dawe

Builder: Samuel Dawe

59 Oswego


This symmetrical Frontier vernacular house, constructed for just $1,250, is rare in that it was built as a duplex. It is a wide, two-storey building with a central chimney at the ridge of its hipped roof. On the front façade separating the two floors is a full-width, hipped roof over a central wing between corner porches. The porches each have one square post and two pilasters with semi-circular arches and spindled sunburst brackets in the corners. There are multi-light transoms above the windows in the central wing. The house is clad in drop siding. There are now shed-roofed dormers on the sides and rear, and a small barrel-roofed dormer on the left side towards the front. The roofs were recently covered in ceramic tile, and the chimney has been decoratively rebuilt. The house is now a B&B called Gingerbread Cottage.


Carpenter and fisherman Samuel Dawe and his wife Zipporah (Wells) moved to Victoria from Newfoundland in the early 1890s. Samuel went to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. He died at 41 Oswego in 1921 at 63. Zipporah lived there until her death in 1950 at 90.


The Dawes used this duplex for rental income for many years. Early residents included William T. Earle, a baker, and Ellen McKenzie, a widow. Herbert and Alice (Parsons) Sims lived here in 1917. Herbert was born in London, England, Alice in New Westminster, BC, and they married in Vancouver in 1911. Herbert, an electrician by trade, was a gunner at Signal Hill Battery.

John Leith and Agnes (Spowart) Riddler lived here c.1929-32 (see 309 Simcoe St). From c.1935-40, James and Amelia (Zarelli) Zaferis lived here. James was born in Euboia, Greece in 1897 and came to Victoria in 1912. He was a steward with the CNSS, then a café proprietor until shortly before his death in 1953.

Robert and Jemima (McLaren) Preston lived here from c.1943-49. Robert was born in Scotland in 1897 and Jemima in 1903. They married here in 1928. Robert was an egg candler, and on active service in WWII when they lived here. He died in 1980 at 82.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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