Heritage Register
James Bay

225 Quebec Street (ex-82 Quebec St)

Built 1891; 1894
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Ralph & Phoebe Borthwick

Architect: John Teague

225 Quebec


This ornate two-storey home exhibits a wealth of Queen Anne and Italianate elements, seemingly filling every space on the facades facing this commanding intersection. The front is a symphony of triangles and reflected images. The left side has strong vertical movement, from a large angled bay leading up to a smaller one on the second floor, climaxed with a massive bracketed gable. The right front has a strong horizontal form with a substantial porch (and matching gable) leading to large double-doors. A tiny multi-paned dormer is aligned in the hipped roof. The porch itself has unique ornamentation with a flattened arch that continues sinuously down the columns, which are turned in lozenge shapes. Sunbursts fill the corners, echoing a sunburst on a tiny mock gable on the roof of the lower bay. A complex, heavy corbelled frame on a small multi-pane window in the top gable provides further ornamentation. On the other major façade, another angled bay, also tapering upwards, has added interest with a latticework panel below the hipped roof. The house is largely clad in siding, but a wide beltcourse has dogtooth shingles. A substantial addition in 1894 was noted in the Colonist. The house has been well maintained and painted, and has operated as a restaurant for more than 30 years.


This house was built in 1891 for $3,500 for Ralph and Phoebe Borthwick, who had built 221 Quebec St in 1889. They lived here in the 1890s, and owned it until 1911.


From 1912 until at least 1916, William and Jean (Orr) Williams owned the house and rented it out. William, born in Leeds, England, came to BC in the late 1870s via Panama. His family was directly descended from Roger Williams, a Puritan settlers of Rhode Island. His mother, Elizabeth, was a sister of David Spencer (527 Michigan St, James Bay). William worked in his father’s clothing and furnishing business, B.Williams & Co on Yates St, established 1882. He later became manager and it grew to one of the largest clothing stores in Victoria. In 1911, he sold the business to J.N. Harvey of Vancouver, then became vice-president of that corporation. He also became president president of City Land Co. William, an excellent bass, was a member of Arion Male Voice Choir, and Victoria Golf Club, AF&AM, and other social clubs. He died in 1931 at 64.

Jean, born in Battleford, SK, came here at 19 and gra-duated with honours from Royal Jubilee Hospital nurses’ training school. Before marrying William in 1912, she was head operating nurse at the Jubilee. She died in 1923 at 37.

From c.1900-02, Isiah and Helen Sparrow lived here. Helen was born in New York and moved to Canada in 1833. Isiah was born in Ontario, lived in Victoria by 1898, and was an accountant for W.J. Pendray (309 Belleville St, James Bay). He died in 1904 at 81. Helen had died in 1903 at 72. By 1905-c.1908 Edward and Phoebe Foot lived here, then 334 Michigan St, James Bay, then Comox, BC.

From 1910 until her death in 1912 at 74, widow Annie Langley was the resident. Annie, the youngest of John and Harriet Thain’s 12 children, was born in St John, NB, and came to Victoria in 1860 after crossing the Isthmus of Panama. In 1861 Annie married James Langley. James was born in Staffordshire in 1823 and came to Victoria from California with his brother Alfred in 1858. They opened a pharmacy, Langley Brothers, later Langley & Co, in a building called Apothecaries Hall. From the early 1890s, James and Annie lived at Fairview, a mansion on the corner of Menzies and Quebec, where the Dunsmuirs lived while Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Cr, Rockland) was being built. James died in 1895, and Annie lived at Fairview until 1910.

John and Mary LeHuquet lived here from c.1917-early 1920s. Mary was an artist. John came from Gaspe, QC, to Victoria c.1910, and was a painter, then carpet upholsterer at Weiler Bros. He died in 1937 at 63. John and Emma (Douglas) Dadds resided here from 1929-32, then moved to Port Alberni, BC. The Dadds came to Canada from Scotland and England in 1905, to Victoria in 1907. Emma died in 1937 at 67. John was retired while in Victoria, but was a caretaker at a lumber mill for eight years in Port Alberni. He died in 1942 at 72.

William and Mabel King lived here from 1933-41. William, a butcher then a merchant, was born in Victoria in 1874. Mabel Ware was born in London, ON, in 1882; they married in 1900. William died in 1945, Mabel in 1953. By 1947, the owners were George and Catherine Downman. They arrived here in 1941. George, a grain inspector, died in 1949 at 71. Catherine lived in the house until c.1960.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

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

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