Heritage Register
James Bay

155 Rendall Street (ex-2 Rendall St)

Built 1889; 1910
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Alexander & Mary Whyte

155 Rendall


An asymmetrical, 1½-storey, Victorian Cottage with Queen Anne details was originally side-gabled with a front-gabled extension on the right. A hip was added to the ridge of the side gable, and the lower end of the front slope was extended to cover a porch. Other additions were made to the right side and rear. There are unusual sunburst sandwich brackets in the eaves, and the distinctive turned and fretsawn bargeboards in the front gable are hand-made. The bracketed pent roof of the cantilevered box bay is offset under the front gable; a window in the apex of the gable leads to a small balcony in the pent roof.

At the time this house was built, the garden was an important aspect of a home. Some of the original landscape and garden plantings visible in old photographs still remain. The family told stories about Grandfather Whyte’s pride in his homegrown fishing poles and Grandmother Whyte’s roses. Rose and holly bushes visible in photos from the turn of the century can still be seen in front of this house and 149 Rendall St. The fences were rebuilt based on family photos and descriptions.


Alexander and Mary Whyte arrived in Victoria from Greenock, Scotland, with their children, Edward and Fanny, in 1884. Mary was the daughter of Edward Milne who settled at Milne’s Landing near Sooke, BC. Alexander was a carpenter for BCCSS. In 1889, they began building this home, at a cost of $350. In 1890, another permit was issued for $200 for additions. Robert and Alexandria “Lexie” were born in the 1890s. By 1910 the family needed more space and a large two-storey wing was added on the south side of the house. The interior underwent renovations to reflect the more stark Edwardian period. The resulting dramatic effect provided the backdrop for Fanny Whyte’s wedding to John Henry Renfree of 149 Rendall St in 1915. Mary died in 1918, after suffering for 2 years with stomach cancer. Alexander died in 1933 at 81.

Son Edward married Jane Logan in Port Alberni in 1911 and returned to this house after Jane died in 1928 at 59. An electrician by 1931, by 1939 he had married Mary Kinnaird and lived on Vancouver St. By 1946 Ed was secretary of the Victoria Liberal Association. An accomplished athlete in his youth, he was president of the Victoria Burns Club, BC Agricultural Association, Horticultural Society, Highland Games Association, and a life member of YMCA. He was also a trustee of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, a Mason and a Forester. He died in 1953 at 73.

Edward’s younger brother, Robert, played many sports, including lacrosse and baseball, but was a star soccer and basketball player. When he retired he turned to coaching, held executive positions in various athletic leagues, and was lifetime member of YMCA. He worked for Enamel & Heating Products, later as manager. In the late 1950s he worked at Pacific Sheet Metal Works. He never married, and lived here when he died in 1961 at 72.

Lexie was an active member of many civic organizations, including the Kings Daughters. She remained single, and lived in this house her entire life She died in 1974 at 78. The house was duplexed soon after.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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