Heritage Register

750 Pemberton Road
Endiang; Pemberton Lodge; Pemberton Meadows

Built 1899-1900
Heritage-Designated 2001; carriage house 2018

For: John & Alice Mara

750 Pemberton


Endiang stands at right angles to the street. This is a 2½-storey home with a two-storey octagonal tower on one corner and angled bays surrounded by recessed, enclosed porches on the other; the upper is a sleeping porch. It has a bellcast roof with four matching bellcast dormers and wide closed eaves. A one-storey octagonal bay with bellcast roof faces the street. There is a wide flared, belt course separating the two storeys, with shingles above and beaded, double-bevelled siding below. A bank of five elaborate Arts & Crafts stained glass windows interrupts the belt course on the rear of the house. The 1960s photo shows a recessed front doorway; the present entry is flush with the main wall. The house is modified inside to accommodate suites, but the entrance hall retains its woodwork. The foundation and front step balustrade are of granite and sandstone with red rectangular pointing. There are three towering double-corbelled brick chimneys. At the rear of the property, a substantial, towered coach house has been converted to suites. The house is well preserved and still enjoys its generous lawns, while so many of its neighbours have succumbed to subdivision of property and infill.


1899-1920: John Andrew Mara (b. Toronto 1840-1920) in 1862 travelled across the country by boat and on foot with the famous Overlanders, including R.B. McMicking and John Fannin. He settled near Kamloops in 1869 and established the first fleet of steamboats in the area. John became interested in politics and was a staunch supporter of Confederation. He ran for the first Legislature and was elected in the Kootenay region, and later in Yale. From 1883-86 he was Speaker. He was then elected to the House of Commons for Yale, and remained until Hewitt Bostock (1322 Rockland Av) defeated him in 1896.

John often visited Victoria, and was a friend of Frank Barnard (1462 Rockland Av), who owned the Cariboo Express Co, the “BX Express.” John married Frank’s daughter, Alice Telfer Barnard (c.1859-1906) in Victoria in 1882 and they lived in Kamloops for many years. John was ready for retirement after losing to Bostock in 1896, but the Klondike Gold Rush piqued his interest. He had a sternwheeler built, the Stikine Chief, which he intended to use to dredge for gold, but the ship was lost in rough seas. Alice was in Europe at this time while their daughter Ellen Frances “Nellie” (1882-1956) attended school in Switzerland. John met them in England, they returned to Victoria and had this house built on a parcel of Alice’s family property behind 1462 Rockland Rd, Duvals. Alice died of cancer in 1906. John was an active member of the Victoria Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce), Royal Jubilee Hospital, and the Anti-Tuberculosis Society. He lived in this house until his death.


1927-56: The house remained in the Mara family, but was vacant until 1927 when Nellie Mara married Alan Brooks Morkill (b. Sherbrooke, QC 1882-1956). Alan, the nephew of William Morkill (852 Pemberton Rd) came to BC in 1907 and worked for the Canadian Bank of Commerce throughout the province. During WWI he was a lieutenant with the 88th Battalion and won the Military Cross. He returned to banking after the war; at the outbreak of WWII he resigned as manager of the Douglas and Cormorant branch and served as a major with the Canadian Scottish Regiment. Alan was a noted local botanist and president of the Vancouver Island Rock and Alpine Garden Society for nearly 20 years. The Morkills frequently opened their garden for tours.

Nellie was heavily involved with the Girl Guides of Canada for 28 years, rising to provincial commissioner in 1926. She resigned from active guiding in 1943, but remained a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the Canadian council, the BC executive, and chairman of the Greater Victoria camp committee. Nellie was away in England at a Girl Guide conference when her husband died in 1956. She died in Victoria eight months later.


• Rockland History

• Rockland Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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