Heritage Register

942-44 St. Charles Street

Built 1909-10
Heritage-Designated 2001

For: William & Mary Todd

Architect: Samuel Maclure
Contractor: George Calder

942-44 St Charles


Even for a Samuel Maclure design, Wilmar is an eclectic mix. Its general form is the 2-storey Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style that Maclure used on several occasions around this time (eg: 1031 Terrace, 1005 St. Charles, Rockland), with a bellcast hipped roof with wide closed eaves and different surface treatments on the two storeys (geometric half-timbering on the upper and stucco on the lower). But many details – red tile roof, arcaded porch on the left side and arcaded porte-cochère in front – are borrowed from the Mission style that was currently popular in the American southwest, but unusual for Victoria. (2667 Empire, Oaklands, built shortly after this house, is a purer example of the Mission style.) There is an attractive arched stained glass window on the right side depicting a landscape with windmill.


William Charles Todd (1885-1942) was born in Victoria to Charles Fox and Louisa (Norris) Todd (Illahie, 1041 St. Charles). In 1910 on the grounds of Illahie, he married Mary Chatwin Butchart (1886-1972), second daughter of Robert Pim and Jennie (McLaughlin) Butchart (906 St. Charles). Wilmar is a contraction of William and Mary’s first names.

William was secretary-treasurer of J.H. Todd & Sons, wholesale grocers, provisioners and salmon processors under the name Horseshoe Brand Salmon, founded by his grandfather, Jacob Hunter Todd (see Harris Green History), who died in 1899. William’s father Charles took over the firm and operated it with his two sons, William and Ernest. William was managing director by the early 1930s and assumed presidency of the firm after Charles died in 1941, but died himself the following year. William’s younger son Derek, who was born in 1921, started working in the firm in 1945, after his discharge from the RCAF at the end of 30 bombing missions. Because of climate change and fish migration, J.H. Todd & Sons was bankrupt by the early 1950s. The assets, including six canneries and the fish traps, were divided and sold to BC Packers and the Canadian Fishing Co.

William and his father were generous donors to the Jubilee Hospital. He and Mary had a country home in the Highlands district that is still in the family. Mary remained in 944 until about 1951, then moved into a suite in her sister’s house at 906 St. Charles, where she died in 1972.

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