Heritage Register
Victoria West

1017 Catherine Street

Built 1913
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Richard & Louise Hamilton

Designer/Builder: D.H. Bale

1017 Catherine


This is a classic Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts style 1½-storey residence, with its stucco and half-timbering separated by a dentil moulding from shingles in the upper gable. The facade of this style typically demonstrates a symmetrical upper level and an asymmetrical lower. Another typical feature is the front gabled orientation with large gabled dormers on each side. The inset front porch is supported on the left side by Bale’s distinctive cluster of three square posts under a single capital. This house is similar to several other houses by David Herbert Bale, including 1127 Fort St, Fairfield (see 1402 Stadacona Av/1480 Fort St, Fernwood).


1913-20: Richard and Louise Hamilton lived at 1021 Catherine St (see for more family information) before hiring Bale to design and build this home. In 1921 they rented out 1017 and 1021 until 1930-31, when they moved back into 1021.


Tenants: 1923-27: HBC department manager Mortimer H. Mowry.
: Cecil Gilbert and May Draper married in Vancouver in 1920. Cecil was a pile driver, then logging industry foreman for 40 years. With them were his brothers Thomas Francis, logging industry steam engineer, and Arthur Gordon, pile driver on bridges. Arthur died in October 1930 after an accidental fall while workiing at the Coquihalla River.
: Frederick J. McWade, RCN, a writer, and his wife Ethel M.
1938: Sgt. Alexander Speirs (b. Glasgow, SCT, 1899-1974), PPCLI, and his wife Kathleen Irene (née Frith, b. ENG c.1903-1971) married in Victoria in 1926. Alex was a veteran of both WWI and WWII. He was a Captain in WWII and retired from the army in 1947. He was elected an Esquimalt councillor in a by-election in 1947, and served until 1951. Kathleen was from the Frith family of Victoria milliners. Alex and Kathleen had four children: Alex, Kathleen Irene ‘Bunty’, Peggy and Betty.

Owners: 1939-42: Louise Hamilton moved back into 1017, and her brother and sisters (see 1021 Catherine St) came out from Manitoba and lived with her. Her sister Isabel Annie Madge (b. Exeter, ENG, 1882-1939), who came from MB in 1931 and worked as a stenographer, died in the house. By 1943 Louise and the Madges had moved back to 1021.

Tenants: 1943
: Barbara Likely, whose husband Robert was on WWII active service.
: Arthur and Ida “Grace” Towns were born in Manitoba. Arthur was a driver for Palm Dairies. His father Ernest Alfred Towns, a retired farmer, lived with them. Ernest came to Canada in 1900, and BC in 1946. Arthur and Grace’s four-year-old son, Ernest Orville, drowned at Bonds Beach on the Gorge Waterway in 1946.
: Iva and Francis E. Baker, a warehouseman for BC Packers, Victoria Cold Storage at Ogden Point. The house continued as a rental property until the Hamilton family sold both houses in 1967.

Later owners: 1989-91: Robert and Susan Down insulated the house, renovated the kitchen, and peeled linoleum off the front hall to reveal the original hardwood floor. Susan was for many years the Times-Colonist reporter who wrote articles on old houses in Victoria.

1992-2012: Barbara Chase & Terry Keough bought the house while still in Ottawa, and retired to Victoria in 1993. They painted the house an period colour scheme, rebuilt and repointed the two chimneys, added upper storm windows, and built a appropriate style fence. Terry reconstructed a stained glass window for the front door based on the original green jewel from the missing window.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Statement of Significance (Canadian Register of Historic Places)

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West

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