Heritage Register
Victoria West

929 Catherine Street (ex-917 Catherine St)

Built 1909
Heritage Covenant 1992

For: Arthur & Margaret Walter

Architect: attributed to A. Maxwell Muir
Builder: William M. Ross

929 Catherine


See 917 Catherine St for a description of this house and 923 Catherine for the original owners. 929 Catherine was originally 917; when the three houses were renumbered c.1930, 917 was the number given to the original 909, thereby creating many problems for researchers over the years! As with the other three houses (including 235 Langford St at the south end of this short block), this was a rental property owned by the Walter family until c.1930.


Tenants: 1912-14: R.P. Rithet & Co clerk John May Healy (b. Studley, Yorks, ENG, 1869-1934) and Laura Louise (née Miller, b. San Francisco, 1880-1959) married in Victoria in 1906. Laura, whose family came here in 1882, was a nurse. John Healy emigrated to Canada c.1889. He joined the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) in 1894 and was one of the 20-man Pioneer Force sent over the Chilcoot Pass on foot and by boat from Juneau via Lake Bennett to Dawson City, Yukon, after the discovery of gold. John moved to Victoria in 1899, joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles and spent 1900 fighting in the Boer War from Blomfontain to Pretoria. When his regiment returned to Canada, he was left in Pretoria hospital with enteric dysentery. Months later he got back to Victoria and in 1913 the Prince of Wales presented him with the Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps for Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Cape Colony and Orange Free State. John became an accountant. After his death, Laura was an HBC saleswoman.


1918: Machinist Richard Mussen and Gertrude married in Vancouver in 1911; they lived at 211 Mary St, Vic West, in 1917.
: Amedee Gagnon (b. Quebec, 1894-1947), RCN, a mechanic and stoker at the barracks, and his wife Janet (née Robertson, b. Falkirk, SCT, 1896-1976). Janet, a widow, married Amedee in Victoria in 1923. Her son from her first marriage, William “Bill” Miller (1915-1940), took the surname Gagnon. After attending Esquimalt High School, Bill joined the RCN as a stoker. He married Beatrice Bennalack in November 1939, and was posted to the HMCS Fraser in December. On 25 June 1940 he went down on the Fraser after a collision with the HMS Calcutta in the Atlantic. The Fraser was the first Canadian warship lost in WWII. Four years later his young half-brother Andre Amedee Gagnon was killed at 14 when an army vehicle from Work Point Barracks ran over him.

1926-27: PO John Edward Thomas Mason, RCN, and his wife Aimee Marie de Naeyer, both from London, England. 1928: Miss Lillian M. Jones, a saleswoman at Kirkham’s Grocerteria, 749 Yates St. 1929: John Frew, a machine tender for Sidney Roofing & Paper Co, in the Vic West industrial reserve on the Inner Harbour.

Owners: 1931: Theodore Severn “Ted” and Mary “Ethel” Sorenson, born in BC of Norwegian and Newfoundland parents, married in Cowichan Bay in 1926. They lived at 917 Catherine in 1930. Ted was a logger and boomman, then a commercial fisherman until 1970. 1933-37: Mrs. Margaret Brown, with Elizabeth, a laundress at Standard Steam Laundry, and William, a driver.

1939-40: Charles “Horace” Shandley (1897-1967) and Violet Victoria (née Harper, b.1899), both Victoria-born. Horace’s parents Peter and Martha Shandley had lived at 51 Oswego St, James Bay, and Violet’s grandparents John and Sarah Jane Harper at 645 Pine St, Vic West. Horace was a gunner with the Canadian Field Artillery during WWI. He then worked with the King’s/Queen’s Printer for 25 years. Violet was a stenographer before her marriage in 1925.

: Richard Biddulph and Mildred Irene Mabel “Mid” Hilton from Saskatoon, SK. Richard was a federal government clerk, then a male nurse at the Provincial Mental Home on Wilkinson Rd.
: Constable J. Ray Blair, RCMP, and his wife Mary.

1950-58: William Parker Hobbis (b. ENG, 1890-1981) and Hilda Eva (née Crassweller, b. ENG, 1897-1979). Hilda emigrated with her family to Regina, SK, in 1912. William was a member of the RNWMP and then the RCMP. They moved to Glen Lake, Langford, BC, in 1942 where Hilda was involved with the Happy Valley Women’s Institute. William and Hilda were members of the Salvation Army and Hilda belonged to Carne Rebekah Lodge No.45.
: Their relatives Leonard H. and Margaret Hobbis. Leonard retired in 1951 and Margaret worked as a helper at the Mathfair Cafe.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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