Heritage Register
Victoria West

211 Mary Street

Built c.1889; 1893; 1896; 1904
Heritage-Designated 2000

For: James William Bland; Elizabeth & Philip Smith

211 Mary


This tall two-storey Queen Anne Vernacular house is hip-roofed, with eaves brackets on the outer corners. It has a two-storey extension on the left rear and a two-storey square bay on the right rear. There is a square bay on the right upper front above a cutaway bay with concave sunburst brackets; they are separated by a wrap-around pent roof. The front porch, left of the bay, has two turned posts, one pilaster and four convex sunburst brackets. The porch and stairway balustrades have turned balusters. A left rear porch mimics the details of the front. The body is clad in drop siding, the pent roof in fishscale shingles. The details and pent roof were removed and the house was stuccoed under City permit in 1956. The roof originally had cresting and finials. In 1982-83 owners Gordon McGlothlen and Arn Schilder restored the house.


Owners: 1888-91
: James William Bland (b. London, ENG, 1829-1894) and Elizabeth (née Everson, b. London, ENG, 1830-1918). They went to Callao, Peru, in 1850 after their marriage; he ran a hotel there, as it was the summer station for the Royal Navy. They came here in 1859, landing at Constance Cove in Esquimalt. They established the Halfway House in Esquimalt in 1860 and ran it until the 1880s. He was an engineer on the SS Beaver, bought lots 9 and 13 on Mary St from Victoria Mayor James Fell of Fell’s Grocery & Tea Emporium. Bird’s Eye views and fire insurance maps indicate that there was a small cottage on lot 13 by 1889.

: James and Elizabeth’s daughter Elizabeth “Bessie” Bland (b. Esquimalt, 1866-1944) married Philip Robert Smith Jr (b. Victoria, 1863-1925) in 1885. They were living in Elizabeth’s father’s cottage by 1890, and lot 13 was in Elizabeth Smith’s name by 1892.* Her brother Fred Bland lived on lot 9. After her father’s death, her mother lived with the Smiths and died in the house.

[Note: Philip’s parents, Philip Robert and Sylvestria Theodora Smith married in Victoria in 1861. Philip Sr was a miner and entrepreneur at Fort Douglas during the Cariboo gold rush; the family lived there for some years, then returned to Victoria. After his death, Sylvestria became the first woman to vote in Canada. As a widow with children and therefore head of the household, and an owner of property, she cast her vote in Victoria’s mayoral election in 1875. In 1884 she married Oregon Columbus Hastings, who came to Victoria in 1852 and in 1890 built an observatory beside their house at 915 St. Charles St.]

In 1912 Philip Jr and Elizabeth Smith moved to 723 Herald St and rented out 211 Mary. Philip Smith Jr was a bookbinder and owned Victoria Printers & Publishers. He was living in the Beverley Apartments, 521 Yates St, when he committed suicide in 1925. His funeral was attended by his brothers from the AOF, KoP, IOOF, Labor Union, Typographical Union, Bookbinders’ Association and Native Sons of BC.

Philip and Elizabeth had six children. Ada Sylvestria/Vestria married dentist Clifford Masters Pineo, the son of Albert and Elizabeth Pineo (1924-26 Belmont Av, Fernwood). Music teacher Ella Gertrude married civil engineer Trygve Rognaas in 1915 and went to Norway in the 1920s; she didn’t like it, moved to Hollywood, CA, and became a hairdresser to the stars, then moved to Grants Pass, OR. Nurse Grace Marion married jeweller James Archibald Andrew in 1913, divorced, and went to Grants Pass. Phyllis Eleanor married artist and linguist Jose Rodriguez, divorced, married Arthur Sullivan and moved to Grants Pass. Elizabeth “Bessie” died of meningitis at three in 1911.

The Smiths’ only son Leslie Alfred was a Royal Bank of Canada bookkeeper when he signed up with the 88th Batt, CEF, in December 1915. He later joined the Dumbells Concert Party entertaining Canadian troups in Europe. He married Loretta Claire Spring in 1919 and became actor Leslie Everson, taking his grandmother’s maiden name.In Hollywood he worked as a lighting director for 30 years on many films, including The Sound of Music. His mother Elizabeth moved to Hollywood, CA, in the 1920s and died in Arcadia, CA.


Tenants: 1912-13
: BCER conductor John M. Richardson.
: E&N stationary engineer Thomas William Kerswell Jones (b. WAL, c.1898), who married divorcée Dorothy “Lillian” Tait (née Dickinson, b.1897) in 1924; they moved back to 211 Mary St in 1936-40.
: Engineer Richard Mussen and Gertrude Luck married in Vancouver in 1911; in 1918 they lived in 929 Catherine St, Vic West.
1917-18: Philip and Elizabeth’s daughter Grace, while her husband Capt. James Andrew was on active service. James joined the CEF in 1917, stating that he had been in the Umvoti Mtd. Rifles for six years. Grace’s grandmother Bessie Bland lived with her and died in the house in 1918.

Tenants: 1920-24: Carpenter William Erickson.
: City labourer David Kidd and Jane Davidson from Scotland, and John Davidson, a salesman with A.Gordon Fulmer, druggist, at 1301 Esquimalt Rd.
: Mechanic Horace Joseph Malden (b. Manchester, ENG, 1888-1954) and Lucy Isabella (née Hetherington, b. Newcastle-on-Tyne, ENG, c.1900), a hairdresser at Marinello Hairdressing Parlors. They married in Victoria in 1925.
: Retired CPR boilermaker Arthur Edmond and Rachel Mummery, and their son, CPR and E&N fireman and conductor Albert Edmond.
: E&N engineer Thomas and Lillian Jones (see 1915 above).
1941-48: Retired farmers John Glass (b. Perthshire, SCT, 1869-1951) and Christina (née Cranston, b. SCT, 1877-1944) came to Canada in 1911 and BC in 1931. John was a member of Knights of Pythias, and died suddenly in the Hall at 723 Cormorant St.

1945-55: Frank Thomas, executor for the Smith Estate, managed it as a revenue property.
1949-81: Ronald William and Elizabeth McLean rented then purchased the house in 1956.

* From research by Gordon McGlothlen


• 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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