Chances are if you live in Vancouver or Victoria you’ve either been inside a Maclure house or at least walked by one. Sam Maclure has his fingerprints all over dozens of houses in Shaughnessy, Oak Bay and Rockland, many with grand central halls and lots of wood panelling, as well as more modest houses in New Westminster and James Bay. In total he designed almost 500 houses during his 40-year career.
I wrote a lot about Maclure in both At Home with History and Sensational Victoria. The architect shook up both cities using early Tudor, Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts and Chalet styles and turned them into his own West Coast style using native woods—he even designed the gardens.
Born in New Westminster in 1860, Maclure started out as a telegrapher, taught himself architecture and began designing homes in 1890. In 1892 he hung up his shingle in Victoria and advertised in The Colonist that “S. Maclure, architect, also designer of artistic furniture and interior decorations. Address room 13, Five Sisters’ block.”
Unfortunately the Five Sisters’ Block and Maclure’s own homes – two in James Bay and a third on Beach Drive in Oak Bay are all gone.
But Maclure fans can take in three of his Victoria houses on Saturday October 16. The tour, put on by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is led by Martin Segger, an expert on Maclure and the author of Victoria, An Architectural History (1979) and The Buildings of Samuel Maclure: In Search of Appropriate Form (1986).
Segger will give the introductory lecture at the Legacy Gallery before the tour which will take in three houses, one in Rockland and two in Oak Bay. The Charles Fox Todd house on St. Charles Street was built in 1907 at a cost of $16,000. Called Illahie (meaning ‘our land’ in Chinook), it is a massive Arts and Crafts house that was converted into six suites in 1943. Maclure designed Tor Lodge, the second house on Foul Bay Road in 1907 for J.J. Shallcross and it’s described as a “fine example of the Arts and Crafts/Chalet architectural style.” The owner of the third house built in 1910 for W.H. Churchman-Kirkbride has just completed a massive renovation. It’s a nice example of an American Arts and Craft, and since 1992, has housed Emily Carr’s 1914 cottage in the back. The cost of the tour is $150 plus tax and includes bus, ferries, lunch and lecture. You can sign up at www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org.
Some other Maclure houses:
The flamboyant Queen Anne at 403 St. Georges Street, New Westminster (1890)
Gabriola, 1523 Davie Street, Vancouver (1905) and now Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Hatley Castle, now Royal Roads University in Victoria (1908)
Brock House, 3875 Point Grey Road, Vancouver (1911)
W.C. Nichol House, 1402 McRae Avenue, Vancouver (1913)
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