Vancouver Heritage House Tour and Manson’s Deep

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Never heard of Manson’s Deep? You’re not alone. It’s one of the deepest points in Howe Sound just off Point Atkinson. It’s also been a burial ground for old sailors since 1941.

Manson’s Deep gets its name from Captain Thomas Manson who came to Vancouver from Scotland in 1892.

Captain Manson. From Westcoast Mariner, 2000
Captain Manson. From Westcoast Mariner, 2000

According to an article by Kellsie McLeod*, Manson, himself was buried there in 1946. Part of the service, she writes was the recital of a poem: “Now again, ‘Old Cap,’ you’re with your first love, with the sea. We hear you shout, ‘Stand by and tack, when the Shetland Isles you see.”

Kellsie’s own husband, Ernie McLeod, had his ashes scattered from a tug into Manson’s Deep in 1977. Ernie was a rum runner and appears in Sensational Vancouver “built on rum,” chapter as well as in the ghost chapter because the house that he and Kellsie lived in on Glen Drive was haunted.

Vancouver Heritage House Tour
Manson’s House. Photo courtesy the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and to Martin Knowles Photo/Media

You may even catch the ghost of Captain Manson on the annual Vancouver Heritage House Tour Sunday. The West 2nd Avenue house is one of nine houses that you’ll be able to get inside. Others include craftsman houses in Kerrisdale and Kitsilano, a Tudor in South Granville, and WilMar on Southwest Marine Drive. WilMar, a 9,000 square-foot 1925 house on a two-acre lot was in the news recently because of redevelopment plans that will hopefully save the old mansion from demolition.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation
WilMar, 2050 SW Marine Drive. Photo courtesy Heritage Vancouver

If Art Moderne is more to your taste, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation has you covered. You can get a peek inside the Barber Residence—that’s the big white concrete house that sits up on the West 10th Avenue hill near Highbury in Point Grey.

Apparently there is some dispute as to who designed this futuristic looking house (remember this was 1936). My money is on Ross Lort, a super talented architect who is featured in At Home with History. At one point Lort worked with Samuel Maclure, and he designed Maxine’s on Bidwell, G.F. Strong building on Laurel, the Park Lane Apartments on Chilco and Casa Mia on Southwest Marine Drive.

Barber Residence on West 10th. Vancouver Sun photo, 2011
Barber Residence on West 10th. Vancouver Sun photo, 2011

If you need to buy tickets on Sunday, they are $42 or $31.50 with student ID. You can pick them up after 9:00 a.m. at the information booths at 3118 Alberta Street and 2744 Dunbar. These are also two of the tour houses.

* Westcoast Mariner, 2000

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  1. Hi Eve,

    I am researching a story about Mariner’s Rest in Howe Sound for the Western Mariner Magazine. In the course of my research, I have come across references to Manson’s Deep located in deep water off Point Atkinson. I am trying to learn more about Manson’s Deep, whether there are any decendants of Thomas Manson I could contact and the exact location of this burial ground. Would you have any leads you could share with me?

    Rick Crosby

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