Saturday, May 16, 2015

Heritage in the Gorge Tillicum neighbourhood and the Saanich Heritage Foundation

I need your help documenting and protecting the heritage of the Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood.

I am a board member of the Saanich Heritage Foundation because I have a long time interest in the history of the Greater Victoria area.  The Saanich Heritage Foundation primarily looks after the heritage register and provides grants to owners of designated to fix and renovate their houses.   It also has a general mandate to promote heritage conservation, which is why as a board member I want to be proactive in getting more houses designated in Saanich.

There are two levels of heritage recognition.  The first is registration and this puts the house on the heritage register but offers very little protection for the house.  The second is designation.  A designated house gets protection from the municipality and qualifies for funding from the foundation to pay for some of the costs of renovation and restoration.

Too often when people consider heritage only the houses that were built for the rich are considered appropriate for protection but I think this is an error.   In Saanich there are many houses that I believe have heritage value because they are where the average people lived in the past and they have retained most of their look and feel from that past era.  

This is the only photo I can find of the eastern part of the Tillicum neighbourhood when being construted
The eastern part of Gorge-Tillicum is the oldest suburban neighbourhood in Saanich but because most of the houses built as part of the post world war one boom by and for the middle class or working class very few of them have been considered heritage.   The area between Tillicum Road, the Gorge, Harriet Road and Hwy #1 only has six houses registered and a single designated one.    As a member of the Foundation board I want to see this change, I want to see people value the average houses from the past.

I know this neighbourhood still has many houses built between 1919 and 1930 that are still in reasonably good condition.   I know of at least a couple houses that were built in the 1890s.  I know of one house that is an Eaton catalogue house around here as well.   I would like to see many more houses at least become registered, but I need your help.

I am looking for people that can spend some time and look around at what houses there in the neighbourhood that might be worth getting added to the heritage register.

I have had some consverstions with local home owners and two of them are considering designating their homes.  One couple owns a worker's cottage built in 1919 that they have done a lot of work on to restore to the look it would have had in the 1920s.   It is that sort of house I think needs protection because there are almost none of them left.  Our heritage is so much more than Samuel McClure inspired houses from the same era

If you have a house that was build before World War Two I would love to talk with you about why you might want to designate your house.

I can be reached at 778-265-1647  or email me

You can also find me in my home, a 1909 workers cottage at 3079 Orillia Street which is not protected because it is on its last legs.

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