Built for newlyweds Bert Todd and Ada Seabrook in 1910, Oak Lane was originally called Blytheholm Manor which means “home of light and gaiety”.
Mr. Todd went on to become Mayor of Victoria, and in his den conceived the idea for the Peace Arch monument erected at the border between Canada and the United States.
An avid automobile enthusiast, Bert Todd was one of the first people in Victoria to have an automobile, and when drivers’ licences came into play, he held licence number 13. Learn more about this in the Times Colonist article Our History: When The First Cars Came to Victoria. Back in its early days, the house boasted one of Victoria’s first “interior garages”.
The Todds were avid vegetable gardeners, with 3,000 square feet under cultivation. They raised Rhode Island Red chickens, and sold fresh eggs and produce. The building was converted to apartments in the 1940s, and in 1953, it became known as the Glendower Apartments.
Oaklane was designed and built by George C. Mesher & Co., and a registered Heritage building in Victoria, BC. The Victoria Heritage Foundation describes the building in the following way on its website:
“This large, cross-gabled, two-storey Craftsman house has stucco and half-timbering in the gables, the rest of the house is shingled. There are first-floor, shed-roofed, cantilevered bays on three sides. A sleeping porch, now enclosed, on the upper right front, sits over the inset entry porch with its shingled corner post. The shingles are flared over the denticulated belt course which separates the upper and main floors. Casement windows are in banks of three or four or paired. The house has a fieldstone foundation. On the basement left front is an interior garage, one of the earliest in Victoria. The house was converted to suites in 1942.”
Since 2010, I have worked to restore and renovate this property, keeping its design and aesthetic true to the Arts and Crafts principles of the era in which it was originally built. Wherever possible, local, period-correct and eco-friendly materials have been used.