Heritage Register

1402 Stadacona Avenue/1480 Fort Street
(ex-8 Stadacona Av)

Built 1907
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: David & Emily Bale

Designer Builder: D.H. Bale

1402 Stadacona


Argos is a 2½-storey, cross-gabled Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts house. Most of the EVA&Cs were 1½ storeys, whereas this building has 2½ floors under its tall, steeply pitched roof. On the left side a large through-the-roof wall dormer is cantilevered over a narrow angled bay. A deep, five-sided, single-storey glazed conservatory is located on the left rear. There is a shallow gabled bay on the right. The front gable has two stringcourses. A single window sits below the upper stringcourse; and a band of four windows between roughcast-stucco and half-timbering below the lower. A cantilevered balcony with sawn balusters is located under the band of windows; there are modillions under the balcony. There is a dentilated beltcourse above a full-width glazed verandah, which has large, square, battered masonry pillars and a scored, parged balustrade. The steps on the left front corner have a similar balustrade. The side gables and upper front gable are shingled. The main floor has double-bevelled siding. Only a few of the spectacular stained glass windows still exist on the main floor. They are thought to have been made by Henry Fox of Victoria Glass Works. The stone wall on the left was originally much further into Fort St and “the Dardenelles”, but had to be moved to widen the street. The original wall still exists on Stadacona. Note: There is dentilated moulding everywhere on this house!

Tom and Ann McLean bought the house in 1999. The building was in need of repair, including removal of the Kenitex coating. After three years of rehabilitation, they were presented with Hallmark Society and Heritage Society of BC awards for their work.


1907-45: David Herbert Bale (b. Bristol, ENG, 1867-1945) was in Woodstock, ON, with his family by 1874. He began building and contracting in the late 1880s, and was in Victoria by 1892. In 1898 he worked as a carpenter in Fort Steele, BC. Emily Frances Haslam (b. Woodstock, ON, 1876-1949) came to Victoria in 1900 to marry David. In 1906 Bale designed their house Pharos, now 1452 Elford St, which received a full-page article in the Dec 23, 1906, Victoria Daily Times for his unusual interior treatment of BC woods. That house sold and he built Argos, a storey taller than Pharos, where they remained until David’s death.

During his long career, D.H. Bale designed and built hundreds of affordable houses in Victoria; to date about 90 have been identified. Although given the opportunity, he never joined the Architects Institute of BC when it was formed in 1920. He was often in opposition to them, and in 1928 conducted a heated debate in the Daily Colonist with local architect Percy Fox, then president of AIBC. The AIBC had requested that the BC Government amend the Architects Act to “prohibit all buildings or additions or alterations in remodelling of buildings (except those to be personally occupied by the person having this work done) unless designed and supervised through members of the AIBC.” Bale opposed this move because, as a building designer outside the AIBC, he and others like him would be greatly affected by this change. It was a contentious issue, and the amendment didn’t pass.

Bale was an avid yachtsman. In June 1914 he and Emily returned from an extended tour of the Orient in their 65 foot yacht built in Hong Kong. The Ithis was “piano finished” in Bale’s own words: built of hand-cut teak inside and out, with brass finishings and a “splendid saloon upholstered in morocco leather,” it slept 12 and boasted three tiled heads (bathrooms). Bale continued to build until about 1940, and died of heart disease in Victoria. Emily moved to Kamloops in 1945 to live with their daughter Ethel Noakes.


1946-47: Stadacona Guest House, engineer Frank M. and Eva E.J. Gannon, proprietors. In the late 1940s there also may have been a dance studio in the house. 1951-70: Mrs. Mary E. Brisbin managed the Stadacona Guest House, then from 1954-70 the Stadacona Rest Home for elderly women.

D.H. Bale researched & written by Carey Pallister & Jennifer Nell Barr for Building the West, ed. Donald Luxton, Talon Books, 2003


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West

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