Heritage Register
James Bay

15 Menzies Street
(ex-168, 162 Menzies St)

Built 1890
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: William Henrey Wheeler

15 Menzies


This shallow-hip-roofed, symmetrical Italianate Cottage was originally one storey and had twin chimneys. Although the upper front fa├žade has been largely preserved, much of the house underwent a series of ill-advised renovations in the late 1970s. The house, now two storey, was raised and a faux brick main floor was added to the front, whilst the rest of the building was stuccoed. The loss of the original chimneys, replaced by skylights, is especially serious in so balanced a design. The inappropriate bricks and modern windows, wide open stairs, and stuccoed rear and sides are at odds with the period of the house.

The house has a central entry between hip-roofed, angled bays. The entry porch has a pediment above a spindled frieze and is supported on bracketed, turned posts and pilasters. The panelled door has a transom and sidelights. There is a hip-roofed, full-height, box bay on the right side of the house. Paired sandwich brackets in the eaves around the house have been retained.


Assessed at $1,400 in 1891, the house was built for William Wheeler, a tobacconist at Government and Courtney Sts. He lived in it, then rented it out latterly. In 1907, Alexander and Grace McDermott purchased the property. Alexander, born in St John, NB, came here in the early 1890s. He married Isabella Clarke in 1898 in Victoria. She died two years later at 22 of typhoid fever after a camping trip to Albert Head in Metchosin. Alexander then married Grace Fraser in New Westminster. Alexander was a stevedore and owner of Victoria and Vancouver Stevedoring, Ocean Stevedoring, and International Stevedoring Companys. He died in 1949 at 82. Grace, born in Nova Scotia, lived in Victoria until her death in 1958 at 80.


Frederick and Alice (McLeod) Garnham (620 Battery St, 609 Toronto St) lived here c.1914-17, followed by many other residents. Herbert Clive and Ellenor Margaret (McCann) Ingall lived here from 1933 until the early 1940s. They were married at the New Thought Temple on Pandora Av in Victoria in 1922. Herbert spent much of his life in the Canadian Army until retiring in 1940. He died in 1949 at 62, Ellenor in 1964 at 69. From 1944-69, the Wallers resided here. Albert Waller and Caroline Tyler lived in Winnipeg for 37 years before moving here in 1943. Caroline died in 1948 at 66, Albert in 1973 at 93.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay

House GrantsHeritage HousesResources & PublicationsNews & EventsBuilding CommunityAbout