Heritage Register
James Bay

60 Menzies Street

Built 1922
Heritage-Designated 2013

For: George W. Playfair

60 Menzies


This front-gabled, single-storey Craftsman Arts & Crafts Bungalow has a shallow, gabled, cantilevered box bay on the left side of the house. There are exposed rafter tails in the eaves, knee brackets in all the gables and bargeboards with cutout ends. On the right front is a gabled porch extension with square posts and a solid balustrade interrupted by a panel of flat balusters; the front door is original. Side-facing steps with a stepped balustrade lead to the front porch. Shingles in the gables and the basement are separated from the main floor by a string course and beltcourse; the main floor is clad in bevelled siding. Windows are one-over-one sashes, with multi-paned lights in the gable and basement. There is a brick chimney towards the rear on the left. This five-room house was built for $2,400.

Playfair, Playfair & Cramer (PP&C), builders & developers, were responsible for the construction of many houses in this neighbourhood. Immediately after WWI, the federal government provided a house-building subsidy for returning soldiers under the Soldiers’ Settlement Plan. In Victoria, more than 50 took advantage of this subsidy, and several of these houses have a close affinity to 60 Menzies St, notably 971 Bank St (Gonzales), 136 Wellington Av, 127 Eberts St and 919 Richmond Av.


1922-26: George William Playfair, Jr. (b. ON 1869-1925) and Grace Elma (née Vanalstine b. ON 1873-?) were married in Winnipeg, MB in 1897. George was from a large family that moved in 1880 from Ontario to Baldur, MB, where they farmed and built houses. He is listed in the 1913 Victoria city directory as working in real estate. He partnered with his brother John, who lived at 51 Lewis St with his wife Gladys, and their cousin George Cramer (53 Lewis St, James Bay).*


1927-31: William Walter Rowson (b. Habberly, ENG 1881-1933) and Ada (née Wensley, b. ENG, 1881-1967), residents of Victoria in 1912, had married in Yorkshire, ENG, where Walter was a warrant officer in the Canadian Army. In Victoria, he was a salesman at Cross & Co. He died at 52 of an accidental gunshot wound.

1934-35: Charles James Haddon (b. ENG, 1884-1958) and Agnes (née Semple, SCT, 1889-1974). Charles arrived in Canada in 1904, and moved to BC five years later. When he married Agnes in Vancouver in 1911, he was working as a fruit rancher in Arrow Lake, BC. In Victoria he worked as a BC Government district forester. Charles died in Vancouver as the result of an automobile accident.

1936-41: Frederick Charles Hardisty (b. Yorkshire ENG, 1903-1956) and Madeleine (née Sonnier). Frederick arrived in BC in 1913. He was an electrical technician for the City of Victoria. The Hardistys later moved to nearby Croft St.

1942-51: William Calvin Sparham (b. Kent, ENG, 1863-1946) and Lillian (b. London, ENG, c.1889-1953). William arrived in Victoria in 1906 and worked as a shoemaker. Lillian continued to live in the house after William’s death in 1946. At the time of Lillian’s death in 1953 she was living at 544 Dallas Rd. She died as a result of an accidental gas leak in her room.

1952-53: Walter W. Arthurs, RCN.
1954-56: Laurence “Laurie” Cottrell (1920-2014) and Meryl Charlotte (née Crouse, b. Lunenburg, NS 1919-2005) lived at 60 Menzies St while James and Elsie Cottrell were next door at 64 Menzies St. Laurence was a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy.

*additional research by Davyd McMinn


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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