Heritage Register
James Bay

35 Olympia Avenue
(ex-35 Olympian Av)

Built 1912
Heritage-Designated 1995

For: Francis & Ione Giolma

Architects: Percy Leonard James & Douglas James

35 Olympia


This 1½-storey British Arts & Crafts-style house is dominated by a front-facing gable. It has a through-the-roof gabled wall dormer on the right side and a wide and deep through-the-roof, shed-roofed, full-height box bay on the left; there is a cantilevered flat-roofed, shallow box bay on the rear. There are short, stocky finials and rabbeted bargeboards on all the gables, and exposed rafter tails under the eaves of the main roof and the shed roof of the bay on the left side. All gables have stucco and half-timbering above the high string courses which form headers to the upper floor windows; a belt course between the two floors also forms the header to the main floor windows. There are knee brackets on the corners below the main gables and on the sides of the shed roof. A full-width balcony sits on the verandah roof, which extends around the left side to the bay. The balcony has four heavy square posts separating square balusters; two pilasters sit below the knee brackets. The verandah’s bracketed posts and pilasters are directly below those of the balcony; its balustrade is solid and shingled. The entry stairs on the left front access the verandah extension leading to the front door. The stairs have solid, shingled, stepped balustrades. The house was stuccoed over the original shingle siding, but has been restored to its shingles; the shingles are flared over the basement windows in lieu of drip caps. All the windows are multi-lights. The foundation is concrete. This house was designed by noted Victoria architects James and James, and built for $3,600.


Francis "Frank" Giolma was born in Kent, Ione in Yorkshire, England. They came to Canada in 1906 and lived on the prairies for two years while Frank wrote novels. They then came to Victoria and lived at 416 Luxton St, James Bay, in 1910-11. Frank was with the 88th Battalion during WWI, and was mistakenly reported dead. His “grave” is marked in Courcelette, France. Ione received a letter from Frank in a hospital in France one morning, and in the afternoon, received another letter saying he was dead.

In 1918, Frank became an MLA for Victoria as an Independent Soldier Candidate in a by-election. He was a freelance journalist and writer, and during the 1920s and 1930s, wrote publicity for the Victoria & Island Publicity Bureau for newspapers and magazines around the world. He is credited with creating the slogan “A Little Bit of England.” Frank was still living in this house when he died in 1968 at 90. Ione predeceased him in 1959 at 79.


Marie de Bretton Giolma, Frank’s older sister, lived in the house in the mid-1930s. She was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1874 to Rev. Alfred Giolma and Elizabeth Buchanan, from Greece. Marie worked as a stenographer for the BCER, and died in 1942 at 67.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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