Heritage Register
James Bay

101 Oswego Street (ex-120 Oswego St)

Built 1888
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Patrick & Minnie Dempster

101 Oswego


This Queen Anne cottage, similar to 601 Toronto St, 1891, and 139 Menzies St, c.1893, both James Bay, is cross-gabled at the front, with an offset, hip-roofed wing at the rear and an attached shed-roofed addition beyond. There are sandwich brackets under the eaves all around the house. All three gables have elaborate bargeboards in the form of semi-circular arches with drop-finials at their apices. The windows on both sides of the front portion of the house have bracketed flat hoods; there are smaller hoods over the windows of the rear section, yet none on those of the addition. Beneath the front gable is a bracketed, hip-roofed angled bay, with mouldings forming panels in the casings around the windows. The hip-roofed entry porch to the right of the bay has brackets in the frieze, and two square chamfered posts and two pilasters with unusual brackets above the capitals. Fish-scale and plain shingles alternate in the gables, the shingles are fishscale on the porch roof, and the body of the house is clad in drop siding, with stucco below the watertable. The foundation is concrete; there are two corbelled brick chimneys.


1888-91: Patrick William Dempster and Minnie Taylor married in Ontario in 1881, bought the lot in James Bay in 1888 and built this house for $2,000. Patrick was a blacksmith with Victoria Transfer and a member of IOOF Columbia Lodge No.2, Colfax Rebekah Lodge No.1, Camosun Lodge AF&AM, and OES. He died in 1933 at 74. Minnie, a charter member of Colfax Rebekah Lodge and OES, died in 1944 at 83.


1892-1901: Dollie and George Moss. Dollie Smith, born in Wisconsin, came here in 1885. She wed Victoria-born George Moss in 1891. Dollie died in Seattle, in 1921 at 49. George, a clerk, railway tracklayer, and fireman, died in Seattle in 1948 at 79. Tenants:

1900-02: William and Naomi Erskine. William was born in Aberdeen, SCT, in 1827, Naomi in Cornwall, ENG, in 1835. William was a gardener. They both died of stomach cancer, Naomi in 1902 and William in 1906.

1903-04: Benjamin and Sally Temple (55 Oswego St).
1909-11: William Ritchie (1866-1947) and Emma Louise (née Luscombe, b. Victoria 1879-1971) married here in 1908. William was manager of Thomas Plimley’s bicycle repair shop; by 1921 he was partner in Plimley & Ritchie Ltd.

1912-c.16: Robert and Alice Knott, and Harry and Mabel Jones. Robert and Mabel were siblings of Victoria contractors Herbert and Horace Knott (1466 Gladstone Av,). Robert Knott and Harry Jones were masonry contractors. Alice was the sister of Ernest Whittington of contractors Moore & Whittington (1433 Vining St & 1834 Stanley Av, Fernwood).

1918-42: Tommy Davies (c.1876-1977) and Elizabeth (née Bennett c.1885-1974) were wed in Liverpool, ENG, in 1905, and came here in 1912. In 1914, Thomas joined the First Canadian Pioneers and endured three years in the trenches at Ypres and the Somme. He then worked as a ship painter at the CPR boatyard on Belleville St for 28 years. The Davies, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the Optimist Hall at 106 Superior St, James Bay, were both members of Pro Patria Branch, Canadian Legion.

1944-62: Alexander and Clara (née Fisher) Maedel were retired farmers from Ontario; they then moved to Burnaby. Alexander was a lifetime member of the Canadian Order of Foresters. He died in 1968 at 89. Clara predeceased him in 1965 at 85.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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