Heritage Register
James Bay

161 South Turner Street

Built 1911
Heritage-Designated 1987

For: George & Genevieve Sangster

Designer/Builder: Alexander McCrimmon

161 South Turner


This well-preserved residence is an unusual example of a two-storey, hip-roofed Foursquare, with Arts & Crafts detailing. The design is severely geometric but not unornamented. Narrow drop siding creates densely textured wall surfaces, relieved by the high stringcourse and low beltcourse, granite foundation and battered entrance porch columns. The enclosed porch is balanced by a shallow box bay, with another two on the right side, covered in one heavy hipped roof. The second-storey windows are tucked against the eaves, their sills linked by the stringcourse; 6-light basement windows balance above the beltcourse. The proportions are repeated in the arrangement of the window lights. The eaves are wide, with narrow frieze and crown moulding, echoed in narrow corner boards. The red brick exterior-wall chimney, which was painted white for many years, is a feature on the north wall of this landmark corner house. McCrimmon also built 231 St. Andrews St, James Bay, and his own house at 504 Linden Av, Fairfield.


1911-91: The Sangsters bought this property from J.C. Newbury (140 Government St, James Bay). George Sangster (b. Aberdeen, SCT 1864-1947) came to BC in 1872. He was employed as a farmer by Robert Porter (649 Superior St, James Bay) in North Saanich and then as a bookkeeper for Porter in Victoria. He married one of Porter’s nieces, Elizabeth “Genevieve” Haldon (1868-1940) who was born in a log cabin at Craigflower Farm (Island Hwy, View Royal) and attended the 1854 Craigflower Schoolhouse (2755 Admirals Rd, Saanich). Her father, John Haldon (c.1818-1894), was a pioneer Saanich farmer who cleared land on the peninsula on what became Blink Bonnie Farm. After John died, his two unmarried sons, John and Foster, took over the farm. When they left for the Klondike, they leased the land to George and Genevieve, who raised their children and ran a mixed farm there.

When the brothers returned, George and Genevieve established a dairy farm near what is now Victoria International Airport. In 1906 George became the first reeve of Sidney and North Saanich. He was a long-time member of BC Agricultural Association and Saanich Pioneer Society. In 1909 they sold and moved to this house. (The Sangsters also owned 116 South Turner St from 1910.] George was a city alderman in 1918-21 and 1923-24. After Genevieve’s death, he retired to Mills Rd in the Patricia Bay area of Saanich. Their unmarried daughters Margaret “Dan” (1893-1991) and Victoria “Babe” (1911-1978) Sangster continued to live in the house. Margaret was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Victoria, a civil servant with the BC Government. Their widowed sister Catherine Sylvester (1891-1956) moved over from 116 South Turner St in 1949-50. They all remained in the house until their deaths.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• Before & Afters

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

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