Other Ross Bay Families


Other families followed the Roscoe family at Ross Bay Villa.

1884: The Winter Family

George Winter Senior rents Ross Bay Villa for his hack and livery business between 1884 and 1889.

George Winter was the carriage man for Government House. The family used to live in the Stable building at Government House before moving to Ross Bay Villa. He worked for several Colonial Governors and later for the Lieutenants Governor of the province of British Columbia.


1889: The Combe Family

Harvey Combe at Ross Bay BC Archives I-61548Harvey Combe and his wife, Charlotte Margaret  married in 1883.  They lived at Ross Bay Villa from 1889 – 1892. Harvey Combe was a native of the Isle of Wight; his wife came from Ontario.

Mr. Combe was the Supreme Court Registrar. Both he and his wife were avid golfers. They were instrumental in establishing the Victoria Golf Club in 1893, the oldest course in Canada on its original location, and second oldest in North America..

The earliest photographs of Ross Bay Villa were from their time living in the house. At right, Harvey, his wife Margaret and their son Brian are pictured on the front porch at the Villa.
Photo: BC Archives I-61548


1892: The Winter Family

Winter Family 1892

George and Margaret Orrock Winter and family moved into Ross Bay Villa in 1892. The photograph above shows one of the Winter wagons outside Ross Bay Villa in that year. Mrs Winter died in 1900. George Winter Sr. remarried in 1902.

In 1910 George Winter granted an easement to the B.C. Electric Railway Company across the front of the property to allow construction of a streetcar line on Fairfield Road. In 1911, George Winter died. The address of the property officially became 1490 Fairfield Road.


1912: The Mortimer Family

Stonemason John Mortimer and his daughter Adele move into 1490 Fairfield Road. He was the founder of Mortimer’s Monumental Works, the firm responsible for many of the headstones and other monuments in Ross Bay Cemetery, across the road.

The Mortimers installed a sewer line and re-roofed the house with new cedar shingles, stained red. A new kitchen was installed at this time, repurposing the old master bedroom. New kitchen windows and a new back porch off the new kitchen, were added.

At this time a “Marble Cutter’s Yard” was shown on a map just to the west of the house, and a “Bakehouse and Showroom” were next door to the east. (Directories list John Peddle, as a baker).
Photo below from Mortimer family collection.

Ross Bay 1914 with bakery

In 1921 John Mortimer died. Adele, his daughter, purchased the house from the Winters.


1924: John Wallace

Adele Mortimer rents 1490 Fairfield Road to John Wallace, a Blacksmith

Ross Bay c1924 with Phillips Stonewarks

At this time the large shed to the left of the house in the above picture has a sign on the roof saying “Phillip’s Stone Works”.


1928:  Shorrock Family

Walter Shorrock, an engineer, and his wife Fanny, are living at 1490 Fairfield Road. They lease, then purchase the property.


1931: Langford Family

Walter Frederick Langford and his wife Ida May Langford purchase the house from Fanny Shorrock. In 1947 Walter Langford dies.


1952: Hewison Family

Raymond and Elizabeth Hewison purchase 1490 Fairfield Road. They do numerous repairs and upgrades to the house and property. The Hewisons were friends with the Langfords and had visited the house while the Langfords were in residence. Mrs. Hewison knew that an old bookcase was in the house when the Langfords were living there. Later, the Hewisons would donate that bookcase back to Ross Bay Villa. As it turned out, the bookcase was original to the house – dating from 1865 – and it had survived all of the ownership changes over the years.
Mike Hewison, one of their children, has been a volunteer at Ross Bay Villa since 2000, helping with the restoration.


1988: Six business partners

Six local businessmen purchase the house and its two lots, and rent it out. The house deteriorates during this period. A request for demolition is made in 1998 for future redevelopment. The City orders a 60 day freeze on demolition under heritage legislation.

At this time the Hallmark Society publishes a book called The Winter House: Ross Bay Villa 1865-1998, by Jennifer Nell Barr, Mary Doody Jones and Helen Edwards to raise awareness of the importance of the property.


1999: The Land Conservancy

On April 29, 1999, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia assumes ownership of Ross Bay Villa. A downpayment on a mortgage was made,  with a loan of $50,000 from the Heritage Building Foundation of the Hallmark Society and donations of $5,000 and $7,000 from two supporters of heritage in the City.

2015: The Ross Bay Villa Society


Ross Bay Villa FINAL FINAL Fundraising Brochure PHOTOSHOPPEDOn October 23, 2015, the Ross Bay Villa Society took over ownership of Ross Bay Villa. The Society spent a year raising $135,000 to pay off the mortgage, then in default, when The Land Conservancy was in severe financial difficulties. The purchase by the Society saved it from a possible private sale.

The Ross Bay Villa Society was formed in 2013 by knowledgeable volunteers who had been both restoring and managing the site since 2000. 

The mandate of the Ross Bay Villa Society is to continue to preserve the site, and open it to the public for regular tours; special events; lectures; workshops and more; while raising money to ensure its continued conservation into the future.

The Society welcomes new members and supporters to assist in the preservation of this remarkable historic site.


Much of the above information is from the book The Winter House: Ross Bay Villa 1865-1998, by Jennifer Nell Barr, Mary Doody Jones and Helen Edwards and its reprint: Ross Bay Villa: A Colonial Cottage 1865-1999. Published by the Hallmark Society, 1999. Thank you for this research.