‘Father of Confederation’ raising funds for historic villa
CARLA WILSON / TIMES COLONIST MAY 1, 2015 10:47 PM
Don’t be surprised if you see a former prime minister in town this weekend.
An actor portraying Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first PM, will stage a performance to help a local group raise money to buy historic Ross Bay Villa.
The villa, at 1490 Fairfield Rd., is among properties owned by the Land Conservancy of B.C., which has embarked on a program to get itself out of $8 million in debt. Its plan includes selling or transferring most of its properties to other organizations.
The Ross Bay Villa Society, which maintains and manages the old house, is close to its goal of raising $130,000 to pay off the mortgage on the property and take ownership from the Land Conservancy.
Almost $125,500 has been committed, Stuart Stark, society Board Member, said this week.
The society is also hoping to also raise $70,000 for an endowment fund.
In the past 15 years, rooms in Ross Bay Villa have been meticulously restored by volunteers. It is a rare example of an 1860s house in this city.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Macdonald’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the construction of the house.
There’s a connection between the house and the former PM. Ross Bay Villa was the home of Francis Roscoe, who was elected as Victoria’s member of Parliament between 1874 and summer 1878, when he resigned. That vacancy allowed Macdonald to run for the seat and win it in October of that year.
On Sunday, an hour-long music and theatre production called Sir John Eh? is being staged in the villa’s garden, starting at 2 p.m., in support of support the villa society and SALON Theatre Productions, also a non-profit organization. The Kingston, Ont., company is performing the show across Canada this spring.
Tickets to the event are $10 each and available through rossbayvilla.org.
After the production at the villa, there’s a public event at the Macdonald statue outside Victoria City Hall, on Pandora Avenue, starting at 4 p.m. Theatre troupe members will be on hand.
Speakers will include lawyer Christopher Considine, the great-grandson of Sir Joseph Pope, Macdonald’s private secretary, and member of the Sir John A. Macdonald Historical Society.