The Ross Bay Villa was the home of Francis and Letitia Roscoe from 1865 to 1878.
Located at 1490 Fairfield Rd. Victoria, BC
Francis was a hardware merchant and active community member. In 1874 he was elected Member of Parliament to pursue the completion of the trans-Canada rail link, the promise that brought British Columbia into the Dominion of Canada in 1871.
In 1865 when the Roscoes arrived, Fairfield Road was not a road, the cemetery across the street was pastureland and tall trees – not large buildings – dominated the neighborhood. There was no electrical service, no piped water, no sewage system.
When Francis died in 1878, Letitia sold everything and returned with her children back to her family in England.
Fast forward to the present. In 1999 the building was set to be demolished. The yard was overgrown and full of derelict vehicles. Research by members of the local heritage community revealed that this was one of Victoria’s few remaining 1860’s residences. The fledgling Land Conservancy was persuaded to purchase the property, it’s flagship historical restoration.
Hundreds of volunteers from the Ross Bay Villa Society (no longer part of The Land Conservancy) have worked to return this site to a showcase of mid-Nineteenth Century taste and refinement. Archaelogical digs, historic photographs and diaries, paint and structural analysis, careful removal and documentationof the layers of wallpaper (more than 100!) have provided additional information to make this an exceptionally accurate interpretation of a very Enblish home during the boom years of B.C.’s gold rush period.
From a personal perspective, I find Ross Bay Villa a jewel not to be missed! The painstaking research, attention to detail, the many original period pieces of furniture and the meticulous re-creation of wallpaper, linens and decorations show what a true labour of love it was (and still is … as there is on-going work in various parts of the house).
When you visit you will find many knowledgable and enthusiastic volunteers who will share with you the history of the house as well as the fascinating re-creation that has brought much of it back to it’s former glory.
There is a small gift shop adjacent to the house with some lovely gifts and local items to purchase.
I highly recommend a visit! And while you’re in the area … do NOT miss the historic Ross Bay Cemetery which is directly across the street. More information at our post: Ross Bay Cemetery