One of the houses that will be featured on the 2017 House Tour put on by the Gallery Associates of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. (Contributed photo)

2017 House Tour features all Oak Bay homes

The five luxury homes will be filled with regional artists and floral arrangements

Morgan Cross / News contributor

Each year, the Gallery Associates of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria hosts a House Tour featuring stunning art in a range of luxury homes. This year, the five homes chosen are all Oak Bay ones, showcasing artists at work and spectacular floral arrangements within walking distance of each other and plenty of Oak Bay residents.

New chair of the communications and marketing committee for Gallery Associates, Pat Preston, said that some homes in Oak Bay serve to satisfy a more traditionally elegant taste, while others a more contemporary one.

“A couple of them have wonderful renovations,” Preston said. “You look at the front of the house and you would never know what lies beyond.”

Right now, the house list has yet to be released for the 64th annual House Tour. That information is for ticket-holders, said Preston. House captains will be on-hand in each home to guide guests, while volunteers will supervise for homeowners who have generously donated their spaces for the day Sept. 24. One interesting home on this year’s list is owned by two biologists who nurture a Garry oak meadow in their yard.

Six Vancouver Island artists who work in various mediums and styles will be featured in the homes. “Richard Hunt is in one, and he’s an extremely well-known carver from Alert Bay, originally,” said Preston.

Hunt has lived most of his life in Victoria and began carving at a young age. Between 1973 and 1986, he moved from apprentice carver to chief carver in the Thunderbird Park Carving Program. For his work, he received the Order of British Columbia in 1991 and, three years later, the Order of Canada. A member of the Royal Academy of the Arts, Hunt also received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in 2004. His work is on permanent display at the Harbour Air Seaplanes Terminal. Ticket-holders will have the chance to meet him and view him at work.

Also on the House Tour is ceramicist Mary Fox, sculpting her distinctive Raku pottery alongside other vessels and forms. At her studio in Ladysmith, Fox incorporates the look of sandstone and tide pools found near her home. Fox shows at national and international galleries, most recently participating in the 2017 Fired Up! show in Metchosin.

Will Millar, a concert performer, composer, poet, singer, historian, storyteller, author, TV host and humanitarian adds another creative pursuit to his list Sept. 24, as he plans to paint in one of the homes on tour. Currently based in Duncan, Millar channels his Irish upbringing in painting.

Mary-Ellen Threadkell will showcase her abstract paintings, based on colour themes and her depiction of what she sees, rather than a scene or subject’s direct transcription. Threadkell says regarding her work, “The spaces between, behind and beside are part of the journey.”

Painter, graphic artist and muralist Keith Holmes, who has painted more than 30 murals in Alberta and B.C., and whose paintings are displayed in major collections across Canada, will be featured in an Oak Bay home. He is known for capturing western Canadian landscapes, as well as intimate interiors and still life scenes.

Joan Pattee, specializing in copper enamelling with educational roots in the University of Quebec, the University of Winnipeg, the New School of Art in Toronto and a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, works in a variety of mediums. While Pattee still works in copper enamelling, she also uses water colour, acrylic, oil and mixed media to portray her artistic vision.

On the House Tour alongside the six artists will be floral arrangements by local florists Amanda Gaunt, Rilla Ballantyne, Susan Weeks, Ann Francis and Janet Van Klaveren.

The Gallery Associates organize fundraisers year-round to support the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Ticket information for the 2017 House Tour, and other events and programs, can be found at

As in past years, the Gallery Associates expect thousands of guests to enjoy the luxury homes, artwork and floral arrangements on the self-guided House Tour.

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