Society launches campaign to buy Ross Bay Villa

Financial difficulties are forcing The Land Conservancy to sell off a number of its heritage properties

Broken-windows covered with plastic, walls brown with filth, and an overgrown yard strewn with garbage and old cars.

Once dilapidated and set for demolition in 1999, today Ross Bay Villa is a historical house and museum, lovingly restored back to the simple charm of its heyday in 1865.

And now, it is for sale.

Financial difficulties are forcing the owner of Ross Bay Villa, The Land Conservancy, to sell off a number of its heritage properties to pay down an estimated $7.5 million in debt.

The Ross Bay Villa Society must raise $130,000 to pay off the existing mortgage and transfer ownership from TLC to the society.

The possibility to own the property would mean keeping it safe for future generations.

“It’s not yet fully protected,” said Simone Vogel-Horridge, president of the Ross Bay Villa Society.

“It’s so important to preserve the heritage for our children and grandchildren.”

Restoring the modest cottage has been a 14-year labour of love for the society’s volunteers. More than 73,000 volunteer hours have poured into the restoration.

“We’re all heavily invested – in heart and financially,” Vogel-Horridge said.

Volunteers restored plaster, sanded wood, painted walls and dug gardens. Careful analysis went into furnishing and decorating, which was done using old photographs and an auction list from Ross Bay Villa dating back to 1879.

“The history was still there,” said Vogel-Horridge.“We just needed to find it and reveal it.”

The gnarled garden was even cleared to reveal fruit trees that had been growing since the 1890s.

One of the few survivors from the 1860s Victoria, Ross Bay Villa has been nominated as one of the province’s best buildings by the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia.

Vogel-Horridge said the society hopes to raise funds by February in time for the Villa’s 150th birthday. She said an entire year of events are planned for each month with lectures, tours and themed activities.

The society would like to raise an additional $70,000 for a legacy endowment fund to ensure Ross Bay Villa remains a part of Victoria’s preserved history.

Vogel-Horridge is hopeful. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

To make a donation, please go online to rossbayvilla.org.

 

 

Just Posted

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

Haber nets strong comeback in Pacific FC home game win

Vancouver Island team takes 2-0 win over Valour FC

Improvements to Sinclair Road coming

Development comes after Cadboro Bay Residents Association (CBRA) raised concerns

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

VIDEO: Here’s the news you missed this weekend

Some of the top weekend headlines from your community and beyond

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read