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.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

VIDEO: Saanich family competes on first season of ‘Family Feud Canada’

Charania family will face off against the Torres family from Hamilton, Ont.

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Victoria councillors advocate once again for free youth transit passes regionally

The idea was originally rejected by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in August 2019

Oak Bay confirms first heritage conservation area

Heritage bylaw for The Prospect neighbourhood in final phase

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Greater Victoria’s wanted list for the week of Jan. 28

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Are you concerned about the coronavirus?

The coronavirus which has sparked concern around the globe has now arrived… Continue reading

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

Most Read