Victoria’s Past



.green covering

Available at Sorenson Books

The book is developed around the chronology supplied by a land title search of the property.  Following the time line back the property goes from the single lot it is today to pasture land and beyond.

Early past owners  — the Hudson’s Bay Company, Colonel Moody, Bishop Hills, Rowland Wignall Fawcett — are viewed in their historical context. Much of the content of the book is derived from material from the British Columbia Archives, and includes letters, photos etc. Other content is supplied by  the reminiscences of some of Victoria’s most well-known pioneers: Dr. Helmcken, Emily Carr to name a few.

After being purchased by the HBC from the local First Nations the property was sold in 1862, when the HBC was selling off its land holdings in Victoria. The property underwent its first subdivision with sections being bought by Royal Engineer and land speculator, Colonel Richard Moody. One year later Moody sold a 12-acre parcel  to Bishop George Hills, the Anglican Bishop of British Columbia. The property was identified in church ledgers as “Victoria Parkland ” for being located adjacent to Beacon Hill Park. To locals it became known as “Bishop’s Field.”

The property was bought as an investment and the church held on to it until 1878, when it began to sell country-sized lots. A narrow 1 1/4 acre lot that ran from Government Street (then Carr St.) to Beacon Hill Park was sold to Rowland Fawcett and James Kennedy, good, ordinary folk, one a family man with nine children and the other a bachelor.  No photos of the  Fawcett’s house, which stood approximately where Marifield House stands today, have been found but the sketch of the house’s floor plan was found in one of Rowland’s daughter’s school notebooks. (Kennedy lived in a cabin near the park.)

The house that Fawcett built lasted until 1924, when the property was sold by the Fawcett estate and replaced by the present house (named Marifield House by Toshie and David). Information and descriptions of past owners of Marifield House are provided by archival material and the reminiscences of their relatives. As for the current owners, David describes how he met his wife Toshie in Japan, gives a brief outline of her career there as a business owner, and then talks about coming to Canada and starting the B+B.