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235 Denison Road

235 Denison Road, Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/02/25

235 Denison Road, exterior view, 2007; District of Oak Bay, 2007
Front facade
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Other Name(s)

235 Denison Road
Edgar W. Griffith House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

235 Denison Road is a two-storey residence in the Art Moderne style, clad in shiplap siding and located on a rocky wooded lot in Oak Bay, British Columbia. Three flights of stairs, placed at angles, lead to the main entrance on the second level.

Heritage Value

235 Denison Road is an integral component of a cluster of Art Moderne houses in this rocky area of Oak Bay, and is valued for its rarity as one of the few houses in this style in Oak Bay. Buildings in the Art Moderne style are characterized by flat roofs, horizontality, curves, ribbon windows, and stucco cladding. The style was popular in Europe, less so in North America, in the late 1930s and during the Second World War. 235 Denison Road illustrates the streamlined characteristics and minimal ornamentation that are the hallmarks of the Art Moderne style, although it is unusual in that its horizontality is expressed in its shiplap siding as well as in the horizontal glazing bars. The house is part of a cluster of Art Moderne homes located along Denison Road, King George Terrace and Sylvan Lane. Together, these properties represent a rare grouping in the Greater Victoria area.

235 Denison Road is further valued as the work of architect Percy Leonard James, who designed it in 1938 for Edgar W. Griffith, Deputy Minister of Welfare for British Columbia. James trained as an architect in his native England; at the age of 30 he came to Victoria and opened his own office. He was involved in a number of prestigious projects such as the Crystal Garden for the Canadian Pacific Railway. James spent 1934 in England, where he was exposed to European Modernism, which he embraced wholeheartedly. His last and largest commission was for the Federal Building and Post Office (1952) in Victoria.

Source: District of Oak Bay Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of 235 Denison Road include its:
- picturesque setting on rocky land amongst mature Garry oak trees
- siting on the lot, set well back from the street
- residential form, scale, and massing
- flat roof
- wood frame construction with concrete foundations and shiplap siding
- Art Moderne style details such as corner windows, curved roof over front door, simple railings, and horizontality
- exterior architectural details such as two stucco-clad chimneys, steps up to main entrance arranged in three short flights each at an angle to the next
- casement windows with horizontal glazing bars, regular fenestration
- landscape elements such as mature Garry oak trees



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Percy Leonard James



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

District of Oak Bay Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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