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McRae Residence

1445 Ocean View Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/04/15

Exterior view of the McRae Residence (Cedar Hill Golf Course).; District of Saanich, 2004.
Oblique view.
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Other Name(s)

McRae Residence
George McRae House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1902/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/10/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McRae Residence is a two-storey wood-frame British Arts and Crafts farmhouse situated on a grassy hill in the Quadra area of Saanich, overlooking Victoria to the Olympic Peninsula.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the McRae Residence is associated with its development within its neighbourhood context. Quadra, located directly north of the Victoria-Saanich border, is a large urban neighbourhood created from subdivisions of its early farms. Much of the south part of Quadra was originally W.F. Tolmie's Cloverdale Farm, just one of the large farms in the area cut from the forest by the 1850s. Tolmie was a prominent local surgeon, Hudson's Bay Company officer, politician and major early landowner in this area of Saanich. The Canadian Northern Pacific Railway ran a service from Victoria to Sidney through the area from 1915 to 1935; their spur line ran until 1990 and is now used as a regional trail.

Begun by George McRae in 1901 and completed after his death by his widow Elizabeth in 1902, this house is valued as one of the oldest surviving farmhouses in Saanich. Situated in open green space atop a slight rise and unobstructed by other homes and buildings, this structure has retained much of its authentic context, and provides a significant visual reminder of the early farming landscape of Saanich. Cedar Hill Golf Course was developed on the land c.1917 by golf professional Harry W. Eve, who rented it from Elizabeth McRae.

The McRae Residence is an excellent representation of the influence of popular architectural trends on local house construction. The influence of the British Arts and Crafts Domestic Revival style, very prevalent at this period in Saanich's history, is evident in such decorative elements as scroll brackets, decorative trim in the gables, and lathe-turned verandah columns. The substantial size of this house gives a valid indication of the needs of a large farming family in the early twentieth century.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the McRae Residence include its:
- form, scale and massing
- situation within a park-like setting, in particular its location atop a large grassy slope
- spatial relationship to Cedar Hill Golf Course
- unimpeded sightlines to the house from Finlayson and Cedar Hill Roads
- fieldstone foundation, double-bevelled siding on the main level, and cedar shingled upper floor
- stylistic elements such as the stucco and half-timbered gable decoration; saddleback roof; decorative brackets; and large shed-roofed verandah with lathe-turned columns



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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