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380 Newport Avenue, Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/02/25

'Bryn-Y-Mor', 380 Newport Avenue, exterior, 2012; District of Oak Bay Heritage Committee, 2012
front view
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Other Name(s)

Sydney Pickles House
380 Newport Avenue
378 Newport Avenue

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/03/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

380 Newport Avenue is a large two-and-one-half storey house located in Oak Bay, British Columbia. The house has a side-gabled roof with a cross gable at each end flanking a pair of gabled dormers. It is situated on the highest point of the lot, well back from the street, from which it is separated by a large garden.

Heritage Value

Located in what was Golf Links Park Subdivision, this property is important as an illustration of a phase in the development of Oak Bay. The subdivision - 15 hectares adjoining Victoria Golf Club, which was then becoming increasingly popular - was established by a syndicate which included: Dr. Oswald Meredith Jones, the owner of the land; William Oliver, the Mayor of Oak Bay; John Virtue, a local hotelier; and Frederic Pemberton, a son of Joseph Despard Pemberton. Joseph Pemberton had been Colonial Engineer from 1851 to 1859 and Colonial Surveyor from 1859 to 1864. The syndicate claimed the project would be 'the peer of all subdivisions', offering prestigious lots with views over the golf course and Juan de Fuca Strait. Although some lots were sold, the project stalled with the onset of the First World War, and this site is one of the few original houses within the Subdivision.

This house is valued for its contribution to the streetscape along Newport Avenue. Its majestic facade and location on the highest point of the lot - for which the house was named 'Bryn-y-Mor', meaning hill overlooking the sea - complement the other residences along the west side of the street.

The house is further valued for its first owner, Sydney Pickles, who designed and built it himself in 1926. Born in Australia, Pickles was a pilot and an engineer in the aeronautical industry. At the age of eighteen he became one of the very first pilots, earning Aviator's Certificate number 263, flying a Bristol aircraft at Brooklands, United Kingdom; he was later elected a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Pickles is remembered as the first reeve of the District of Central Saanich, located north of Oak Bay on the Saanich Peninsula. In 1960 he donated land to expand John Dean Park; Pickles Bluff within the park now bears his name.

Source: District of Oak Bay Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of 380 Newport Avenue include its:
- picturesque setting on high land with views across the Victoria Golf Course to Juan de Fuca Strait and Trial Island
- location of the house on the lot, with maximum setback from the street
- residential form, scale, and massing, with front gabled roof and cross gables, gable-roofed dormers
- concrete-block construction, with cast concrete foundations, brick detailing around the windows and doors, precast concrete detailing, brick steps
- style details such as half-timbering, rough-cast stucco, barge boards with decorative tails, drop finials in the gable peaks
- exterior architectural details such as one brick chimney with parging (plastering), decorative brickwork, and a flat flue cover
- regular fenestration
- original interior features including parquet floors with some Australian hardwood; two fireplaces, lighting, and earthquake bracing
- landscape features including a long winding driveway with original concrete and crushed gravel, concrete block retaining walls and gate posts



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)

1926/01/01 to 1960/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Sydney Pickles


Sydney Pickles

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

District of Oak Bay Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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