Ronald McRae House
Links and documents
1892/01/01 to 1893/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Twin Oaks is a substantial, two-storey wood-frame Queen Anne Revival style house. This sophisticated farmhouse is prominently situated at an elevated site with the front of the home enjoying an unobstructed view south over Victoria to the Olympic Peninsula, in a suburban neighbourhood of Saanich.
Built 1892-93, Twin Oaks is of heritage value for its sophisticated architecture, and is one of the best local examples of the Queen Anne Revival style. It is notable for its vertical massing, asymmetrical plan, hipped and gabled roofline, and elaborate spindlework detailing. The house is notable for the extent to which the exterior of the house remains in original condition. Missing elements have been restored in a manner faithful to the original appearance, resulting in a faithful representation of a sophisticated late Victorian era farmhouse.
Twin Oaks is also of heritage value for its long association with the pioneering McRae family. The house was built by Ronald and Catherine McRae, who first came to the Saanich area in 1887. Ronald emigrated from Scotland, to farm in the Nicola Valley, and Catherine hailed from a family of United Empire Loyalists in Ontario. Their granddaughter, Thyra, and her husband Ernest Gyles, continued the McRae family tenure of the house from 1938 until the 1990s.
Built as a farmhouse for the McRaes, this house is additionally significant as a tangible reminder of the area's prominent agricultural past. Though now surrounded by later suburban development, it was surrounded by farmland for much of its history, with the McRae's large property extending to Richmond Road. The land was subdivided first in 1907 with a portion sold to the University School (now St. Michael's University School) and for a final time in the early 1950s when 4.5 hectares were sold for the adjacent development of Oak Crest Drive.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
Key elements that define the heritage character of Twin Oaks include its:
- south facing orientation, set back from the road with unobstructed views over Victoria to the Olympic Peninsula, in an elevated location overlooking the Cedar Hill area of Victoria
- residential form, scale and massing as expressed by its two-storey height and asymmetrical plan
- wood-frame construction such as its drop siding, fishscale shingle siding in the attic gable, coursed shingled banding and window surrounds with cornice and sills
- original brick foundation
- Queen Anne Revival style details as expressed by: the picturesque hipped and gabled roofline; open soffits; frieze above second floor windows; two-storey projecting bays; cutaway bay windows and wall overhangs; returned pent roofs on gables; wraparound verandah with spindlework detailing and frieze; and carpenter ornamentation such as lathe-turned columns, scroll-cut gingerbread brackets and geometric balusters
- additional exterior features such as its two early, one-storey additions at rear facing street with gabled roofs, original doors with multi-pane glazing and multi-pane transom, and matching attic windows
- regular fenestration such as single and double-assembly double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows, and 9-pane attic windows in main portion of house
- associated landscape features such as mature specimen trees including sequoia, cedars, willows and poplars, and medium height perennial herbaceous species
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
Cross-Reference to Collection