V is for…
…Ross Bay Villa
Ross Bay Villa. Sound familiar? Ross Bay? Ross Bay Cemetery? All named for the same folks. No, not the people who build Ross Bay Villa. Ross Bay was named for the person who owned the land at the time (the 1870s), “Isabella Mainville Ross, the first registered independent woman landowner in British Columbia [who] was also Indigenous, an Anishinaabe and French Métis woman.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Bay_Cemetery)
According to the official Ross Bay Villa website:
Ross Bay Villa was the home of Francis James Roscoe and his wife Anna Letitia from 1865 to 1879. While living there, they had five children: Mary, Katherine, Francis, Millicent and Thomas. (http://rossbayvilla.org/)
Yes, Ross Bay Villa is a house. And not a very big one. I am always astonished looking at some of these really old (for here) houses where people raised larges broods and had servants. I don’t know where they put them all!
A lot of research has been done on the history of Ross Bay Villa, and I encourage you to read some of it (or all of it) at the Ross Bay Villa website (http://rossbayvilla.org/history/the-roscoe-family-1865-1879/
Ross Bay Villa has been undergoing restoration for a long time – since 2000. The carpenter who has been patiently working on our house for the past couple of years volunteers his weekends to Ross Bay Villa, and has for many many years. The house was a private residence until 1999 (I think) when it was basically abandoned and almost torn down. But it was saved, and is now being restored (you can see before and after pictures at http://rossbayvilla.org/before-after-photographs/) . There are financial challenges though, since the society who owns is having to sell it off, and now the Ross Bay Villa society is trying to raise money to purchase it to keep it as a museum.
Interesting note: The Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria has its offices in Ross Bay Villa – see “Q” and “R”.
Websites of Interest
- The Ross Bay Villa official website: http://rossbayvilla.org/
- Ross Bay Villa at the Land Conservancy: http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/properties/vancouver-island-region/ross-bay-villa/