1535 Prospect Place

Situated on a gentle bend along picturesque Prospect Place, ‘Sheilin’ is a Chalet/Arts and Crafts residence with one-and-one-half storeys and a full basement, with a prominent front gable clad in board-and-batten. It is nestled behind the original stone wall and stone piers, adjacent to other heritage properties.

Heritage Value: 

‘Sheilin’ was designed by architect David Cowper Frame (1882-1960), a versatile designer whose career spanned the decline of traditional architecture and the rise of Modernism. He apprenticed under Victoria-based architect F.M. Rattenbury, a placement that put Frame in a position to expand his social and professional network, leading to a number of residential and commercial commissions. His work was eclectic and varied, but Frame established himself in the Arts and Crafts genre. 'Kingsmont' (1910-1911), designed for civil engineer George Ogilvie Leask, is a massive stone house on the crest of Gonzales Hill in Oak Bay, and one of the area’s most impressive architectural landmarks. Other commissions include the Chinese Public School (1908-09) and the Alexandra Club (1909-10), both in Victoria, demonstrating Frame’s versatility and range of clientèle.

Built in 1909, this house is a fine example of an Arts and Crafts chalet bungalow with a low-pitched roof and heavy timber brackets combined with the shingle cladding on the first storey and board-and-batten in the gable. Smaller decorative details include three small leaded windows with heart motifs on the north side. Rear verandahs face east taking advantage of the views across the Strait of Georgia to Mount Baker. In its siting, architectural style, interior details, such as wood panelling and plate rail, and use of granite rubble-stone on the porch and boundary wall, ‘Sheilin’ adheres to the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts style.

The heritage value of 'Sheilin' – which is the Scottish word for a shepherd's hut, or shelter – is as part of the first planned subdivision in Oak Bay, and illustrates one of the ways in which Oak Bay developed in the early years. After incorporation, in 1906, the Municipality evolved from a recreational and agricultural area to a residential community. In 1898 architects Francis Rattenbury and John G. Tiarks, recognizing the potential value of the Oak Bay waterfront, purchased land extending from Oak Bay Avenue eastward to present-day San Carlos Avenue, property that would become part of Oak Bay. The parcel of land was acquired from the estate of the late Joseph Despard Pemberton, former Surveyor General of of the Colony of Vancouver Island. Over the next few years the partners began development in the area and influenced construction of quality homes on adjacent land, including 'Sheilin', and Rattenbury’s own residence, ‘Iechinihl’ (1899), located nearby on Beach Drive and now the primary location for Glenlyon Norfolk School.

This site makes an important contribution to the ambiance and streetscape of Prospect Place which is a winding lane with no sidewalks that has the appearance of being in the country even though it is only one block away from busy Beach Drive. Prospect Place leading off Oak Bay Avenue and terminating at Rattenbury's own residence was an integreal part of the Rattenbury/Tiarks urban plan.

Character Defining Elements: 
  • rocky, sloped lot, views to Mount Baker
  • prominent location, residential setback from the road
  • form, scale and massing
  • low pitched front-gable roof with two shed dormers
  • wood frame construction and rubble foundation
  • style details such as: varied cladding including shingles, and board and batten; heavy eaves brackets; stained-glass windows with heart motif
  • exterior architectural elements such as: three internal chimneys with corbelled brick chimney stacks; broad verandah running length of back elevation supported by massive battered granite piers; sleeping porch
  • fenestration, and window types such as: double-hung sashes in single- and multiple-assembly; diamond-paned upper sashes
  • original interior features such as: fireplaces with cast iron fireboxes and tiled surround; wainscotting, grooved and bracketed plate rail, exposed beams, built-in side board with distinct, ‘L’ shaped brass hinges, woodwork, double pocket door
  • landscape features such as: original granite walls and piers, mature oaks and other mature coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs
Identifying Names: 
The Mrs. Catherine Watson House
Cranmore / Willows
Oak Bay
Capital Region District