1538 Beach Drive

Bide-A-Wee is a two-storey waterfront house located on Beach Drive overlooking "Oak Bay" in the District of Oak Bay.

Heritage Value: 

Bide-A-Wee is important to Oak Bay as the home of Mrs. J. D. Helmcken, widow of Dr. James Douglas Helmcken, a well-known doctor in Victoria son of J.S. Helmcken and grandson of Sir James Douglas. Built in 1922 to replace the family's summer cottage, this home is representative of Oak Bay’s transition from sea-side village to suburban bedroom community.

The architectural value of this house lies in its design by the well-known architect Samuel Maclure. The house is important as an example of Maclure’s domestic architecture in the Arts and Crafts genre as illustrated by the detailing (half-timbering and stucco) of the exterior and the formal spaciousness (and fine plasterwork) of the interior. The close proximity of the house to the water and as part of a grouping of homes of similar age, contributes to the character of the Beach Drive streetscape.

Character Defining Elements: 
  • Views between the house and the waterfront.
  • Restrained stucco and half-timbering exterior.
  • Steeply-pitched roofline with front-facing gables and tall chimneys.
  • Original floor plan with a central staircase, outside porches and spacious reception rooms.
  • Historic interior detailing such as the fireplaces with mantles and tiles, the plasterwork on the ceiling, and the large picture windows dating from the Helmcken residence in the house (1922 to 1950s).
  • Historic garden pathway and close proximity of the house to the street.
Identifying Names: 
Bide-a-Wee, The Mrs. J.D. Helmcken House
Oak Bay
Capital Region District