My January project was to find where Garbally House actually sat. This post is about how I went about finding the location of the actual house. I dragged my husband into the search (it wasn’t difficult, he likes maps and a mystery to solve too). It turned into a longer than January project as my first theory turned out to be the location of Garbally House #2, not the original house.
My ggg.grandparents Richard and Anne Woods moved to Victoria in 1861 and in 1862 established Garbally House as their home. At the time, according to the Victoria Heritage Foundation it was 110 acres bordering Selkirk Water. So where exactly was the house located? According to the Daily Colonist, Garbally House was demolished before 1950, so there seemed to be no point in trying to find the actual house. We were looking for the place that the house once stood.
Starting with maps
Starting our search, we looked at GoogleMaps to see exactly where Garbally Road in Victoria is located.
Although current day maps show that Garbally turns into Jutland, however, the fire insurance plan maps indicate that in 1913 Garbally went all the way to the water.
We looked at other maps online. Although we found one from 1854 that showed the area, most maps were not in sufficient detail to be able to determine where the original house might have been.
Directories of the time were not very helpful, variously listing Richard and Anne at
- Johnson Steet (1863)
- Garbally House, Victoria Arm (1868, 1871) 
- Victoria Arm (1869)
- North of David Street, Near Gorge Road (1882)
The city archives also had a picture of Garbally House shown near Pt Ellice House (see section “Not on the Point” below). This picture definitely gives us confirmation that we are in the right area, but still does not get us to the location of the house. Was it on Section V or part of the Work estate (both of which would be in the right area on the above 1854 Map)?
So, it was off the City of Victoria Archives. Sarah and Brett were both fabulous to deal with and happy to answer questions.
I looked at more maps, and more maps and more maps. Most of the maps included only the city of Victoria and the area we were focused on had little or no detail such as in the 1884 map shown here.
Reviewing the tax rolls
After exhausting their supply of maps from the period 1858 to 1920, I asked to start looking at the assessment rolls. Pay Dirt!! We found Richard Woods listed as Garbally House in “Section v”.
However, Section v is a very large section (110 acres approximately), as blocked out on the map below and is noted as Lot 7, Section 5, owned by R. Clouston in the 1854 map above.. So, where was the house? I was hoping later assessments would show the current lot and block.
The 1864 tax roll above was the only tax roll where I was able to view the actual document. All other tax rolls were only available on microfilm, so I began to go through those. As my time was short I looked quickly through the first two and took some pictures. The microfilm reader at City of Victoria Archives no longer has the ability to print screenshots, so I needed to take pictures with my phone. When I got home that evening, I had some wonderful pictures of Centennial Square behind me.
Looking at records online in the evening, I was able to find the Colony of Vancouver Island Tax Assessment Rolls for 1863-64 for Victoria District in the Government Gazette.
Reviewing the whole Extra Gazette and locating all the owners in Section V, it appears that Richard Woods likely bought the whole 110 acre parcel from Clouston and then sold approximately half, being most of the area east of what is now Douglas Road.
Heading back to the archives on the next visit, I started again going through the tax rolls (with the blinds now closed behind me). The 1865 assessment roll indicated Richard Woods at Garbally House on Section V again.
In searching the tax rolls, from 1864 to 1871 they are in alphabetic order. However, after 1865 I could no longer find Richard Woods at Garbally House, though he did have another small property in Victoria. Starting in 1872, the assessment rolls are in a specific area order by area of the City. So I was looking for Section v to be right after the Work Estate (section 4). The 1874 tax assessment roll ended at the end of the Work Estate. What? The Work Estate surrounded Section 5, why wasn’t it there. Checking the 1875 to 1889 tax rolls ended with the same results. Then my available time was up. I checked with the archivists to see what was up with the lack of information. They had more information for me on my next visit…
Apparently, Section v stayed in the District of Victoria until 1890 when a large section of the District was brought into the City.
As Garbally estate was in the District of Victoria before 1890, I went to the Royal BC Museum and Archives to look at their tax assessment records for rural properties for those years. Unfortunately, the 1889 assessment was the earliest assessment for the Victoria District held by the Archive. The 1890 to 1892 assessments rolls were listed as missing, and after that, Section v had transferred to the City. Also, unfortunately, the quality of the document for the 1889 assessment roll was pretty much useless. (Although now that I know the parcels I have been able to decipher it, I’ll update these on a later post or page).
So, back to the City of Victoria Archives microfilm I went. I did not hold out much hope as Richard had died in 1876 and Anne in 1883, but I wanted to be thorough (and you never know).
Checking the 1892 tax roll, the first time that Section v is included, I found Helen Kate Andrew living at lots 5 and 6 of block 41 in Section v. Helen Kate was the youngest daughter of Richard and Anne Woods. She had married John Alexander Andrew, who had died in 1891.
Yay, it looked like I had found the location.
Finding Garbally House #2
However, I needed to make sure it was the correct house. It was possible that Kate and John built a separate house on the Garbally estate. I had to be sure that they didn’t simply build close to Kate’s parents. Kate and John married in 1882 and Anne passed in 1883.
In the 1882-83 directory Anne was living at Garbally and either Elizabeth or Emily (Miss E.) is listed as living with Anne. The directory indicates that John Alexander Andrew was living at Government Street that year. So they had not built a separate house prior to Anne’s passing.
The 1884-85 directory still indicates that John was living on Government Street and does not list the Woods sisters at all. However, John and Kate’s oldest son Patrick was born at Garbally in 1884. The 1887 directory indicates that John was living at Garbally, not Garbally road, suggesting that it is most likely Garbally House that they moved to. That same directory indicates that both Emily and Elizabeth were now living on North Park Street. On January 10, 1887, the first daughter of John and Kate was born at Garbally. Certainly by 1888 they were living at Garbally as they posted in the Victoria Times looking for housework help.
The death notice for John Alexander Andrew in 1891 indicates that the funeral will take place from his residence, Garbally House,. confirming that Kate and John were living at Garbally House at the time of his death.
It seems more probable, then, that Kate and Andrew moved into Garbally House after Anne passed rather than building a separate house, sometime between her death in 1883, most likely before the birth of their first child.
Quite happy, I then ordered the Land Title Documents (LTO) as I now had a current address that I could work backwards from. As there are charges for historical LTO documents in British Columbia, it would have been prohibitively expensive for me to try to order all the LTO documents for every house in the 110 acres. The only way to find a sale in the 1800s is to work backwards from the present day through every sale of that property until you reach the correct date.
Unfortunately, the blocks where Kate was living in 1892 was sold to John and Kate by Robert Williams in 1890.
Robert Williams had bought it from Richard Woods in 1867.
So it was back to the records and maps.
Original Garbally House – most likely Location
Searching for more maps, I found an 1878 Brid’s-Eye view map which located the house still in the general area that I was working with for John and Kate’s house above. However, it did show it right above the part of the inlet which jutted out.
I took a chance and ordered more LTO documents, just moving my request to the west a little bit.
Paydirt! These LTO documents included the Subdivisions that went to the children in 1883 on Anne’s death, as well as those that were sold to some others. Based on this information, I was able to plot part the property as shown in the map below.
I used the above from the Victoria Archives because, although it is 1907, it provided the subdivision letters and numbers clearly. Here is a 1872 map, also provided by the Victoria Archives, showing the children’s allocations. As you can see, at that point Garbally turned toward the water and the Road indicated as Selkirk Road on the 1907 map had not yet been built.
Looking at the 1903 fire insurance map, there are two possibilities in the property to the right of Garbally – called Selkirk Road on the map – as it comes down to the water. The first is right on the corner and the second is closer to the water.
The building closest to the corner of the road is house number 401. That house was on Subdivision 37. I confirmed this by looking at the 1912 directory, which showed the same house numbers used in the fire insurance maps (some earlier directories did not). At that time, Murdoch MacIver had purchased Subdivison 37 and was living at 401 Garbally.
Therefore, I believe that the house was the building closer to the water on the map. The shape of that house also agrees with the shape of the house as sketched by Emily Henrietta Woods in 1877.
This puts the house in Subdivision A, which was given to Emily on the death of Anne. Emily sold that property one week after John and Kate purchased the new house from Robert Williams. Emily was already living at North Park Street in 1887 with Elizabeth when Kate and John were living at Garbally House.
So, it is certainly possible, and perhaps probable that Kate and John were living in Garbally House before moving to (what I will now call) Garbally House #2 where they moved in 1890.
So, now, the last thing to do is confirm that it wasn’t likely one of the plots held by the other children.
Not on the Point
Other family members have argued that the house was situated where the Glo Restaurant now sits – on the point. So, to prove or refute this assumption I did some extra digging.
Newspaper notice of the auction of lots D&E of the Garbally estate in 1893 makes no mention of any buildings, but discusses building potential and uninterrupted views of the waterfront. The tax rolls in 1892 for Blocks C and D of Section 5 show no improvements (buildings) on any of that property.
In an article in the Daily Colonist in 1915 where Kate told the story of arriving in Victoria, she states that the house was “just near” where the Cameron Lumber mill now stands as opposed to describing it as at the location of the mill.
Using a picture of the house location in 1863 behind Pt Ellice House compared to the same information today also appears to confirm that the house was not on the point. As well as the location, looking carefully at the top picture, there appears to be a boardwalk-type structure that goes down towards the point from the Garbally House.
I tried lining up a picture with the Glo Restaurant almost behind and to the left as in the 1863 image, but I could not get one that would include the bridge. I lined up the house with my first guess and that did have the bridge in the picture. However, lining it up with the third possibility (the red line), definitely shows that it is the most likely position of the house.
They would not have needed to walk down to the point once they were living there. Looking at the maps above and particularly looking at this 1907 map below, you can see how the water came up all the way to where the house was situated and that area superimposed over a current map. Some of the fill happened in 1915, I am not sure if it was all filled at that time or if more was done earlier or later.
All these pieces of information, lead me to be quite comfortable in concluding that the house where Kate and John lived, which was not on the point, was Garbally House.
Location of Garbally House in 2023
So now, we have site and size of the original Garballly estate and the most likely location of Garbally House. The building that now sits at 401 Garbally stretches down towards the water and most likely encompasses the land where the original house sat.
Here is a picture of me in the gardens of that property.
Another planned project is completing a house history for Garbally House. Stay tuned.
 Minaker, Dennis. (2004) Burnside neighbourhood history : The great estates – Finlayson, Work, Yates & Woods. https://victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/Neighbourhoods/burnsidehistory.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Nesbitt, Jim. (1950) Old Homes and Families. Daily Colonist. 05 November. Magazine section p 11 a. https://archive.org/details/dailycolonist1150uvic_3/page/n42/mode/1up?view=theater : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Goad, Charles E. (1913) Victoria Fire Insurance Plans. 666 feet to 1 inch. https://vault.library.uvic.ca/concern/generic_works/fd82fe38-5b56-4ce5-aea9-eb0781fa5570 : accessed 25 January 2023.
 Map of the Districts of Victoria and Esquimalt in Vancouver Island. Published 1854, by John Arrowsmith. 2 inches to 1 mile. The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). Reference #: CO 700/British Columbia2
 Directories. Canada. (1863) The British Columbia and Victoria Guide and Directory, for 1863, under the patronage of His Excellency Governor Douglas, C.B. and the Executive of both Colonies. Victoria, British Columbia: Frederick P. Howard and George Barnett. p 82. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1863/British_Columbia_Guide_and_Directory.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Directories. Canada. (1868) First Victoria Directory second issue and British Columbia Guide comprising a general directory of business-men & householders in Victoria and the districts; including a large portion of the mainland of British Columbia; also, An official list, postal arrangements, custom house tariff and municipal bye-laws with prefatory remarks on the commercial and political prospects of the Colony. 1868. p 50. Victoria, Vancouver Island: Edward Mallandaine. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1868/First_Victoria_Directory_2nd_Issue.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Directories. Canada (1871) First Victoria Directory, 4th issue, and British Columbia guide, comprising a general directory of business-men and householders in Victoria and the Districts with full lists of every important district in the Colony also, an official list, &c. &c., with preface and statistics. 1871. p 43. Victoria, Vancouver Island: Edward Mallandaine. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1871/First_Victoria_Directory_4th_Issue.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Directories. Canada (1869) First Victoria Directory, third issue, and British Columbia guide, comprising a general directory of business-men and householders in Victoria and the Districts, including a large portion of the mainland of British Columbia; also, an official list, &c. &c., with preface and summary. 1869. p. 56. Victoria, Vancouver Island: Edward Mallandaine https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1869/First_Victoria_Directory_3rd_Issue.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 Directories. Canada (1882-83) The British Columbia directory for the years 1882-83, embracing a business and general director of the Province, Dominion and Provincial official lists, reliable information about the country. with an appendix by Alexand Caulfield Anderson, Esq, J.P. Author of Prize Essay on British Columbia 1872, &c. p 82. Victoria, British Columbia: R.T. Williams. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1882-1883/British_Columbia_Directory.html : accessed 19 January 2023.
 A Map of the City of Victoria British Columbia. Publish 1884 by D.R. Harris C.E. 600 feet to 1 inch. Partial Image AC1-MAP-0043 Courtesy of City of Victoria Archives.
 Colony of Vancouver Island Tax Assessment Roll 1864. District of Victoria. Partial Image CoV-CR-0150 Courtesy of City of Victoria Archives.
 ibid. p.23
 Directories. Canada (1884-85) British Columbia directory containing a complete classified business and general directory of the Province, Provincial officials lists, and useful and reliable information. Also, some facts about the Country, contributed by Gilber Malcolm Sproat, Esq. p 18. Victoria, British Columbia: R.T. Williams. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1884-1885/British_Columbia_Directory.html : accessed 23 January 2023.
 Birth announcements. (1884) Daily Colonist. 06 April [birth 05 April]. ANDREW, a son. p 3a. https://ia803003.us.archive.org/10/items/dailycolonist18840406uvic/18840406.pdf : accessed 24 January 2023.
 Directories. Canada (1887) British Columbia Directory containing a general directory of business men and householders in the principal cities and every important district, with Provincial and Dominion officials, and general information about the Province. 1887. p 10. Victoria, British Columbia: Mallandaine and Williams. https://bccd.vpl.ca/title/1887/British_Columbia_Directory.html : accessed 23 January 2023.
 ibid. p 97
 Birth announcements. (1887) The Colonist. 11 January [birth 10 January]. ANDREW, a daughter. p 4a. https://ia903001.us.archive.org/25/items/dailycolonist18870111uvic/18870111.pdf : accessed 20 January 2023.
 Victoria Daily Times (1888) Wanted. Victoria Daily Times. 05 December. p 1b. https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 January 2023.
 Victoria Daily Colonist. (1883) H. Cuthbert & Co., Auctioneers. Victoria Daily Colonist. 12 August. p 8f. https://archive.org/details/dailycolonist18930812uvic/page/nundefined/mode/1up?view=theater : accessed 20 January 2023.
 Victoria Daily Colonist. (1915) Reached Victoria fifty years ago. Victoria Daily Colonist. 10 March. p 7d. http://archive.org/details/dailycolonist57y77uvic : accessed 09 September 2018.
 City of Victoria Tax Assessment Boundaries Coloured 1907 Map. City of Victoria Archives.
 City of Victoria Tax Assessment Roll 1892. City of Victoria Archives. p 346.
 Colonial Secretary’s Office. (1865) Extra Government Gazette. Vancouver Island. Vol II. January 20. https://archive.org/details/v2n4_20JAN1865_Extra/page/n27/mode/2up : accessed 27 January 2023.
 Death announcements. (1891) The Daily Colonist. 19 August [death 17 August]. ANDREW, John Alexander. p 8a. https://archive.org/details/dailycolonist18910819uvic/page/n7/mode/1up?view=theater : accessed 27 January 2023.