It’s a scene straight from a Harry Potter movie. Or perhaps it’s the headquarters for the pending zombie infestation, or even the convention facility for the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It certainly needs tidying up before the next meeting to avoid someone having to go to a doctor for a rather nasty tetanus shot.
As our economies continue to deteriorate, scenes like this are becoming more frequent and much easier to find. It is unclear if this old character home has been left abandoned due to financial issues facing the current owners, or if there’s something else at play here. Regardless, it was a truly striking scene to encounter, especially in this specific neighborhood.
This old home sits pretty much right on the border between downtown Victoria, BC and the affluent neighborhood of Oak Bay. Just a block away from our main city hospital, the Royal Jubilee, which itself is in the Oak Bay area, this is something you would not expect. And given that we’ve scouted this place out now for over 9 months, it seems that there is no rush to deal with it directly.
Absolutely covered in graffiti, fresh signs of vagrants and homeless people were easily spotted in the yard and surroundings. And when we say fresh, we mean fresh. We have no doubt that people were actively in the building at the time we were doing this shoot, which for personal safety reasons precluded us from even attempting to enter. No doubt what lays inside is a cornucopia for HDR photography, but in this case it’s all left to our imagination.
Oak Bay is full of wonderful old heritage homes, with some of the highest average property values in the country. People who live nearby here take great pride in their homes and surroundings. This only adds further intrigue and mystery to the story, with all questions left unanswered. On the other hand, it does make some sense… to a degree. The downtown core of Victoria over the past few years has found itself amidst an increase in violent crimes, drug abuse and gang activity, so with this home being on the outskirts it does make for a great burrow for the homeless and destitute.
If you’re planning on buying this property with an eye towards a quick little cleanup followed by a housewarming BBQ, you will need to plan in advance. Two people at minimum will be required to operate the BBQ: one person can hang by one arm from the remaining railings and use the other hand to hang onto the dangling BBQ, the other person will have to lean out the door and flip the burgers. At bit tricky perhaps, but it will definitely add some rich character to the evenings festivities. And watch that first step there… it’s a doozy.
The inside here must be incredible to witness. The roofing appears to be haphazardly implemented in the first place, and Mother Nature herself has been busy dismantling things. This has resulted in gaping holes left unattended, and undoubtedly the inside here is deteriorating rapidly and is even probably full of mold. Just standing near the house, you get wafts of decay.
The place almost appears as if it was designed and built, and then turned upside down. A tall, narrow and long home with Tudor accents, the character and shape is just so utterly compelling. The loss of our history and heritage is something that we are acutely aware of these days as we strive to document places in their current condition. This is our effort to bring history forward to the future in the event these places disappear forever.
The obvious issues in having a facility in this condition in the location it’s in are quite evident. Crime and homelessness are on the rise, and decrepit buildings like this are a magnet for trouble. Not to mention the effect these have on local property values already feeling the downward pressures of our economy. But, if we tear all these old character homes down and replace them with modern condominiums, soon all that will be left of our history and heritage will be a handful of memories and some photographs.
This truly is a modern-day dichotomy we find ourselves in, with no easy answer. The cost of repairing and refurbishing buildings like this one probably mean this is an activity left to those with emotional ties to the home. There certainly would be no profit to be found here. Yet with that all being said, the questions of our heritage and history remain.
What is your view on this issue? We really do love hearing from all our visitors, so please don’t hesitate to join in the discussion and share your thoughts. Many thanks for your visit here today, we really appreciate it.