Oak Bay Heritage talk explores Maclure’s lasting legacy

Historian and planner Jim Wolf explores architect Samuel Maclure – the man and his legacy, Oct. 19 at Windsor Park Pavilion

Samuel Maclure

Few people – if any – have had the impact on the local architectural landscape as Samuel Maclure.

Join Oak Bay Heritage this coming Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Windsor Park Pavilion for a talk exploring his legacy.

Jim Wolf, heritage planner and historian from New Westminster,  will explore the life and legacy of the famous Oak Bay architect who moved to Oak Bay in 1907 and lived here until his death in 1929.

Wolf came to study Maclure in researching his influence in the historian’s hometown of New Westminster. Through his offices in Victoria and the Lower Mainland, Maclure designed homes extensively for these communities, but also across Canada and into the U.S., Wolf notes.

With hopes initially of being an artist, he came to his career later in life and largely learned on the job, bringing some of that artistic aesthetic to his work. His homes “have a special quality, especially the ones to the middle and latter part of his career,” Wolf says.

Among the most basic questions – with no easy answer – is how many Maclures are there? Wolf started with a list of about 350, but that has since grown to more than 850.

Delving into Maclure’s past is no easy task, as the man left few personal written records and no diary. Unlike some others of his time, like the self-promoting  Francis Rattenbury, Maclure was quiet-spoken, so much of what we learn comes from others, Wolf notes.

“He was very prominent within the profession but he didn’t go out and seek attention,” Wolf says.

For historians, that means looking at his friends, co-workers, family, newspaper archives and building records: “What was the record that was left?” Wolf asks. “(It’s) looking for the clues between the relationships.”

It’s telling that after his death, his daughter remarked that the family “didn’t know he had so many friends that he had helped in so many ways,” Wolf says.

Wolf’s Samuel Maclure presentation gets underway at 7 p.m. Donations are welcome and refreshments will be served.

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