Large lots, many of them farm properties, were still the norm in Oak Bay in the early part of the 20th century.
The property on Beaver Street (now Beaverbrooke) near Hampshire Road owned by Mary and Thomas Unwin was no exception.
The top photo, taken around 1915, gives a sense of the space around the 1912-built home. The Unwin property extended north to what is now Smythe Street, and east to Hampshire Road.
The rear garden, in which Mrs. Unwin is reported to have spent many hours, had a clear view to the east of Monterey school.
To the north of the garden were sheds that were part of the family dairy farm. The Unwins delivered goat milk to customers in south Oak Bay by horse and cart.
Among the Unwin daughters, Hilda worked for Canadian Explosives during the First World War, and later owned and operated Oak Bay Dry Goods on Oak Bay Avenue. Mabel worked as a steno, while brother Cecil went off to war.
In 1920, Cecil and his wife, Clara, moved the dairy to Bartlett Street and ran it from there. The other sisters, most of them unmarried, lived in the family home for many years.
The home remains today (lower photo), but is on a well-treed street and surrounded by other homes on all sides.
Discover more Oak Bay heritage at www.heritageoakbay.ca.