The Burnside House in Sooke. (Kevin Laird/Sooke News Mirror)

Historic Burnside House to embark on (short) journey toward restoration

Maple Avenue property sold to Silver Streak Boats

Sooke’s historic Burnside House on Maple Avenue will soon disappear from the ground it has occupied for 134 years, but it won’t be going far.

The tidy, yellow Georgian-style farm house was built in 1884 as a home for pioneer Michael Muir and his wife Matilda Welsh, and their family of six daughters.

For decades, it was better known as a homey boarding house or bed and breakfast, a hot spot for visitors to the area.

But by this winter, the heritage house, located on 1.75 acres of land, will be moved west on the property – with every beam, wall and window intact – as the first stage of a business expansion for Silver Streak Boats. 

“It would be hard to overstate the significance of Burnside,” said Elida Peers, the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

“Michael Muir, though the youngest of the sons of pioneer John Muir Sr., was the businessman of the family, and at the helm of an enterprise that figured prominently in the industrial development of early British Columbia, especially in sawmilling and shipping.”

Peers said Burnside House is a typical farm house that would have dotted Sooke’s agricultural landscape during the Victorian era.

For Silver Streak Boats, moving Burnside House across the site and then refurbishing it could cost more than $200,000, said owner Andy Barry.

Barry bought the house and property earlier this year to build a 10,000 square-foot warehouse, but from the start he embraced saving the house as a commitment to Sooke.

“Everyone was telling me to tear it down, but I’m a local Sooke boy and it didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” he said.

Burnside House stands as a reminder of Sooke’s earliest settlers. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Sooke.

The house has a hip roof and a separate kitchen with the same roof style, which is typical of the region during this period. It rests on a rock and cedar post foundation and is clad with cedar drop siding. The interior walls were originally wallpapered with a cheesecloth backing. Several of the original 12-light sash windows are still intact, along with two of the five original fireplaces, according to the book 101 Historical Building of the Sooke Region.

Over the years, Burnside House has undergone considerable structural change, and in 1989 was awarded the Hallmark Society Merit of Excellence for restoration.

Barry hopes by this fall he can begin construction of the warehouse and another renovation of Burnside House, which will be used as a small office complex for small businesses.

He said the new warehouse is necessary to provide more space for his business, and provide off-street parking for his 25 employees.

“[Silver Streak Boats] has got no place to go,” he said. “It’s costing us money to do what we want to do.”

Silver Streak Boats builds, designs and services boats across North America, and has an annual payroll of $1.2 million.

Just Posted

Saanich set to crack down on overnight camping in parks

Local community leader says new measures promise to protect Cuthbert Holmes Park

Victoria woman to cycle Portugal as winner of BC Bike to Work Week

Malene Foyd logged 49km cycling to work with the Ministry of Environment; “I always bike to work, rain or shine.”

Victoria man in custody after downtown stabbing

Officers arrested suspect without incident, hours after afternoon stabbing

Chronic disease no obstacle for ultra-cyclist

Cross-Canada ride raises funds for Crohn’s disease

Ride Don’t Hide hits the road around Greater Victoria

More than 400 riders ride 7 to 100 km to raise awareness and funds for mental health programs

Painted pianos pop up for public play Friday in Oak Bay

Pianos can be played during the day and will be covered overnight

Late Bellingham homer sinks HarbourCats at home

Visiting Bells take two of three West Coast League games in Victoria, Cats off to Walla Walla

POLL: Do you have a family doctor?

“I don’t have a family doctor,” is an all too familiar phrase… Continue reading

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Saanich mayor says results of amalgamation referendum are not predictive

Mayor Richard Atwell warns against reading too much into the outcome of… Continue reading

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Most Read