A young buck crosses in front of the rundown but historic carriage house at 1561 York Place in Oak Bay where owner Mike Miller is building a home for his family. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Last call for Father of Confederation’s carriage house

Rundown structure on Oak Bay property is free to any taker

After three years of negotiating and two attempts to relocate the historic carriage house on Mike Miller’s York Place property, the owner is making one more attempt to salvage the old green house.

Even with its double barn-doors, cute upstairs veranda and ornate stain glass windows, the condition of the two-storey carriage house is derelict and rundown at best. But, it also carries cache as a piece of colonial Canadian history, having belonged to Sir Charles Tupper, the last surviving Father of Confederation.

It’s free, come and get it. Tell your friends.

“We’ve already put this out in the past, there were no takers. This time, it’s with more of an active strategy from staff and council,” Miller said. “In this particular instance we’re working with the request [from council] voluntarily.”

Titled the Annandale estate, Tupper’s property was broken up generations ago and the house built on Miller’s portion of the Annandale property sustained a fire in 1986, he said.

The carriage house is situated on the smaller but usable portion of the lot and there is no place for it in the family’s building plans. The bottom half of the lot is rocky and steep, unfortunately, making it too difficult to relocate.

Mayor Kevin Murdoch is among those on council hoping a local champion can come forward to protect the carriage house.

“It’s an interesting design that you wouldn’t expect in a carriage house,” Murdoch said. “It is rundown, needs work to renovate back to a usable state, but it also has a regional significance, so the hope is we’ll find a home for it somewhere.”

The two storey (1.5 by today’s standards, because of the floor height) carriage house has swing-out barn doors on the ground floor and a caretaker’s space upstairs with a fireplace and a small, open living quarter, but all of it is in a rundown state, Murdoch added.

“It would never be a house,” Murdoch said. “It would be a garage with a usable space, a very utilitarian open space with a double barn door.”

Having sought the property for years, Miller acquired it in the summer of 2016. Initially, the principal of Abstract Developments tried to subdivide the property with a heritage revitalization agreement to relocate and restore the overgrown, junk-filled carriage house to Windsor Park. Oak Bay was on board, but the deal fell through.

Eventually, community support for the subdivision fell through too. Miller had also tried to relocate the carriage house to Point Ellice, and made it known that it was free to any taker.

With the building permit for their new house in hand, which includes a demolition permit for the carriage house, Miller is making one last call-out that he is willing to work with a taker who wants the carriage house. Otherwise, it comes down in late August.

“Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Miller said. “We’re trying to find a solution [but we’ve already tried], so we’re also leaving this to process.”

Interested parties can contact Abstract Developments’ office regarding the carriage house.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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The derelict but historic carriage house at 1561 York Place in Oak Bay where owner Mike Miller is building a home for his family. Miller is offering it to anyone who wishes to move it off the property and restore it. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The derelict and rundown but historic carriage house at 1561 York Place in Oak Bay where owner Mike Miller is building a home for his family. Miller has tried to relocate the carriage house and is now offering it to anyone who wishes to move it off the property and restore it. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The derelict and rundown but historic carriage house at 1561 York Place in Oak Bay where owner Mike Miller is building a home for his family. Miller has tried to relocate the carriage house and is now offering it to anyone who wishes to move it off the property and restore it. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The Annandale name etched into stone at 1561 York Place in Oak Bay where owner Mike Miller is building a home for his family. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

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