Matthews Ave. & Marguerite St. This year the Tait Mansion turns 100 years old. I found a bunch of history on the house here… It’s pretty fascinating.

It was built by William Lamont Tait, a retired lumber baron. The enormous wrought-iron fence (you can’t see it in the photo but it’s still there) was imported from Scotland at a cost of $10000. The house had one of BC’s earliest elevators, installed for Mrs. Tait, who’d lost a leg. And the entire third floor was a ballroom, with a layer of seaweed underneath the flooring to give it some bounce. The Taits died in 1919 and 1920, and the house was empty until 1925 when it became the Canadian headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan. The city enacted a bylaw that banned the wearing of masks, and membership dwindled… they were gone in less than a year. In 1934 the house sold for $7500, a tenth of what it had been appraised at in 1920. Throughout the thirties people were referring to it as “the Mae West house” for obvious reasons. Today it’s Canuck Place, a world-renowned hospice for children.

Being in the heart of Shaughnessy I fully expected that this time for sure someone would knock on the van and tell me to move, but it didn’t happen. As I got up this morning an arriving staff member looked at me curiously, but didn’t say a thing.

Next stop: the Crescent!