Positioned overlooking the scenic and historic Gorge Waterway, Point Ellice House is among the oldest homes in Victoria and was constructed between 1861 and 1862 for Catherine and Charles Wallace. Architects John Wright & George Sanders chose an Italianate Villa-style design that was popular during the nineteenth century. The Canadian Register of Historic Places lists the character-defining elements of the house as:
- The house’s location next to the Gorge Waterway, with access to the place from both land and water
- The design of the house as a single storey (plus attic) rambling Victorian Italianate villa with all of its details, such as the shallow-pitched gabled roofs, wide overhanging bracketed eaves, verandahs and porches, medieval style chimneys, tall spacious windows and classical detailing
- The asymmetrical floor plan and spatial configuration of the interior, with its narrow halls and enclosed rooms, and the physical integrity of its finishes, such as floors, wall coverings, ceilings, doors, moldings and architectural hardware
- All of the mature historic garden and landscaping features, which include the croquet/tennis lawns, pathways, rose bushes, flower beds, mature trees and shrubs, and the sequoia tree planted by Peter O’Reilly
- The unobstructed views and relationship between house and garden
- The existing form and materials of the carriage shed
Point Ellice House was designated a National Historic Site in 1966 and became a Provincial Historic Site in 1975. The house is also listed on the City of Victoria’s heritage registry.