Sunday 15 September 2019

History Corner - August 2019 - Thomas Gore

Oak Bay has been the home of our club as long as most of us can remember. Along with James Bay, it was a popular place of residence for our original society members, and many were clients of their fellow member, architect Samuel Maclure. One of these was Thomas Sinclair Gore for whom Maclure, on a magnificent site on a hilly rise on York Place off Oak Bay Avenue, oriented a chalet design, “Arran,” in 1906-1907 to capture the eastern views to distant Mount Baker. The natural granite foundations rose through a massive arch to support the first storey.
Gore, a civil engineer, was not only a distinguished land surveyor who worked on the preliminary survey of the future transcontinental railway, but was also a well-recognized photographer who recorded the landmark picture of the arrival of the first CPR train to complete the transcontinental journey at Port Moody in July 1886. Following retirement, he was President of the Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC. His elder brother William, also a civil engineer, had been Surveyor-General of BC in 1878.

Born in Ontario of Irish parentage in 1851, Gore was a talented painter, and exhibited in watercolour and oils in virtually every society annual show from 1912 to 1934. He painted many scenes in Oak Bay and the Saanich peninsula, as well as in Europe while on holiday visits. Gore served as Society President from 1926-30. He died in Victoria in 1937.

John Lover, VSC Historian