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VIDEO: Oak Bay mansion boats to Shirley

Large home barged from Oak Bay to Shirley this week

Leonard Cole of Urban Core Ventures didn’t anticipate learning more about his history when embarking on a redevelopment in Oak Bay.

The man behind the house move from King George Terrace this week – that wrapped with the final building unloaded last night – has done four or five house moves and rehabilitated or restored many more.

“Initially when I first started the process I was trying to relocate the house on the property and retain it,” said Cole of the home on King George Terrace. “It’s a pretty substantial house and if we have an opportunity to save a house we will.”

The home was too large for the, now registered, four new waterfront lots.

The five bedroom, six bathroom main house and one bedroom guest house left Oak Bay via the foreshore and arrived in Shirley last night after a 19-hour journey. Shirley is a small community between Sooke and Jordan River on Vancouver Island.

“The only real option was going off the rocks which brings in a whole bunch of other challenges,” Cole said. “It was a big undertaking … a little nerve-wracking. It was a nail biter right to the end, we had gale force winds coming up last night right near the end.”

While the quest for new property started on Salt Spring Island, he found a perfect place in Shirley, which sparked renewed interest in his family history.

“Saving and preserving this beautiful home, the Sea Lion was very important to me and especially where I found its new home,” Cole said. “Shirley, B.C., is near and dear to my family. Edwin Clark, my great grandfather settled the area and owned property. My grandfather Ray Clark and my mother Shirley have fond memories of Muir Creek and the surrounding area.”

Originally built in 1928, the home will now serve as a refuge for his family because of the family history.

“It’s pretty neat so the plan is to keep it and retain it,” Cole said. “It’s in position now, it’ll be a long road to get it put back together.”

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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