Point Ellice House and Gardens in Victoria, BC appeals to many visitors looking to enjoy everything related to the Victorian era. It was built in 1861 and became home in 1867 for Peter and Cathleen O’Reilly, and their four children: Frank, Kathleen, Mary Augusta, and Arthur (also known as Jack).
Many come to see the family belongings still frozen in time, or to stroll through the beautiful gardens that continue to grow heritage roses and hollyhocks, or to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea on the lawn…or, in some cases, they look for a paranormal encounter.
Wait…Did You Just Say Point Ellice House is Haunted?!
Yes, the house is haunted. There have been many eye- and ear-witness reports of a ghost believed to be Kathleen O’Reilly, the eldest daughter, roaming around the house, and a few have also seen her mother Caroline. Others have heard a man’s voice speaking when it was obvious that the area was empty.
Another story has cropped up from the house’s later days when the O’Reilly’s grandson John was giving house tours on a smaller scale. His wife Inez was approached by a couple wanting a tour. However, she was busy and asked them to wait. When she did finally catch up to them, they claimed they already had a tour from a lady in a blue dress. When Inez showed them the dress left behind by Kathleen, they acknowledged that this was the same one worn by the mystery tour guide.
And it’s no wonder; Kathleen loved her family home! She turned down a few good men for the married life and remained a ‘spinster’. But, the family stuck together as a very busy Victorian family. So if you happen to bump in to a family member on your visit, they are not likely to be the sort of ghost you see in the movies, scaring the wits out of people!
Today Point Ellice House is a Unique Vancouver Island Attraction
The official website for Point Ellice House describes it as “a time capsule of household Victoriana,” and you will see why once you explore. It would seem that the romance of this time period had a ridiculous amount of work put into it, even with servants; there was no way any person in this house lounged around in their pajamas and kicked back occasionally. But, the home continues to impress guests and is now a Heritage Site ever since John O’Reilly and his wife Inez sold the house and its belongings to the Province of BC.
Today, the tour includes a full English-style tea. Weather permitting, you can enjoy it out on the grounds for special ambience. Since the house has its own dock, Harbour Tours from the Inner Harbour has made it one of their stops, or you can drive to 2616 Pleasant St. if that works better for you. The house is open from May to September year-round and occasionally for special events in December, and there are admission options for children as well as adults.
Point Ellice House and Gardens has the largest collection of Victoriana in North America and is a popular choice for visitors. Some come for the history, some for a chance to see a ghost or two. Either way, it’s a great way to see the daily life of the O’Reilly family and stay for afternoon tea.
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