by Monica Hammond
In May 1891, The Home received the entire proceeds of the estate of John George Taylor – $32,500.00, which would be over a million dollars today. This gave The Home enough money to buy a large site and build the three-story brick building that still stands today near the corner of Cook Street and Hillside Avenue in Victoria.
Where John Taylor got all this money is a bit of a mystery. He left Ireland to follow the gold rushes in California and Australia, and may have had some success there. In his years in Victoria, he worked as a police constable and later as a city councilor. Neither of those occupations makes a person wealthy.
John Taylor sat for eight years on The Home’s General Committee. As the Editor of The Daily Colonist wrote in 1882: “The memory of this kind-hearted man will be honoured as long as the building created by his money endures.” The cornerstone was laid with much fanfare on June 24, 1893 and the building was officially opened on November 18, 1893.
The 1893 building is still well-used to this day. It now houses The Cridge Village Seniors’ Centre and the administrative offices of The Cridge Centre for the Family.
Photograph taken after the laying of the cornerstone ceremony, 1892 (BC Archives E-01296)
This piece is based on the work of Vernon Storey, Terry Worobetz and Henry Kennedy in their book The Home: Orphans’ Home to Family Centre: 1873 to 1998. Copies of the book are available for purchase at The Cridge Centre for the Family.