Photo Credit: Steve Hodder
4383 W 3rd Ave, Vancouver BC
This Craftsman-style two storey home was constructed in 1925 and sits on a north-facing sloped lot just south of Aberthau Mansion. 4383 West 3rd Avenue is now barely visible from the street due to the abundance of well-established trees along the sidewalk and front of the property.
4383 West 3rd (4389 West 3rd at the time) was designed by William Frederick Gardiner, who designed at least 40 other wood-frame houses, brick apartments and commercial buildings in Vancouver between 1908 and 1927, including the Victoria Block (now Victorian Hotel) at West Pender and Homer Street.
The home was built for owner Col. Oscar Fitzalan Orr, city prosecutor of the firm Mackay, Orr and Vaughan, and later Chief Police Magistrate of Vancouver. Col. Orr resided here until his death at 100 years of age in 1992. He served in the Canadian Forces from 1908-1913 and again in 1916. On July 16, 1916 Orr was hit with a three-ounce piece of German shrapnel which passed through the bridge of his nose and down his throat. He miraculously survived and kept the fragment of steel on his mantelpiece thereafter. He even was invited for tea with the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace on his 190th day as lieutenant. Later in life, Orr was honoured with a Judge Begbie Award, became a recipient of the Order of B.C., was made a Freeman of the City of Vancouver, and was again contacted by the Queen on his 100th birthday.
For a brief period, city directories show C. W. Chorley residing here from 1943 to 1946. This was likely during the time when Orr was enlisted as the army’s Assistant Judge Advocate General of Canada’s Pacific Command and went to Asia to observe war crimes in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Oscar and his wife Marjorie raised two sons in their home, Alex and Oscar Jr. Alex, a flying officer for the RCAF, passed away in 1943 in an air crash in Burma (Myanmar).
Prior to the home’s construction in 1925, this property appears on the 1912 Goads Fire Map as a large vacant lot of 165 feet in width, spanning from West 3rd down to West 2nd. It likely remained a large lot, showing as lots 27-31 on the 1926 permit until it was subdivided in the late 1990s to allow for two new properties to the west.
Situated in West Point Grey, this area has seen significant change over the years. Initially it was home to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. In 1791 Spanish explorer Jose Narvaez landed on the shores of this area, naming it Langara Point. Approximately one year later, Captain George Vancouver arrived and renamed the area after his friend Captain George Grey. Significant residential development in the area didn’t start until 1912, shortly after the Municipality of Point Grey was established in 1908. In 1912 the area gained a streetcar route running along 10th Avenue from Alma to Sasamat Street, down Sasamat to West 4th. To this day, you can still see remnants of the streetcar as Sasamat is significantly wider than most other non-arterial streets. This home is located just northwest of the Jericho Lands, a 90-acre property that served as a military base from during WW2 to 2014. The Jericho Lands property has been habited from the early 1900’s, initially housing a Boy’s Industrial School which opened in 1905, then Jericho Hill School for the Death, and now West Point Grey Academy.
Heritage Vancouver Building Permits Database, VPL British Columbia City Directories 1860-1955, VanMap