Pricey Pads Private Tour of Glen Brae Manor

Pricey Pads Private Tour of Canuck Place

Pricey Pads was granted access to one of Vancouver’s most notable historic homes, Glen Brae Manor, or more commonly known as Canuck Place.  The Scottish baronial-style mansion was built by William Lamont Tait and designed by Parr and Fee in 1910 and has become one of the most memorable mansions in Shaughnessy.  The mansion was criticized from the day it was finished over it’s unique design, including two domed turrets on either side, giving it an extremely different look from it’s neighbours.  Tait also had an enormous wrought-iron fence imported from Glasgow, Scotland, and had it placed along Mathews Avenue in front of the mansion.  The mansion originally included Italian crystal doorknobs, brass chandeliers, baked and polished brick and one of British Columbia’s first elevators which had been installed for Mrs. Tait, who had lost her leg.

Glen Brae 1925 - Copyright PD-Canada

In 1973, Mrs. E.H. Daniel told Aileen Campbell of The Province that, as a child, she’d lived in the house next to Glen Brae and saw Tait often:  “He was retired when he moved in. He was a great gardener—very proud of his house and wrought-iron fence.  He was a great man to say how much things cost.  There were rosettes in gold leaf on the fence. It was brought from Scotland at a cost of $10,000.  I remember as a child being very impressed.  That was a lot of money . . .”  In total Glen Brae had 18 rooms, one of them being a ballroom which took up the entire third floor.  It is said that the Taits had the ballroom floor underlaid with a thick and flexible layer of seaweed.  In 1919, Tait passed away and by 1920 his wife died as well.  The mansion began a slow decline with dust gathering on the stained glass windows and a $16,000 embroidery of Victoria Falls.

The KKK Headquarters - Copyright Global Bird Photos

In 1925, the once lavish and incredible private residence became the Canadian headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  The group paraded up Granville Street to take residence of their new headquarters, renting it for only $150/month.  “They paraded on the grounds in their white robes,” one neighbour recalled.  A local bylaw was passed prohibiting mask wearing and this helped in the dwindling of the KKK groups, and within a year they were out of Glen Brae.

The mansion was then rented out by a kindergarten in 1929 for only $75 a month.  Around the same time it’s reported that the home was advertised in the newspaper as a prize for a raffle, with tickets costing only $1.  In 1980, the new owners Julian and Elisabeth Wlosinski converted the mansion to the “Glen Brae Private Hospital,” occupied by a number of elderly women.  Many changes came to the house including converting the elevator to a dumbwaiter and transforming the once grand 15 metre long ballroom to a living room and two bedrooms.

In 1991, before her death, Elisabeth Wlosinski willed the Glen Brae mansion to the City of Vancouver with one remark.  The mansion was to be used to benefit the community.  In November 1995 Canuck Place opened it doors as North America’s first free-standing Children’s Hospice.  To this day, it remains the model for children’s hospices in North America providing hospice care free of charge to children and their entire families.  Today, it is regarded as one of the leading children’s hospices in the world.  Canuck Place relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and various organizations to raise approximately 80% of its operating funds, with the remaining 20% funded by the provincial government.  Over 80 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to patient care which is available to families at no cost.  On behalf of Pricey Pads, I’ve made a donation to Canuck Place and am urging all of you to donate whatever you can!  Please click the image below to access the donation page.


Sources: Vancouver History, Miss 604

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