From the Archives: Father Christmas in Oak Bay

Frank Burrel in a Father Christmas costume circa 1900

Frank Burrell as Father Christmas in Oak Bay, circa 1900, courtesy of the Oak Bay Archives’ Burrell fond. (Oak Bay Archives/2010-010-061)

Frank Burrell as Father Christmas in Oak Bay, circa 1900, courtesy of the Oak Bay Archives’ Burrell fond. (Oak Bay Archives/2010-010-061)

Archives show us that before Santa Claus was defined by his famous red suit with a black sash, locals would dress up as Father Christmas, right here in Oak Bay.

Oak Bay Archives happily has a set of photos from the Burrell family including a 120-year-old photo, circa 1900, of Frank Burrell dressed as Father Christmas.

Burrell was office manager for Pemberton and Co. real estate in downtown Victoria and the family lived in a home called Summerdyne, built in 1896, at the corner of Oak Bay and Monterey avenues. Pemberton and Co. helped promote the development of Oak Bay before and after its 1906 incorporation.

Burrell married Kate and together they raised Katherine Phyllis (1892), Frances Joan (1896); Dorothy Grace (1897) and Frederick Steward (1894).

Burrell was also a professional photographer. His granddaughter Muriel Boyes donated to Oak Bay Archives a collection of some of the photos taken by Burrell between 1897 and 1920.

THEN AND NOW: Burrell kids travel to play in Shoal Bay

READ ALSO: Students show pandemic poise as Santa visits Willows elementary

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Frank Burrell as Father Christmas in Oak Bay, circa 1900, courtesy of the Oak Bay Archives’ Burrell fond. (Oak Bay Archives/2010-010-061)

Frank Burrell as Father Christmas in Oak Bay, circa 1900, courtesy of the Oak Bay Archives’ Burrell fond. (Oak Bay Archives/2010-010-061)