Your hosts Judith and David are the owners and operators of Kennedy House. We bought it in 2003, but didn’t open the B&B until 2007.

Kennedy House began life as ‘The Wilkinson’ residence in 1913, and was built by the owner of the BC Carriage Works on Selby Street a few blocks away. The house next door was also built at the same time. It has gone through many renovations in the last one hundred years; sold first to Eaton’s Department Store and the managers always lived here until the 1960’s, when it was sold to a dentist. From then on, it had several owners, most notably when it became the first Boys and Girls Club in the 1980’s.

Many children, now grown up with children of their own, come by to visit and tell me how they used to play here. Subsequently it was sold as a rooming house and then left empty for several years. When we bought it, it was a very sad place, painted orange and derelict. It even had squatters in the basement! I had always loved this house however.

My first job was teaching at the old Malaspina College when it stood at the end of Kennedy Street. (Now a seniors residence and before that, the Nanaimo Hospital) In 1975, it was still a beautiful home, covered with ivy and well kept. Everyday I walked by the house on my way to work and wished I could own a house like this someday. Be careful what you wish for! Somehow I talked my husband into buying it and selling our beautiful home on Southwind Drive in Lantzville to pay for it.

Of course it needed a lot of work. In fact, it took my husband (and me) five years to completely restore and renovate the entire house from basement to roof, both working full time at it. We did mostly everything ourselves, except the plumbing. We tore out the old moldy kitchen and bathroom and added a beautiful country kitchen but in the older style (although we do have a granite countertop) with glass doors and checkerboard tiled floors.

The stained glass had to be taken out and repaired, most of it was broken, but we found someone who had the patience to do it. All the original fir woodwork was stripped, stained and varnished. The thirteen or so layers of wall paper in each room was also removed and the walls replastered after also being rewired. (Removing the old knob and tube and various other aluminum wirings.) We added three more bathrooms and redid the original ones as well.

The floors had to be redone. Some were tiled, or were painted and covered with moldy filthy carpets. The basement has been sealed and the gardens have been all redone. The back yard sloped toward the house, so it has been terraced and leveled. We have put in some new sidewalks but there is more that could be done. The lot is a double city lot so we also have a lovely cottage/garage/workshop in our back garden adjacent to the lane. This is also where the dogs sleep in the summer. In winter they sleep quite nicely together in our back porch off the dining room.

Kennedy House B&B loves animals and people; we love people who love animals. Because we have one very shy kitty, who lives in the basement (she came with the house as a kitten) and doesn’t like people; we have three dogs, Buck, Blue and Wally. Buck and Blue are outside only dogs. They are huge, gentle and happy to guard the house. Their mother was a foundling wolf puppy from Quadra Island, a few islands north of here. She was bred with her owner’s yellow lab and when we heard about these pups we were on our way to buy one! Unhappily there were all sold by that time, but the owner assured us we would get the pick of the litter the next time. And we did and called him Buck.

He looks a lot like his mother but is much bigger, weighing in at about 150 pounds now that he is ten years old. Blue, is from another litter from the same wolf mother. He is very hairy and is now about twelve years old. We adopted him sometime after we had Buck, as his former owner couldn’t look after him. And Wally, a Yorkie/Bichon combo is our latest acquisition; I had offered to look after him when he was just six weeks old, when my bridge partner had to be hospitalized. She acquired a hospital borne infection and died very suddenly, so now we have three dogs.

He used to be called Waldo, because he was an escape artist, but now that all the holes and escape routes have been found and blocked, he is now just Wally and we love him dearly. For a small dog, he has learned his place, and doesn’t bark or intimidate other dogs. A very good house pet but only allowed the confines of the garden and the kitchen, due to the possibility of our guests’ allergies. For this reason and three other reasons, we do not allow other pets to stay over, unless they stay confined to their own travelling crates.

For an interesting tale please read….

A Ghost Story