‘Incredulous’: Oak Bay homeowner gets anonymous letter criticizing house’s design – BC

An Oak Bay, B.C., homeowner is sharing a somewhat nasty letter he received in the mail this month criticizing the exterior design of his house.

Walter van de Rijst told Global News that the anonymous card read, “Shame, shame, shame on you for building such a revolting home in Oak Bay, how did it ever get approved?”

He was “incredulous” upon reading it, he said in a Friday interview.

“It took me aback for a second, just wow. Then I thought, this is really funny. Why would somebody go to this much trouble?” van de Rijst asked, adding that the card cost $4.99, according to its label.


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He said he decided to share the card’s content on social media, just to see how the internet would react. To date, he said about 250 people have reacted to his Facebook post — 99 per cent of whom have given him a “thumbs up.”

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“People have been amazing,” he said, “It’s nice that people have been so supportive … a lot of people were amazed at the gall that somebody had — that they would go through this much trouble.”


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Van de Rijst and his wife bought the property in October 2020, but their hopes of renovating the home — built in 1914 — were dashed. They tore it down in December 2021 and completed the rebuild in February last year.

“And here we are today, very happy,” he said.


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The home reflects their vision, he added. van de Rijst designed the kitchen himself, his wife did all the bathrooms, and the couple designed other elements together, with help from a local design company.

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch said the card was “kind of silly.”

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“We all have our homes, right? And we want our homes to represent what we love,” he said. “I wouldn’t want anybody to not feel welcome, I’m really glad this homeowner is taking it with a sense of humour, which I think is what it deserves.”

— with files from Richard Zussman

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