The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

After 30 years as Greater Victoria regulars, Bob and Jan Fleming are selling their famous Tulip House on Beach Drive.

The couple are Americans who split their year between Oak Bay (near downtown Victoria) and Marin County, California. They’ve spent many months here every year since they bought the home in 1989. And they’ve worked tirelessly on the home, especially the flower beds, reaching a point of local fame.

“It’s been quite a pleasure being part of the community,” Fleming said. “It’s been very satisfying to see so many people being pleased with the flowers. People take pictures and send them to us, with thank yous, and we’ve had people knocking on the door, thanking us.”

READ MORE: Famed ‘Tulip House’ goes for new record

But the future of the flower beds are now in question as Bob Fleming blames B.C.’s new speculation and vacancy tax for forcing them out of the country. As a foreign owner, the couple are charged a two per cent tax on the assessed value of the house. B.C. Assessment’s 2019 assessment for the property is $1.368 million, which amounts to $27,360, annually.

Bob Fleming prepping the flower beds in the fall of 2018. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

“I’m sorry to say it, but it puts us in an unfortunate position,” Fleming said. “We’ve had good memories. And now we’ll have the memory of being kicked out of the country. Canada is not very receptive now to second home people.”

The speculation and vacancy tax applies to residences in the Capital Regional District, including Oak Bay. The couple might purchase a home somewhere else in Canada but are unsure at this point.

In the meantime, the Tulip House is listed for $1.395 million. It has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a total of 3,700 square feet (including a finished 1,400 sq. ft. basement).

“It was supposed to be our retirement home,” Fleming said. “We are only a couple years out from retiring. It’s just the way it goes.”

READ ALSO: Photo gallery of Oak Bay garden putting petal to the metal for summer flowers

They started the flower beds years ago with a small bed, and every year the made it a little bigger and better, he said.

This spring the beds boasted 12,000 tulips and currently there are 12 different varieties of begonias.

“We try to make it better every year because we get so many people coming by, the tour buses, tourists, residents, and it’s been a real pleasure when they come by and chat with us.

“We’ve also spent a lot of money on flowers, on food, on house maintenance, and if it were only $700 or something like that we could afford it. But we can’t afford that extra $25,000 to 30,000.”

Meanwhile, Fleming noted it’s common for Canadians to own places in California and Arizona.

“We don’t tax extra in the U.S. Not only does B.C. tax foreigners but also other Canadians. It’s obvious we’re not welcome.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The ‘Tulip House’ at Beach Drive and Dalhousie Street is for sale for $1.4 million. The Flemings, Bob and Jan, planted 12,000 tulips this year and then replaced them with begonias. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Just Posted

(THE NEWS – files)
Snowy days ahead for the Okanagan and Shuswap

The region could get up to 5 cm by Thursday

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

(Photo: Graham O'leary/Facebook)
UPDATE: West Kelowna firefighters called to ATV rescue in Glenrosa

The incident happened just before 9:30 a.m. Monday

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Two Kelowna flights flagged for COVID-19 onboard

The flights were on Jan. 14 and 18

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Group of cowboys on horses out rounding up cattle, 1888. The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is celebrating Vernon Winter Carnival’s Wild West theme with a virtual trip back in time looking at the ranching days. (GVMA #5021)
Museum rounds up North Okanagan’s wild west past

Vernon Winter Carnival event, Meanwhile…Back at the Ranch, Feb. 9

Virtual programming will assist the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society in spreding environmental education. (ABNCS photo)
North Okanagan nature centre online with gaming grant

Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society benefits from provincial funds

Penticton Search and Rescue completed two rescues in succession of each other Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 afternoon. (PENSAR / Facebook)
Penticton Search and Rescue members execute back-to-back rescues

PENSAR had barely completed their first rescue of the day when they received a second call

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read