This photo in the Dunsmuir collection is not the Dunsmuirs under quarantine, but friends of theirs. The sign on the fence reads:
“Scarlet Fever- This house quarantined until Oct. 31 by order of George Duncan.”
There was a small outbreak of scarlet fever in the fall of 1895, the possible timing of this photo. At the time, the city health officer, Dr. George H. Duncan, was praised for his swift action to contain the outbreak of contagious disease.
The women pictured are five of the six daughters of Joseph and Eva Loewen, who lived in a home called Rockwood on the Gorge waterway. They were not far from the Dunsmuirs, who in 1895 were living at their grand home on the Gorge, Burleith. The Loewen and Dunsmuir girls were friends and often played together on sports teams and performed in local concerts, several of them being accomplished musicians.
The Loewens sold Rockwood in 1908 and the house soon became associated with scarlet of a different kind. The new owner, Estella Carroll, was better known locally as “the Rockwood Madam” where she operated a house of ill-repute. The Dunsmuirs by this time were living at Government House and awaiting completion of their new home at Hatley Park.