Built as a wedding present for a young bride, the Villa Marco Polo continues to be a destination for wedding ceremonies and romantic getaways. In 1923, the mansion at 1524 Shasta Place was presented to Helen Nation, beloved daughter of Major Fred Nation, as a wedding present for her and her betrothed, Robert Brackman Kerr.
The Major had commissioned Percy Leonard James, a noted colleague of the British architect Francis Rattenbury, to design and supervise the building of this gracious Rockland residence . Although the south facing facade of the house is classical Georgian, the architecture is remembered more for the north and west facades, as well as the interior spaces, which are distinctly Italian Renaissance.
In 2003, this magnificent property became the Villa Marco Polo Inn, a property that evokes the memories and images of the countries along the Silk Road, from Venice through the Middle East to China: Persian carpets, exquisite silks, Italian and Chinese ceramics, and fine antiques and art.
A reflecting pool with fountains is the centrepiece of the Italianate gardens, where elegant events, notably wedding ceremonies, take place from late spring through early autumn. A sculptured wrought iron marriage arbour is located under an ancient spreading Garry oak tree on the west end of the lower garden. The upper garden, separated by a balustrade, has patio and seating areas, and a stone table where brides and grooms may sign the registry, cut their wedding cakes, sip champagne, and savour the moments.