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Glinz Lake cabin hand built out of cedar

Glinz Lake cabin. - SRHS photo
Glinz Lake cabin.
— image credit: SRHS photo

High on a knoll at Glinz Lake, this cabin was built by the two Swiss brothers whose name is remembered by a road we pass each time we drive Highway 14 to Victoria.  Sons of a Swiss hotelier, Leonard and Arnold Glinz arrived here in 1911, found a beautiful woodland lake and dreamed of building a hunting lodge.

There was no road access to the lake of course; so the resourceful brothers built their own, to bring supplies three miles upwards to the secluded semi-alpine setting. Built with 10-inch split cedar boards on a foundation of cedar logs, with a cedar shake roof, the cabin stood for many years, even serving as a caretaker’s home for the YMCA children’s camp that came after the Glinzes.

Trying to develop a hunting lodge was uphill work, and in 1917 the brothers saw an opportunity to operate Woodside Farm, home of the pioneer Muir family on West Coast Road, when it became available for lease. By 1920 Arnold Glinz and his wife Rosa had purchased Woodside Farm, while Leonard got a hotel management job in Vancouver.

Besides farming and dairying at Woodside, the Arnold Glinzes began a hospitality industry, with paying guests and chicken dinners served on summer Sundays. Their son Teddy Glinz attended Sooke School and grew up to marry Elsa, a sweetheart from Switzerland.

While elder brother Leonard Glinz worked in other cities, he kept the cabin at Glinz Lake for visits as a holiday and hunting retreat, until deciding in the 1930s to make it available for a children’s camp. Over the years, many Sooke youngsters have joined the hundreds who have enjoyed a week’s stay at Camp Thunderbird.

Besides the road name, the Glinz story continues as part of Sooke’s history, as Arnold’s grandson Charlie Glinz spends part of each year at the old Woodside farmhouse on West Coast Road. After Charlie’s dad passed away his mom Elsa married Phil Wilford, and the old farmhouse rings to the rafters with happy voices when Charlie’s half-siblings, the Wilford clan, get together to enjoy old-fashioned hospitality.

Elida Peers

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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