The first Sooke home of Olive and Peter Wadams: Moss Cottage along Church Road.

SOOKE HISTORY: Naming of Wadams Way

Olive and Peter Wadams arrived in Canada in 1929 and became significant Sooke pioneers

Elida Peers

Special to the Sooke News Mirror

Today as we breeze down the spanking new street lined with trees and street banners that cuts between Church Road and Otter Point Road, it seems so natural to take that shortcut route.

We wonder how Olive and Peter Wadams would have felt to see the traffic breeze by their old home, the little farmhouse perched quietly on the hillside, home to many a friendly gathering for a cup of tea and a visit.

In 1906 Olive was born in the metropolis of London, England. She grew up to marry Peter (Hugh) Wadams, a man with farming in his blood, and in 1929 the couple emigrated to Canada.

The pair arrived at Sidney to work on a dairy farm at first, then moved to Sooke where they rented “Moss Cottage” up until 1942, because at that time they were able to purchase the cottage pictured above, standing on Church Road.

Olive Wadams was a kindly, cheery and positive-spirited lady whose hallmark was caring about her community. This she demonstrated in countless ways, from playing a role in the Sooke and North Sooke Women’s Institute, the Ladies  Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Legion, to helping at All Sooke Day, to serving as a tester for Girl Guide/Brownie badges, to supporting the Sooke Region Museum and much more. For half a century, Olive led the singing of O Canada at the Legion’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Olive and Peter raised two children, Norah and Hugh, at their farm home, where the youngsters learned early to tackle farm chores, helping with milking the cows and tending the gardens which grew every sort of produce. The Wadams farm was adjacent to the farm of Ralph and Margaret Strong.

While Peter excelled at gardening and consistently took prizes for produce at the Sooke Fall Fair, it was needlework that was Olive’s forte.

Not only was Olive’s name always on the needlework winning list at the Sooke Fair, but she came home with many awards from the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver as well.

Left alone after Peter’s death in 1968, Olive continued to keep busy. Besides needlework and singing, though, she had two other hobbies, making a cup of tea for friends who came to chat, and sharing her garden of beautiful blossoms. Whenever flowers were needed for a public celebration in Sooke, everyone knew to call on Olive.

Olive died in 2004, and my last memories of her were of her weekly visits to the businesses in downtown Sooke, where she brought flowers to fill their vases with colour and good cheer, a message of caring from a woman who truly cared for her community.

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Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.