An aluminum token stamped with Vera Banner and Benny Van Ek's names was unearthed in Sooke.

An aluminum token stamped with Vera Banner and Benny Van Ek's names was unearthed in Sooke.

55 years ago a short romance flourished

Unearthed token brings back young teenage memories

Vera Banner Appleby had a good chuckle last Friday when she saw her maiden name stamped into an aluminum token.

The tokens, which were popular at midways and carnivals during the 1950s and early 1960s, was found by Ivan Bjornholt with his metal detector at Woodside farm along West Coast Road.

After Word War II, the Wilford’s, who own Woodside, had Dutch families living and working on the farm and the Van Ek family name was a common one in Sooke.

The story has it that young Vera Banner was dating Benny Van Ek for a short while and it was Van Ek who must have enshrined the relationship onto the token. The tokens were printed one letter at a time from a dial on a machine at midways and the cost was about 25 cents.

Both of the youngsters went to Milne’s Landing high school and as these high school romances go, it was over before it really began and Van Ek either lost, buried or tossed the token into a field by the farmhouse.

“It’s nice to know after 55 years some things are still kicking around,” said an amused Banner.

Banner was back visiting Sooke and had heard about the token from her cousin Darla on Facebook.

“History comes back and gets you,” she said.

Bjornholt, who unearthed the token was excited that the long lost token was recognized.

“Everything has a story behind it, some you can only imagine, but this one — we found the story behind it. I get a kick out of it if I can trace things back,” said Bjornholt. He said he found the token about two-feet down in the middle of the field at Woodside.

He is enthused about finding old bits and pieces with his metal detector.

“Most of the time it’s just nails and scrap iron.”

Woodside Farm is the oldest continually operated farm in British Columbia.

Pete Wilford said the field has been continually plowed up for the past 50 years.

There are plans afoot to see the history of the  Woodside farm made into a movie or video. Woodside Farm was settled by the Muir family in 1851.

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