Christmas at Sheilds Lake

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Christmas squirrel

It’s not often we find a Christmas theme among the 9,000 archival photographs in our collection, but this shot of Harry Vickers’ pet squirrel at Sheilds Lake just seemed to fill the bill. Harry Vickers was a naturalist who in the 1930s and 1940s acted as caretaker for the Alpine Club of Canada and for Claude L Harrison who owned a large tract of land between Harbourview Road and Mt Empress.

When as a youngster I hiked with my family up into those hills and lakes, we looked forward to visiting with Mr. Vickers, if we were lucky enough to encounter him along the trails and lakeshores. His quiet and patient nature and love of wildlife had resulted in a wonderful series of photographs of deer, raccoons, squirrels and birds. For artsy effect, he would patiently arrange to have the small animals photographed alongside a domestic scene, such as a pair of knitting needles half way through knitting a sock. Colour film was not yet available, so he used watercolours to tint his photos.

This image taken in the 1940s was shared with us by Bert Acreman who at that time was driving logging truck for Eric Bernard, who was logging for Harrison. On weekends Bert Acreman would take his wife Annie (the legendary school teacher) and his son John up to the lakes with him for canoeing and picnicking.

For a decade Bernard harvested poles and logs in the Sooke Hills, his truckers hauling down Mt. Shepherd Road and Harbourview Road to dump at Cooper’s Cove. At the museum we have often been asked the question, how come the logging road up into the lake country was paved? It was really simple. Eric Bernard did a lot of industrial hauling on the route, plus weekend trips to the lakes with his wife, so to save wear and tear the road was paved for easier vehicle maintenance.

Many years later, when Mr. Vickers was in a mobile home at Colwood, he allowed me to have his collection copied. I am sure that each of us who had the good fortune to know those hills and trails so well, treasure the memory of the kindly quiet gentleman, Harold Vickers, whose great joy was sharing the beautiful setting with his wildlife friends, and who left us his photographic legacy, celebrating not only summer but winter scenes as well.

 

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Work begins on new Sooke library

VIRL hopes to have ‘shovels in the ground’ this spring

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

EMCS senior boys basketball team loses to end season

Wolverines lose 71-51 against Stelly’s Secondary

A work of art for real estate golden anniversary

Three generations of Zieglers and 50 years of real estate

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Victoria City rower medals at indoor world championships

Carl Schoch takes 2,000-metre sprint bronze in veteran category

Saanich Braves earn top awards heading into playoffs

MVP, Coach of Year lead Braves against Kerry Park Islanders starting Tuesday

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Most Read