Peter Wilford

Film focuses on Woodside Farm

Pioneer farm stars in documentary on 'one of our community’s proudest assets.'

As The Harpooner, a barque ship, slowly makes its way up the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Ann Muir looks out from the deck and gazes at the shores by Whiffen Spit. It would be the perfect spot for a home, she thought.

It was 1849 and John Muir with his wife, Ann, and five children were arriving on the shores of Victoria nearing the end of a long voyage from Scotland. It was a journey that would change their lives.

Muir arrived here to work as for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the coalfields of Fort Rupert.

Within two years, the family would buy a 160-acre section of land in what is now west Sooke and build a farm.

Woodside Farm was built in 1851, and is now the oldest continuously operated farm west of the Great Lakes.

And while the farm has diminished in size over the years, its significance to the Sooke Region has not.

Now, the Sooke Region Historical Society hopes to save the history of the farm, in what local historian Elida Peers calls “one of our community’s proudest assets,” with a documentary film.

The film project is spearheaded by a volunteer committee of 16 people who have a direct connection with the farm and the three pioneer families who called it home over the years: the Muirs, Glinzs and Wilfords. Metchosin filmmaker Michael Peterson is producing the film.

Work on the film began in July, and is expected to be wrapped up by September. It will intersperse interviews with historic photographs and visuals within the house and grounds.

Sense of history

The Muirs built two houses on the grounds of Woodside Farm, located at 7117 West Coast Road.

The first house was a one-storey “Woodside” built around 1851. It was replaced later by a classic Georgian-style farmhouse, and was home to both John Muir, Sr. and John Muir, Jr., until 1917.

Swiss farmers Arnold and Rosa Glinz leased the farm in 1917 and three years later bought the property and ran a guest house with the farm. Woodside Farm was bought by Phillip Wilford, through marriage, in 1947. Peter Wilford operates the farm today.

Life on the farm

Charlie Glinz and Pete Wilford have fond memories of growing up on Woodside Farm in the 1950s.

“We just had the run of the place all the time,” recalled Glinz. “It was a great place to grow up.”

After the Second World War, several families moved into the West Sooke neighbourhood, many from war-torn Holland under a government sponsorship program.

Woodside Farm sponsored some of those families with the Dutch working on the farm for at least a year. Up to three families could be living in the farmhouse. Each family had its own large vegetable garden, chickens, cows and pigs.

Wilford said the families lived in the house in harmony, each serving up their own meals. “For the Dutch it was a land of milk and honey. It wasn’t fancy, but there was lots of it,” he said.

With those families came a sense of community, which both Glinz and Wilford said added to the enjoyment and fun on living on the farm.

“We went from morning until night doing whatever we wanted,” Glinz said.

“Once the chores were done,” quipped Wilford.

“It was just being able to have a big piece of copy to run around on. It was freedom,” Glinz said.

Just Posted

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Fireballs fall Friday as brightest meteor shower of the year fills the skies

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Lead Island Health doctor backs Saanich push to lower provincial speed limits

Chief Medical Health Officer backs the bid to drop residential speed limits to 40 km/h

Greater Victoria sees unemployment rise in November

Unemployment rate jumps to 3.5 per cent from 3.2 per cent

Land sale could threaten Shirley’s water supply: officials

Sale will allow for the subdivision and development of forestry lands

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read