Peter Wilford

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

Ravi Jain, Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director, will present a Zoom lecture as part of the University of Victoria’s Orion fine art series on March 8. (Photo: University of Victoria).
Award-winning directors highlight coming University of Victoria lecture series

The March 8 and 18 Zoom events are part of the Orion fine arts lecture series

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Most Read