The old Leechtown Station

Gas car to Leechtown Station, 1923

Sooke region historian Elida Peers tells the tales of people and places from the past.

I was just a youngster when I met Alfred and Margaret Poole, who had a summer place at the western corner of Sooke and Parklands Roads in Saseenos in the 1930s. They had a home in Oak Bay where Alfred Poole was a fireman, but he really preferred the outdoor life.

Many years later, when Margaret Poole was 99 I had an opportunity to visit with her, widowed but still in her own home in Victoria. One of her fascinating stories was about a trip she undertook to Leechtown in 1923. The Leechtown station on the CNR line was not far from Sooke Lake, where her husband had gone to spend a hunting holiday with a friend in the Sooke hills.

At that time at Sooke Lake the water system caretaker was William Campbell, a son of the pioneer Campbell family that had settled in Shirley District in 1890.  When Mrs Poole was telling me about it, she described that the Sooke Lake water supply needed a caretaker because,   “It was our drinking water … it wasn’t really open to the public.”  She remembered, “I believe Mr. Campbell had a wife and children in Victoria, but maybe she didn’t want to live out at Sooke Lake …. who would want to, with children?”

At any rate, the two men decided to invite Alfred Poole’s wife to come out and cook for them. During the decade 1922 to 1931 a passenger-carrying gas car ran on the CNR track daily from Victoria to Leechtown.  So she set out, with her three month old baby girl in her arms.

Margaret recalled “I got off the gas car at Leechtown, with only a suitcase and the baby, and my husband came to meet me, along the train track.” She remembered the excursion with a smile, seventy-five years later, of how she had managed to cook meals, keep house and wash baby diapers while the men roamed the hills hunting venison and grouse.

She must have been glad enough to get back to Oak Bay after the adventure; as she thought back to those days she observed “I’ve never been excited about eating deer meat myself.”

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

Temperature records broken in Esquimalt Harbour and four other B.C. cities

The last temperature record in Esquimalt Harbour was set in 1999

Shoebox Project reaches out to women in crisis

Boxes are distributed to transition homes

Pearkes book sale will have 15,000 titles

Some seek volume of books while others hunt early editions in annual Saanich sale

Colwood mayor pitches ferry as commuter alternative

Mayor Rob Martin says different modes of transportation need to be considered

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Road rescue near Sayward points to volunteer need

Fire department recruits can be tough for small, remote communities

Most Read