How Glinz Lake got its name

Glinz Lake, well known now as the site of the YMCA’s Camp Thunderbird, had this lone pioneer cabin at the lake one hundred years ago. (Photo contributed by Sooke Region Museum)

Glinz Lake, well known now as the site of the YMCA’s Camp Thunderbird, had this lone pioneer cabin at the lake one hundred years ago. (Photo contributed by Sooke Region Museum)

Glinz Lake, well known now as the site of the YMCA’s Camp Thunderbird, had this lone pioneer cabin at the lake one hundred years ago.

Brothers Arnold and Leonard Glinz, sons of a hotelier who operated a 50-room Hotel Schiff in St. Gallen, Switzerland, came out to Canada in 1911 looking for adventure and business opportunity.

When the brothers found the beautiful lake in the Sooke Hills, they saw the potential for a hunting cabin. There was no road from Sooke Road up to the lake, so the hardworking fellows built their own.

They also built a cottage just west of today’s Veitch Creek (Neil Creek) which still stands, where they camped as work went ahead.

It was uphill work, as there just weren’t enough moneyed folk coming by to occupy their hunting lodge and make it pay.

By 1917, the men saw another opportunity, as the John Muir farm, Woodside, on West Coast Road, was available.

Arnold Glinz and his wife Rosa took a lease to operate the farm while Leonard Glinz went into hotel management in Vancouver.

Purchasing Woodside in 1920, the industrious Glinzes began offering Sunday dinners, and soon people came out for a Sunday drive (gravel roads) from Victoria, to savour the chicken dinners with strawberry shortcake, and all for 75 cents.

For two decades this business flourished at Woodside Farm.

A fine new barn was built in 1932, and buses even ran from Victoria, bringing groups to join the fun.

Meanwhile, Leonard Glinz operated the Elysium Hotel in Vancouver and later, the Colony Motor Hotel in Victoria.

Shortage of gas during the war brought fewer customers; Arnold and Rosa quit the restaurant business and concentrated on dairying. Expanding their Jersey dairy herd, they shipped milk and cream to Victoria and produced Sooke Brick Cheese.

The family also raised turkeys, developing a specialty market in Victoria for their turkeys.

Their son Teddy Glinz, who raised turkeys as well, meanwhile had fallen in love with a girl from Switzerland, Elsa Jost, and the young couple was delighted to have a son of their own, Charlie, who many of our middle-aged Sooke fellows will remember attending school with.

Nowadays they have to be content to see Charlie Glinz only on summer visits, as he flies up annually from Perth, Australia, where he is now retired from his career as a bricklayer.

As Charlie is winging his way back to Australia this week, he is surely also looking forward to his next trip back to Woodside, as we prepare to launch the upcoming movie telling the Glinz and Wilford family history.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.