Nan and Andy finally tied the knot after many years of courting.

Married bliss at long last

Sooke couple waits many years to finally tie the knot

Two dear souls they were, Agnes “Nan” Milne and Andre “Andy” Robillard, and in middle age, they married. They are pictured here on their honeymoon in June 1948.

The happy couple are beaming for this wedding photo, which was a long time coming. It wasn’t the romance that was late blooming, but the marriage was.  Circumstances of the early years of the 20th Century were very different from those experienced today and sometimes stood in the way of marriage.

Nan Milne was born in 1896, youngest of the six children of Edward Milne and his wife Janet Kerr, both Presbyterian Scots.  Nan grew up in the house built by her family at the northeastern end of Sooke River bridge, still standing.  As a youngster she walked to Sooke School (the site still in use) and as a young woman she became a telephone operator working at the telephone exchange building which stood between the Milne home and the store at the corner of Sooke River Road. When Nan’s elder sister Ella married, Nan took over her position as chief operator for BC Telephone Co.

Across the river, on the south side, Andre Robillard tended his greenhouses. He and his brother Raoul had run the Belvedere Hotel, the legendary four-storey structure that was a social centre from its construction in 1912 to the day it was engulfed by flames in 1934. After the fire, Raoul left for a career in Vancouver, and horticulturist Andre ran the hotel’s greenhouses, supplying the Victoria market with flowers and produce.

Andre’s love for flowers almost equalled his passion for Nan, and every day, flowers were carried over the bridge to the telephone office to grace her workplace.  I myself recall seeing bouquets of beautiful gladiolus being presented to the blushing Miss Milne, who eventually managed a switchboard employing almost a dozen operators. She remained in management until her retirement when Sooke went from magneto phones to direct-dialing in 1960.

The Robillards were of French origin and of the Roman Catholic faith, and it appeared that Nan’s dad, of strict Presbyterian outlook, did not view with favour a mixed-faith marriage.  Edward Milne, for whom Edward Milne community school is named, passed away in 1943.

The long-delayed married bliss for Nan and Andre was brief, for Andre lived only until 1956.

 

 

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of the structure

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: Prince of Wales visited Sooke twice

Royal connections to Lady Emily Walker and Rev. Reginald Walker

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read