When you drive from Sooke towards Victoria today, you are perhaps shocked at the enormous changes to the landscape along Highway 14 between Glinz Lake and Connie roads. In this area, on the Sooke Basin side of the road, the Doran dairy farm, Sooke Way Dairy, was located.
While there was a lot of subsistence farming throughout our rural area, there was undoubtedly a market for a local milk supply.
With the Doran household and farm located just east of Glinz Lake Road’s turnoff, almost directly across from the Olof Frederickson log house you can still see today, it was convenient for travellers to stop off to buy milk and butter in the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s.
For Ada Veitch Doran, who grew up on her parents’ farm called Burnt Timbers Hunting Ground, right at the border of Sooke and Metchosin, this pastoral scene was pretty much close to home.
She had been given part of the land her father, James Veitch, son of a Hudson’s Bay Co. employee and born at Craigflower Farm, had taken up in 1892.
Ada Veitch married John Doran, employed in constructing the concrete water flowline built from 1911 to 1914, to carry water from Sooke Lake to supply Victoria.
John and Ada Doran’s union produced two daughters, Dorothy, who married George Seaton, and Violet, who married Olof Frederickson.
While some of the Doran cattle were fenced in for milking, others roamed free to forage for pasture, and because there were no pound laws at the time, their pasture could range anywhere from the Sooke Hills to the Sooke River Bridge. When they needed to be rounded up, Ada Doran and one of her daughters would ride on horseback to look for them.
No doubt, the 17 Mile House proprietors could take advantage of this milk and butter supply to feed their clientele in their early days.
The new route for Highway 14 will run back of the 17 Mile House, so there will be a distinct change in commuters’ driving experience in the future.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.