Elida Peers | Contributed
What does this image of a Boeing flying boat in Victoria harbour have to do with Sooke’s history? Partly it’s because of our long connection with Sooke’s Douglas MacFarlane.
Sadly, Doug is not here with us now to help with the information. Still, Sooke Region Museum notes tell us that he was given the photo through his friendship with George and Eileen (Sis) Weiler, who raised turkeys for market on their farm high up in the upper reaches of the Sooke River watershed.
Most folk in Sooke today have enjoyed visits to the the potholes, and many are aware that Deer Trails’ name was familiarized by the Weilers, who purchased the land in 1928 and continued farming there well into the 1940s. They had the distinction in 1938 of being recognized for producing milk with the highest butterfat content on Vancouver Island.
Before gregarious George Weiler took on the unusual challenge of higher altitude farming, he had thrown himself into a challenge that took place at an even higher altitude.
A scion of the Weiler family who was prominent in Victoria business circles, as a young man, George had become interested in the new “flying machines,” and we understand he became one of the pilots who took part in the mail run between Seattle and Victoria in the summer of 1931.
The plane pictured is a Boeing Flying Boat CF ALB, owned by Canadian Airways, which besides the mail, could also carry five passengers. The Weiler Building and the Empress Hotel can be noted in the photo background.
One of the supporters of the exciting new Canadian-owned mail run in 1931 included the then-mayor of Victoria, Herbert Anscomb.
Our local history records that Herbert Anscomb owned a piece of waterfront land in Saseenos, where he planted plum trees that came into beautiful bloom. This was when Anscomb went from Victoria’s mayor to become a cabinet minister in the provincial government of Premier John Hart.
Back in the days when B.C.’s entire population stood at well under a million, compared to the 5.2 million of 2021, perhaps it was not unusual that so many folks knew of each other.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum. Email email@example.com.