Sooke’s Woodside Farm honoured for 100 years of agriculture in B.C.

A family-owned and operated ranch in Sooke has been recognized for 100 years of service.

Woodside Farm was awarded Monday with the provincial Century Farm and Ranch Award by Premier John Horgan and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

“The Glinz and Wilford families have not only left their mark on the land for a century, but they have been pillars of our community and helped make a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Premier John Horgan.

RELATED: Historic Woodside Farm sold to local couple

The farm was established in 1851 by Scottish pioneer John Muir and his family. The family sailed from Ayrshire, Scotland, to Victoria in 1849 to mine coal on Vancouver Island. Soon after, the Muirs began Woodside Farm in Sooke, making it the oldest continuously operated farm in Western Canada.

In 1920, the farm was purchased by the Glinz family. Arnold and his wife Rosa were part of a hotelier family from Switzerland that had come to Sooke in 1911 to set up a hunting lodge, before turning Woodside into a successful dairy farm. The couple had a son, Teddy, who worked on the farm and raised turkeys.

By the 1930s, the oceanside farm had become an attraction. Crowds flocked to enjoy the Sunday chicken dinners, served with strawberry shortcake.

In the early days of the Second World War, Teddy met a young woman named Elsa from Switzerland. They married and had a son, Charles, in 1946. Shortly after, Teddy passed away, leaving Elsa to continue working on the farm alongside the senior Glinzes.

In 1949, Elsa remarried. Philip Wilford a returning veteran from the Second World War who had taken a motorcycle trip across Canada to look at farms before completing his degree at Guelph’s agricultural college. The family grew again, adding a series of sons and daughters to share the farm life. Their second son, Peter, was born with farming in his blood. He grew up to marry his high school sweetheart Jeannette. Together, they built their home on Woodside farm.

The family recently sold the property.

“It has been our families’ honour and pleasure to have been the stewards of this beautiful piece of farmland for so many years,” said Peter Wilford. “For us, it is bittersweet to be moving on to new adventures, but we look forward to watching a new generation with energy and fresh ideas continue the rich farming experience Woodside Farm has to offer.”

The Century Farm and Ranch Awards honour farms, ranches or agricultural organizations active in B.C. for 100 years or more. Each Century Farm and Ranch Award celebrates the rich heritage accompanying the hard work and enduring sense of community throughout B.C.

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Sooke News Staff

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