One of Saanich’s oldest churches holds an open house this weekend that also offers the public a chance to help maintain the facility.
St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church on Cedar Hill Cross Road hosts an open house Saturday, May 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Organizers say members of the public can drop in anytime and stay for as long as they wish. Along the way, they can take a self-guided tour of the church or join a more formal one at 10 a.m., help clean up the cemetery, and learn more about its history, including information about some of the interesting people buried there.
The church has served as a place of worship as well as a gathering place for the congregation and community at large since 1860, with its grounds encompassing one of the oldest cemeteries in Greater Victoria where many of the area’s pioneers are buried.
The cemetery recently added a military marker to the grave of James Stewart Simpson, who died in 1926 at the family home in Cadboro Bay of the injuries sustained in the First World War. He had suffered broken legs and multiple head wounds during an airplane crash during the final days of the war.
While his injuries happened during the war, he died of them after the cut off date for a war grave. (According to the terms of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, death must have occurred between Aug. 4, 1914 and Aug. 31, 1921 for the First World War and between Sept. 3, 1939 and Dec. 31, 1947 for the Second World War).
That said, if Simpson were in an unmarked grave, the Last Post Fund would have been able to mark his grave, and the organization eventually approved a marker, thanks to the research of Gord Young and Lakefield Heritage Research.
“James finally got the proper war marker he should have received when he died,” said Young.