Woodside Farm in Sooke is receiving a Century Farm and Ranch Award, celebrating the people behind a family-run produce and livestock farm that has been feeding the community for more than a century.
The farm was established in 1851 by Scottish pioneer John Muir and his family. The family had 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 for the Victoria market.
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 Word 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 was 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.
Widowed once again, Elsa remained on the farm before passing in 2004, leaving the farm equally to her six children. After his parents’ passing, Peter ran the 34-hectare (85-acre) farm, producing hay, beef, hogs and mixed produce for the Sooke community. Elsa’s eldest son Charles Glinz works in Australia, but continues to generously contribute to the upkeep of the historical buildings.
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.
- Read about the Century Farm and Ranch Awards: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/century-farm-awards
- For more information on other agriculture and seafood programs, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs