Historic Sooke farm earns provincial award for more than 100 years in operation

Premier John Horgan and Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, announce that Woodside Farm in Sooke is receiving a Century Farm and Ranch Award, celebrating the people behind the family-run produce and livestock farm. (B.C. government/Flickr)

A historic 85-acre farm on southern Vancouver Island, believed to be the oldest continuously operated farm in Western Canada, has earned a special commendation from the B.C. government.

The Woodside Farm in Sooke, B.C., was honoured with the Century Farm and Ranch Award on Monday.

“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 in a statement.

“I want to extend my warmest congratulations to them on this well-deserved honour,” Horgan added. “Family-run farms are an important part of our community in Sooke, and I’m heartened to see the farm will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.”

According to the province, Woodside Farm was established in 1851 by Scottish pioneer John Muir and his family, who had sailed from Scotland to Victoria to mine coal in 1849.

In 1920, the farm was purchased by the Glinz family of Switzerland, who had moved to Sooke in 1911 to set up a hunting lodge, before turning Woodside into a successful dairy farm, according to the B.C. agriculture ministry.

By the 1930s, the farm had become a local attraction, drawing crowds to enjoy Sunday chicken dinners and strawberry shortcake, the province said.

The next generation of the family operated the farm through the Second World War before it was inherited in 2004 by the family’s six children.

“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, one of those children, in a statement Monday.

The family sold the farm at 7117 West Coast Rd. in March. The new owners tell CTV News they are continuing the farming tradition on the site.

“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,” Wilford said.

The Century Farm and Ranch Award honours farms, ranches or agricultural organizations active in B.C. for 100 years or more.