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 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. “I want to extend my warmest congratulations to them on this well-deserved honour. 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.”
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 Award salutes family enterprise, ingenuity and perseverance,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “I love the success stories this award invites each year, and I congratulate the owners of Woodside Farm in playing such an important role on the south Island and providing delicious local food to their community for over 100 years.”
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.
Elida Peers, historian, Sooke Region Museum –
“The Sooke Region Museum has been proud to record the history of Woodside Farm; surely one of the most distinguished farming enterprises in our region. The Glinz/Wilford family has demonstrated a century of generous community spirit as well, and the museum is proud to take part in this nomination, wishing them well as they move on and new owners meet the challenges of the future.”
Peter Wilford, representing the Glinz/Wilford family, century owners of Woodside Farm –
“It has been our families’ honour and pleasure to have been the stewards of this beautiful piece of farmland for so many years. 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.”
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