A large frame with the photos of four individuals in overalls and T-shirts hangs in a place of honour on a wall inside the Loghouse Pub.
These aren’t pro sports figures captured in a personal moment, or glad-handing with locals. They’re the men who assembled the log structure that became the pub at the corner of Treanor and Millstream roads.
It’s been more than 26 years since Pat Lintaman and his crew helped create the first neighbourhood pub in Langford located on the north side of the Trans Canada Highway. He recalls how original owners Paul and Lorraine Langlois’ upscale watering hole spurred other development in the area.
“I would say it became a little bit of a community meeting place,” he said. “But it also validated that it was a decent place to live. All of a sudden it was an amenity. It wasn’t long before there was a little pharmacy and another restaurant (nearby). It gave it a bit of an identity out there.”
Now 63 and a 36-year resident on Finlayson Arm Road in what is now Highlands, Lintaman remembers how little commercial activity there was in the area at the time.
“The Phelps (Avenue) subdivision was there off of Treanor Road, and the old race track was always up there. I remember right across the road (where the Co-op gas bar is now) was a small auto wrecker owned by Bobby Cameron. Past that it was a bit of an adventure to go out there. There was no crossroads, no development around Lakewood (elementary), it was just the bush there.”
Millstream Road itself was pretty treacherous once you got past the Western Speedway turnoff, he said, adding that he used to drive home through Goldstream Park rather than venture up that way.
The pub site, a small section of the sprawling property known as Yewtree Farm earlier in the 20th century, also previously hosted a tourist attraction, the Carlowville frontier “ghost town.”
Visitors could find a sheriff’s office, jail cells and all sorts of “western antiques.”
Paul and Lorraine Langlois wanted a certain feel to their pub, Lintaman said.
“It was really kind of innovative; that was when it changed from the beer halls to the pubs having decent food,” he said. “Lorraine was a fantastic cook. She set the kitchen and set the trend for what the place really was. They took some flack on that; some people called it more of a tearoom than a pub. But they were really particular on things … it was more about the food than it was about the beer.”
Current pub owner Ron Cheeke, who hung up his real estate licence in 2014 after 25 years to focus on the pub and his Liquor Planet retail store – a brewery on premises is expected to open this spring – bought in 16 years ago with a team of investors. He became sole owner in 2007 after buying out former partner Ron Lubick.
Sitting beneath the photo of Lintaman and his crew, Cheeke agreed that the menu, while it has changed over the years, continues to attract loyal customers.
From a business perspective, he echoed the builder’s comment that the pub helped jump-start commercial activity in an area that was otherwise quiet until the big box stores started moving in and more intensive residential development began.
And he sees room for increased activity, with Bear Mountain picking up steam again, the City of Langford taking over the fitness facility next to the Westin resort hotel and other developments planned for the Millstream corridor.
“I think of this not as the north side of the highway, but the north side of the core,” Cheeke said. “I’d like to see the merging of the core with this side of the highway.”
He sees the area becoming even more of a tourist destination, for golf, tennis and mountain biking and sees the commercial zone being primed for continued
growth to support those activities. The city has always been the forerunner on the West Shore for finding ways to help businesses thrive, Cheeke said.
In the meantime, the log building on Millstream stands as a solid, iconic reminder of the early days of Langford’s development history.
“These things stand the test of time,” Cheeke said, patting one of the logs beside him.
The main timbers used for the building were 60- to 80-year-old Douglas firs from a woodlot near Nanaimo.
Lintaman, who tries to use local materials wherever possible and did so with the pub, likes the way it has stood up, and even maybe inspired the wood-inclusive design of other buildings and structures nearby.
“If you can create a building that outlasts the age of the materials, it’s kind of the definition of sustainability,” he said.