Gaert Linnaea admires the grave of Mary Ann Vine

Gaert Linnaea admires the grave of Mary Ann Vine

Metchosin’s colourful history is central to upcoming tour

Old St. Mary’s church, cemetery give glimpse into pioneer families

Weir, Witty, Leefield, Helgesen and Pears. Even if you don’t live in Metchosin, you may be familiar with some of the roads named after pioneer families who helped shape the future of the proudly rural district.

A free event on Sunday, Aug. 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. will shed some light on the rich heritage and history of Metchosin through a tour of the cemetery beside St. Mary The Virgin Church, 4354 Metchosin Rd.

The church itself is worth the trip, said Robert Patterson, one of a handful of volunteers who preserve the cemetery and grounds renowned for their bursts of wildflower colour, especially in the spring.

Built between 1873 and 1876 on one hectare of land donated by pioneer John Witty, the Anglican parish is one of the better examples of the Gothic Revival style in Western Canada. The church received heritage status from the District of Metchosin in 1990.

Elements of that style include simple massing, a steeply pitched roof, arched tripartite windows, leaded glass lights, a battered, gothic arched steeple with bell, narrow wood siding and trim and a black and white colour scheme.

“The cemetery contains the graves of many of the pioneer settlers of Metchosin,” Patterson noted.

Geart Linnaea, District of Metchosin Heritage Committee chair, said the event has been popular in the past.

“We’re very proud of our heritage families,” she said. “It’s important to keep people connected to their history, and we appreciate the efforts Metchosin takes to preserve our heritage by sponsoring the event.”

The day features tours at 2:15 and 3:45 p.m. and includes a tea in the parish hall and a classical music performance by three students under the direction of Metchosin performer Allison Marshall, who teaches harp and piano.

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