METCHOSIN’S PAST: How well do you know your local history?

See how many of these tidbits of information you know

Did you know that Albert Head quarry supplied the stone for the Victoria breakwater?

Did you know that Albert Head quarry supplied the stone for the Victoria breakwater?

Metchosin has played an important role in the history of the region. For those people who didn’t grow up here or even settle in the district decades ago, here’s some facts you may not know about the West Shore’s first incorporated municipality.

• At one time there was a long pier stretching out from Taylor’s Beach

• Governor James Douglas had a hunting lodge in Metchosin

• Metchosin means “stinking fish” or “place smelling of fish oil”

• The two whale vertebrae in the Museum might be from that “stinking fish”

• Quarantine Road was renamed William Head Road in 1961

• Albert Head quarry supplied the stone for the Victoria breakwater

• Although John Witty donated the land for St. Mary’s Church, he never attended a service, as he died unexpectedly and was buried in the cemetery immediately after its consecration

• The world’s first Boy Scout, Lord Rodney, lived in Metchosin and is also buried at St. Mary’s

• The first quarantine station was established at Albert Head in 1883 after an outbreak of smallpox in Victoria Harbour. All ships arriving in western Canada had to stop at the Quarantine Station for health clearance. It was moved to William Head in 1893 as Albert Head was too exposed to the weather

• In 1946, Metchosin School District ceased to exist after 75 years and became part of the newly organized Sooke School District #62. Edward Milne School (Milne’s Landing) opened that year with 90 students in Grades seven through 12. Until then all Grade 11 and 12 students west of Victoria had to board in town and attend Victoria High School

• Mrs. Alfred Watt founded the first Women’s Institutes in Britain after being widowed by the Chief Medical Officer at the Quarantine Station in 1913

• Metchosin Community Hall was the only public building in Metchosin until the School Museum opened in 1971

• The Superintendent of the Quarantine Station not only negotiated a proper road and piped water to William Head, but also telephone service in the 1920s. A phone booth was installed at the corner of Happy Valley and Rocky Point Road 20 years before phones were available in private homes

• The Metchosin Farmer’s Institute has been meeting at Luxton Hall since 1927, when they bought the 14 acres for exhibition purposes

• Hannah Parker was the first European child born in Fort Victoria. Her parents arrived on the SS Norman Morrison in 1853, and homesteaded at Rocky Point. Her father delivered mail on horseback and later drove a stage coach, providing a vital connection to Victoria

• Many of Metchosin’s pioneer families arrived by ship from England. Sailing around Cape Horn could take more than seven gruelling months at sea

The Old Barn Bookstore is open every Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Your donation of used books helps keep Metchosin’s heritage alive. If you have any questions or stories to share, please email wendyncmitchell@shaw.ca.

Wendy Mitchell is president of the Metchosin Museum Society.