In 1910 a pamphlet was published on the Goldstream, Highlands, Colwood, Happy Valley, Albert Head, Metchosin, Rocky Point, Sooke and Otter Point. It was written by Margaret “Madge” Watt and an introductory segment is re-printed here. A copy of the full text is in the care of the Metchosin Museum, and we are grateful for their sharing this with the Women’s Institutes.
“Much of this district borders on the sea, fronting on the sparkling straits of of Juan de Fuca, flanked by the Sooke Hills, composed of stretches of timbered highlands and fertile valleys and of fields under cultivation extending down to the sea beaches. Its environment of dark wooded hills, of the ever-changing sea and mountains make it a panorama of beauty. The outlook from the farms along the waterfront or back in the hills beggars description. From one pleasant home after another the fortunate dwellers, going about their daily work, gaze on a scene which only to see once travelers journey the world over. And before the eyes of little children passing daily to school, lies a view that famous men and women coming near by these shores in the great ocean liners, unhesitatingly declare to be the most beautiful in the world.
From numbers of comfortable farmhouses and pleasant country homes extend fields yellowing in the summer sun or lush green with forage crops, interspersed with orchard slopes. Then in sharp contrast are masses of rock covered with ferns, mosses and rock plants in astonishing variety, with lines of tall firs outlines, stately, against a sky often as blue as any of Italy. Between their serried rows are heavenly glimpses of the flashing waters, now green, now blue, of the dimpling Straits. While rising far above and beyond in incomparable beauty from dark shoreline opposite are the wonderful snow-clad Olympics. These snowy peaks, forever unapproachable by painter’s brush or poet’s pen make a magnificent background to all the varied scenes of the Island. Mountain after mountain in seeming unending chain, each “on a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, with a diadem of snow” rear their heads superbly from the sea-washed foot-hills.
The view of the Olympics is different here than from Victoria; from here the Angel’s Gate in divine loveliness a wide open gap, clearly defines the pure outlines of the Valley of the Angels. At its feet, a seeming sentinel, stands the great lighthouse of the Race Rocks, with its sombre height and warning light. A thousand sublime pictures meet the eye; whether the day is dark and the hills clad in azure hue with darker shadows relieved by the lines of snow; whether fleecy clouds drift in graceful lines below the summits; whether the day is fair and with radiance unimagined the pure-white dazzling masses are clear-cut against the the heavens; whether at sunset when in palest blue the the hills rise white-bedecked from the darkening water, their peaks in a golden radiance that melts into a rosy pink; whether at moonlight when far more plainly than from any other part of the Island, the mountains lie bathed in silver light, an enchanted land across the molten gold of the moonlit water. One thinks on such a night of Tennyson’s words, – “to me high mountains are a feeling,” and it is only too true that our admiration and sentiment must remain only a feeling. No words of ours can express the wondrous beauty of the scenes among which we live.”
Congratulations, Madge!What a command of the English language you possessed! What food fortune Canada and the world had to fall under Mrs. Watt’s influence, and to have her as our representative in expanding the Women’s Institute movement around the world!
In this month of October, when we mark so many special days with the United Nations, it seems fitting to share some of Mrs. Watt’s own words – I hope you have enjoyed them.
Submitted by Ruth Fenner, BCWI Historian, Somenos WI
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