The BC Adventure 6
July 30, 1920
Dear Mums, Daddy and Dorothy,
We have some news. Dick has heard that there is a manager's job for a strawberry farm on offer on the next island, Salt Spring Island, so this weekend, we all took the ferry across from Nanaimo to Vesuvius. It's about 50 miles from Gordon Head to Nanaimo, so motoring there was a major part of the trip. It only took 20 minutes to go across on the Island Princess Ferry.
Salt Spring is the largest of the Canadian Gulf Islands – but is still very sparsely populated. We met up with Mr. Mills who is leaving the island to go to California. His property is five acres, and is totally filled with strawberry plants. They look in very good condition and he has several helpers who come regularly during the season to help with the work. He wants to sell outright, and Dick and Una would like to buy, so if they can find a friendly bank manager to lend them the money, they will be in business.
We met some of each of the four families who live in the area – and all of them have huge holdings. The strawberry farm has a property where Dick and Una and Bammie and Peter can live. There is a boarding house where Mark and I could live temporarily, and they thought there would be possibilities for us to rent a house once the summer season is over. There are several small log cabin type buildings that are let out over the summer but often empty in winter.
Dick needs to finish off the current strawberry season at Gordon Head, and so we wouldn't be wanting to go there until October at the earliest. But we mustn’t count our chickens before they are hatched, as Una and Dick have to sort out their finances first. Mark said we might buy a small share in their new business, but he doesn't want to totally commit to it, because he is unwilling to give up his dream of going prospecting for gold, and getting very rich. He has been corresponding with men who he thinks share his ambition, but it all takes time and money to get organized on an expedition like that.
Going back to Victoria, we had to calm ourselves to carry our daily routines, and yet it has boosted our morale considerably to be able to look forward to being our own bosses.
Una has found a little private kindergarten for Peter to attend from the beginning of September. There are only five children, and they meet in the teacher's house, which is only a quarter mile away. It is a pity that he will just adjust to that new environment, and then be whisked away to yet another new place.
Salt Spring is a very beautiful place, with huge mountain just behind the coast, and the largest lake on the island about five miles away. The island itself is 14 miles long and 8 miles wide, with a very irregular coastline. There are about six villages, if you can call them that. We were told the beach at Vesuvius is the best on the whole island, and ideal for bathing. And that area contains the salt springs that the island was named after. I'm sure we will be finding out more about all of that shortly.
Enclosed is a snap of Bammie and Peter on the wharf when we arrived at Victoria.