A Vargas Island Rancher in Saanich

Illustrated presentation, Saanich Archives / Greater Victoria Public Library

“Fred” Hopkins was ranching on Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound in 1912-1916 when he exchanged letters with the Walter Dawley, owner of the Clayoquot Store — most often about his unpaid bills! Fred left for military service in WWI and settled in Saanich, where in 1921 he was a recipient of a Saanich Soldier’s Home. But in 1929, he started exchanging letters with the Municipality of Saanich — about unpaid house mortgage payments. Fred’s original letters, family photos, land records and archives documents brought to life this amusing and exasperating story.

The hilarious image of Stella and Fred Hopkins got a lot of audience comments!

Assisted by the Saanich Archives, I shared this story in a May 2019 illustrated presentation “A Vargas Island Rancher in Saanich”. The audience was enthusiastic, and one audience member was a former neighbour of Fred Hopkins’ widow. To my surprise, I was given a silver spoon that had belonged to Mrs. Hopkins!

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