New at Saanich Archives

Remembering the Big Snow of a hundred years ago.

  • No Milk Today: Snow Drifts on Rogers Farm:
    A major snowstorm hit southern Vancouver Island in the first week of February 1916. This photo shows drifts 8 feet high on George Rogers’ dairy farm on Agnes Street. In his 1998 book From Cheshire to Chester Lea: the History of the George Rogers Dairy Farm in Saanich, J. Victor Rogers describes the conditions: “roads were blocked, the V&S railway was shut down and George, for the first time in 29 years in the dairy business, could deliver no milk to his many customers in the city.”
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  • Snow Day: Tillicum School Letter to Saanich, Feb. 9th
    “Dear Sir, I opened the Tillicum Road School on Monday morning, but not one pupil arrived. This probably was due to the condition of the road in front of the school, the sidewalk and road from the Burnside Road to the School never having been cleared of the deep snow-drifts. Thus the way to the School was practically impassable for a small child. The School has not been opened for the last two days, as the drifts were being cleared away from the out-buildings etc. Yours respectfully, G.N. Hewlings.”
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  • Good Neighbours: Snow Ploughing with Horses, 1916
    In Saanich, horses were used to try to clear roads. Conditions were difficult, but many residents pitched in to help. Farmer Fred Borden recalled, “It had been snowing off and on for several weeks. I had rigged up a snow plough of a sort, and we used to go out every morning and plough a path down to the barn and go over to two or three of the neighbours to keep a path open.” In fact, because of the efforts of the farmers and their horses, the roads opened quicker in Saanich than they did in the city.
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  • In The News: Courageous Action of Saanich Nurse
    On February 5, 1916, the Daily Colonist reported on the bravery of Mrs. Walker, a Saanich nurse. When word was received a few days earlier at the Saanichton Hotel that a woman had been taken seriously ill at Mr. McDonald’s ranch a mile and a half away, Mrs. Walker volunteered to help. Despite the snow drifts and the wind, she made the trip with the help of a group of young men who helped break the snow and dig out the horse. “It took exactly seven hours to cover the distance.”
    Read the article (p.4)

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