Newman Farm and Boat Shed Park
A secret that has been around since 1880. A family held farm for over 100 years The Newman’s, Allida and Nestor, bought the parcel in the 1880’s. Nestor, a Finlander, worked at the Dunsmuir coal mines built the original cabin which is still standing today. They built a larger newer home in 1905 to house their seven sons and two daughters. Nestor passed away in 1913 leaving Allida to raise the family and seeing that they were self-reliant they grew their own food, fruits, and cattle. The farm was worked until 1996. Although small, they were mighty, raising prize winning jersey cattle. The Newman’s donated the farm and property to the district of Central Saanich in 2003. Everything that you will see there is completely authentic. The brothers did not want any new-fangled conveniences so they chose not to have electricity or plumbing.
John Newman bathing
Although the property was purchased by Newman, it is very likely that this area was historically important to the Tsawout First Nations who hold an exclusive traditional claim to the area. The Tsawout are part of the Saanich Peoples. Prior to 1850, the Saanich occupied three main villages on the Saanich Peninsula – one of which was situated in Saanichton Bay - as well as other settlements in the Gulf Islands. Prior to the coming of Europeans in the late 18th Century it was observed that, "At one time or another practically every sheltered bay and nook along the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, and on the small islands adjacent to it, carried a settlement of greater or less size…”
Central Saanich and The Farmlands Trust joined together in 2012 to have the 6.6 hectare grow an assortment of fruits and vegetable for use by food banks and Our Place. In addition to this, a local farmer developed a program that involves local schools in a sheep farm.
The community has rallied around and volunteered to maintain, farm, and help others with the historic Newman Farm. In fact they restored two barns to use as boat houses from which the Tsawout Nation canoe Club store their racing boats. At this time you cannot go into the buildings but being able to go and explore the grounds and area gives you a rare glimpse into days gone by. The kids will enjoy running around an exploring the artifacts scattered around.
It is really easy to find. Turn towards the ocean on Mt. Newton X Rd. and then turn left on Lochside Rd. till you come to Newman Rd., you will see the Farmlands Trust signs on the lawn and you will know you have arrived. It truly is a wonderful glimpse into our past and how it brings out the best out in us today. The guiding Vision of the District of Central Saanich Master plan for the Newman Farm is coming to life.
“The community of Central Saanich will care for Newman Farm in a manner that honours the legacy of the Newman Family, reveals our agrarian heritage, demonstrates our values, and involves and considers our community.”