Funeral home comes to Saanich

McCall Gardens locates next to Royal Oak Burial Park

Craig McCall Williams and Trevor McCall are fourth generation members of the McCall Bros. funeral service. The cousins

Craig McCall Williams and Trevor McCall are fourth generation members of the McCall Bros. funeral service. The cousins

As teenagers, Trevor McCall and his older cousin Craig McCall Williams held a different type of summer job, in a different kind of business, the funeral business.

“We always knew about the business and were familiar with it, but it was just a summer thing,” Craig says.

Running flowers, setting chairs and driving the funeral car, they got a feel for the family business their great-great-grandfather David and his brother James started in 1921.

Four generations in, the McCall boys are still at it. As certified funeral directors Trevor, 36, and Craig, 40, are bringing the business into a new direction with the completion of the 15,000 square-foot McCall Gardens next to Royal Oak Burial Park on Falaise Drive. They work with Trevor’s dad David (Craig’s uncle), the third generation-owner. Together they’ve helped oversee the three-year process and 18-month construction of the new building, which opened on Aug. 2. The company will also retain its original site at 240 Johnson St.

The cousins credit David’s shrewd decision to purchase the property next door to the Royal Oak Burial Park in 1998, where the McCalls built the Sequoia Gardens in 1998. During recent construction the Sequoia Gardens building was renovated and is now connected as a whole to the McCall Gardens.

“We’re really proud of our big family, a close-knit family that holidays together when we can,” Trevor said. “We’re not forgetting where we came from.”

The family pride beams almost as bright as the daylight filling the McCall Garden’s main hall through ceiling-high windows, bouncing off walls of exposed cherry and fir. It’s bright, with a West Coast contemporary style that is not seen in other funeral homes.

Before the decided to build in Saanich, the business did four months of local research.

“It was about three years ago we decided to either build a new facility here at Royal Oak or renovate the downtown site, so we really wanted to know what people wanted if we were going to [Saanich],” Trevor said.

With pressures coming from corporate competition, the building was in part born out of the family’s desire to move to connect deeper with the community.

“We’ve been approached to sell, but we’re proud to be family owned and proud to have a think local mindset,” said Trevor.

Trevor, who earned a scholarship with Iona College in New York after a successful junior hockey career with the Victoria Salsa (Grizzlies), came back to the funeral business about seven years ago. Craig was already here, having joined full time in 1999.

“My wife and I came back from New York and committed to being here for two years,” Trevor said of his wife Erin of New York. “By the end of it, there was no question we were staying.”

Before Trevor arrived, Craig had already completed his funeral director apprenticeship. With four kids between them, Craig with a son, 10, and a daughter, 7, and Trevor with two boys, aged one and four, it’s the makings of a fifth generation of McCalls.

“From the start there was never any pressure to go into the family business,” Craig said. “After I came back  [as an adult] I fell in love with it, the hugs, the people we work with and the thanks we get, and when I was offered to work full time I took it.”

The name Sequoia Gardens came from the series of large sequoias on the Royal Oak property. In Saanich fashion, the new facility was designed around three of the biggest sequoias. It was designed by local architect Peter de Hoog, and built by Saanich’s Durwest Construction.

“We did all the plans with the preservation and celebration of the sequoias in mind,” Trevor said.

Before constructing the facility, the company hired a local research company that ran focus groups and surveyed more than 400 Greater Victorians. It took four months, and was well worth the effort, Craig said.

Being next to the non-profit Royal Oak Burial Park is part of the draw. Like the First Memorial Funeral Services, which is just a few hundred metres up Falaise Drive, McCall’s has a close relationship with the burial park.

 

McCall’s new hall can host up to 300 people in the main centre and up to 45 people in the more intimate Redwood lounge. There are five large TVs and up-to-date audio visual capabilities which can run tributes and photo albums. They can also broadcast the service live on the internet to anyone in the world, which is helpful when the funeral draws over capacity.

 

 

Just Posted

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read