Saanich’s history on display

Sept. 13 tour will visit schoolhouse, jail, lawn bowling club

The Saanich Bus Tour & Tea is set to visit some of the district’s most historic buildings

The Saanich Bus Tour & Tea is set to visit some of the district’s most historic buildings

There’s a lot of history in Saanich, and next Sunday offers a great opportunity to learn about the district’s heritage.

On Sept. 13, the district is having its 30th annual Saanich Heritage Bus Tour & Tea, exploring some notable neighbourhoods and showcasing numerous buildings of historical prominence. The four-hour tour will be led by Ken Johnson, president of the Hallmark Heritage Society, in an air-conditioned coach.

“It’s a wonderful Sunday afternoon excursion,” said archives supervisor Caroline Duncan. “It’s been a popular event in the municipality since 1986.

“The purpose of the tour is to raise awareness of Saanich’s heritage. We pass by these buildings without really understanding the significance.”

One of the notable stops on the tour is Hampton Hall, built in 1927 as the clubhouse for the Burnside Lawn Bowling Club. The clubhouse still operates out of the hall, and the club recently donated its historical records to the Saanich Archives.

“All the minutes and scrapbook albums and photographs – we’ve just finished digitizing all of the photographs, and those are all now on our website,” said Duncan, noting they wanted to celebrate the transfer of records by visiting the hall.

“We’ll be able to go inside the building, we’ll see some old photos and trophies, and we’ll even have a chance to try lawn bowling.”

Other stops include the Saanich War Memorial Health Centre, the Wilkinson Road jail, Saanich municipal hall – which is celebrating 50 years since its construction – and the Craigflower Schoolhouse, the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada and the oldest building in Saanich. Following the heritage sites, the tour will stop at the Cedar Hill Golf Club for afternoon tea and snacks.

The tour departs Saanich Commonwealth Place at 12:30 p.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. The cost of the tour is $34.50 and early registration is recommended as there are only 54 spots on the bus. To register, visit recreation.saanich.ca or through any Saanich recreation centre using the course code 685465.