The Hunt Club
Carriages lined the fence and spectators watched in the rain at a steeplechase meet on a former sheep pasture of Captain Langford's Colwood farm. Although only two meets have been confirmed (April 23, 1898, and November 17, 1900 at "Colwood Park"), the Hunt Club apparently held several more events in the early 1900s. The Colwood Golf Club was established on the site in 1913 and the former race course became the fifth and sixth fairways.
While Ann Wale was busy at the old Langford Dairy William Wale was at another part of the farm clearing stones from Captain Langford's former sheep pasture for a Victoria Hunt Club event.
The flat Langford Plains were chosen as a suitable place for steeplechase events during the late 1890s and early 1900s. According to William's granddaughter Hazel Scafe's recollections, he cleaned up the land and repaired the broken fencing zigzagging and crisscrossing the land, separating livestock and crops so sheep and cattle could graze at will. For the race course he removed thousands of larger rocks with a horse and stoneboat, as well as levelling the track.
When the Colwood Golf Course replaced most of the former HBC farm, golfers were puzzled to see piles of stones heaped around the foot of many of the old oak trees, unaware that they were gathered by William Wale as he prepared the track.
William Wale arrived at Fort Victoria as a boy of ten to work a five year contract as a shepherd at another HBC farm. Thirty years later he was wealthy enough to lease the large Colwood farm, still owned by the HBC, for $400 a year.
from Scafe/Wale Collection
Sources: John Ronald's History of the Royal Colwood Golf Club, The First 90 Years; notes from an unpublished family history by Hazel Olsen, William Wales' granddaughter; Toronto Public library, race cards for two hunt club meets.
The original house Langford built for his wife, five daughters and an infant son after the family arrived at Fort Victoria in 1851.
(Image PDP00085 Courtesy of BC Archives)