1858 engraving of Victoria

Colonial History Vancouver Island

Maureen Duffus - Author and Historian


Excerpts - Craigflower Country

Ruth and John Pearce with fish
Ruth McTavish Pearce, left, and her brother John, decendants of Dr. John Helmcken, enjoyed their catch at Deadman's Creek, ca. 1920 behind their Uncle Jack's section of the Helmcken property.
(View Royal Archives)

Fishing in Deadman's Creek

The late Ruth McTavish Pearce, great granddaughter of Fort Victoria's Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken who owned most of what is now south View Royal, was interviewed about her long family connection with View Royal.

My memories of View Royal go back to the early 20s. My Uncle Jack, John A. McTavish, owned the property from the water to the Old Island Highway which now includes Tovey Crescent, Prince Robert Drive and the end of View Royal Avenue.

He had a home on the point, opposite Dr. Holden's house, and we spent many happy days visiting there, playing on White Shell Beach, climbing the hill in spring to pick wildflowers, lilies, lady slippers and buttercups. Heddle Avenue up the hill was named for Uncle Jack's sister Dorothy who married Edwin Heddle.

My dad, Duncan McTavish, owned the land on the other side of the highway where he had a farm. John Bate and his family lived there and looked after the farm. He had five pigs named Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Ruth - my brother's name is John.

The farm was eventually sold to the Alexander family who built a large house, Chantecler, which was run as a roadhouse. The replica of Fort Victoria is there now. Uncle Jack died in 1929 and his property was sold to Mr. Terry who owned Terry's Drug store, who sold it to Mr. Newstead whose company developed the area.

Deadman's Creek
Deadman's Creek, winter scene, west of Helmcken Road near Portage Inlet.

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