Saturday, September 26, 2009

check out UNDER THE SUN, Vancouver artist Roy Arden's amazing new blog...
an oldish essay of mine on RA's Fragments...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chris Connor

Arcady Auto Court
Located at the corner of the Old Chemainus Road and the highway across from Coronation Mall is the Arcady Auto Court. Back in the mid thirties Dr. Hannington developed the piece of property as tourist attraction and campground. The name comes from Arcady, “a region in ancient Greece in the Peloponnesus. Its inhabitants, relatively isolated from the rest of the known civilized world, proverbially lived a simple, pastoral life”.

It quickly became a popular attraction with Victoria residents who would come up by train for the day to play on the beach or to enjoy the teahouse. The teahouse was located in the large building visible from the highway. For longer stays, a number of the cabins could be rented.

The Arcady was also known for its beach and the proximity to the estuary of the creek. Dr Hannington and a partner are reported to have had a pond built on the present site of the Safeway. Apparently, the pond was stocked with fish and they planned to rent small boats for fishing.

In the late 30’s the cabins became home to many young couples who moved to Ladysmith to take jobs with Comox Logging and Railroad. For some this would be their first home in Canada as they had just immigrated; they would live in one of the cabins until they could build up a nest egg to purchase their own home. With its year-round residents and vacationers, the site was home to many a good party. Island residents would come here for their summer holidays and it was popular as well with tourists travelling up and down the Island.

In 1956, Marge and Herman Anderson purchased the site and raised their family. It was a great site for kids to grow up on as they had access to the ocean, green space and the creek. Marge continued to rent out the cabins up until her passing in 2004.

A few years ago the site was purchased by Marge’s granddaughter and well-known actress Pam Anderson. Pam in partnership with the Courtnall brothers (Russ and Geoff) of hockey fame, are developing the property into it’s next stage of evolution. Already many of the old cabins have been moved to Coombs and preserved for further use. Plans call for the protection of the significant trees on the site and preserving as much green space as practical. It is reported that a total of 83 units out of an allowable 112 will be built, the land coverage will only be 33 per cent of the site rather than the possible 60 per cent allowed. This means there will be 17,000 sq. m. of construction although the site allows for 30,0000 sq. m. of construction. The units will be built on the larger size of about 1,500 to 2,000 sq. ft. Plans also include rebuilding the wharf/marina that was once there.

While it’s a shame to lose this bit of heritage, it’s exciting to know that the site will once again be filled with people enjoying this special place.
Clare Singleton

Thursday, September 24, 2009