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Our Community: View Royal farm celebrates 100 years, Grandmothers for Africa arrive at Mile Zero

The Pollack family, which began farming in View Royal in 1921, has received a Century Farm Award from the province

The province is recognizing a View Royal family’s more than 100 years of farming with a ­Century Farm Award.

The Pollock family began farming in the community in 1921, when brothers Malcolm and Neil Pollock bought 24 acres near the Six Mile Pub in View Royal from the Hudson’s Bay Company. They cleared the land and built four greenhouses, which remained in operation until 1976.

Malcolm’s son Earl ran the farm from 1939 until 1990, when he added his son, David, to the deed.

David and his wife, Ingelise, took over the Pollock Family Farm in 2003 and continue to operate it.

“The Pollock family is proud to accept the Century Farm Award from the province, but my wife, Ingelise, deserves much of the credit for what the farm has become today,” said Dave Pollock. “However, the generations who preceded us cannot be overlooked.”

He said his father’s primary goal was to grow flowers for the local markets and prepare bulbs, mostly daffodils. Neil was more interested in the retail side and, along with his wife, Agnes, established Pollock’s Florists at 1315 Douglas St. in 1936. The business continued under various owners until about 1986.

“Financial returns were meagre some years, but my father’s fondest boast was that all meals prepared by my mother were 100 per cent homegrown,” said Pollock, who grows tomatoes that are descendants of ones his father grew. “Ingelise and I can often make the same boast.”

The Century Farm Award honours pioneers whose farms, ranches or agricultural organizations have been active in B.C. for 100 years or more. The program was created in 1994, on the centennial of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The Pollock Family Farm is a story of commitment to family and community,” said Agriculture Minister Lana Popham in a statement. “Family farms are at the heart of our communities, and I want to thank the Pollock family for providing homegrown food to the Victoria area for over a century.”

The fifth and sixth generation of the family continue to live on the farm.

“Given the economics of farming and the ever-diminishing infrastructure necessary to support agricultural activity, I am not recommending that they quit their day jobs any time soon,” said Pollock.

“But secretly, I hope they will continue.”

>>> Grandmothers for Africa arrive at Mile Zero today

The public is invited to celebrate the arrival of 28 riders completing the Victoria Grandmothers for Africa’s annual Cycle Tour at Mile Zero at 3 p.m. today.

The fundraiser is part of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Since its inception in 2007, the tour has raised more than $1 million for grandmothers in Africa who care for children orphaned by the ongoing HIV and AIDS pandemic.

This year, 28 riders, all women 55 and older, cycled from Campbell River to Victoria, a 275-kilometre journey, in three days, starting Friday.

Grandmother groups along the route, including the Campbell River Grandmothers to Grandmothers Group, Merville Grandmothers, Glacier Grannies in Comox, Oceanside Grandmothers in Nanoose Bay, Nan Go Grandmothers in Nanaimo and Glammas in Saanich, offered dinner, coffee, lunch and cheers to the riders.

In the past few weeks, 47 participants have also undertaken a virtual journey from south to north in Africa. Some of the virtual cyclists will join the in-person tour in Victoria and be led to Mile Zero by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

The celebration starts at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 at Mile Zero, at the intersection of Douglas and Dallas roads.

• For more information, go to vg4a.ca.

>>> Registration for Gingerbread Showcase

Registration is now open for Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s Gingerbread Showcase, but hurry, as limited spaces are available.

The event, in its 14th year, challenges home chefs, professional bakers, artists, designers, architects or just fans of baking to put some magic into a gingerbread creation — and this year’s theme is, in fact, “magical.”

The finished products will be showcased online and at the Parkside Hotel and Spa from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2, with the public invited to vote on their favourites while making a donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build fund.

The annual event is the premier fundraiser for the organization, which helps provide affordable homes for families.

Along with the People’s Choice Award — chosen by the voting public at the end of the showcase — prizes will be awarded for best first impression, best use of skill and technique, best interpretation of the theme, most creative and original and most diverse use of ingredients.

• For more information and to register, go to habitatvictoria.com/2022-gingerbread-baker-registration.html

>>> Log Cabin Museum is back

The Saanich Pioneer Society’s Log Cabin Museum in Saanichton is holding a reopening event on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The museum closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The society took the opportunity to do some much-needed restoration work on the structure’s foundation over the past 18 months.

They also added new displays and refreshed the historic log cabin.

The non-profit charitable society is dedicated to the preservation of the historical records of the Saanich Peninsula. The museum and archives are volunteer-run and supported by grants and donations.

‚ÄčThe society traces its roots to settler families who lived on the Peninsula in the late 1860s. They gathered for social activities like dances and mutual support. Some of them started the North and South Saanich Agricultural Fair, which has been held annually since 1868.

Admission is by donation. The reopening event features a short ceremony followed by refreshments. It runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at 7910 Polo Park Cres., just off East Saanich Road.

• For more information, go to saanichpioneersociety.com.

parrais@timescolonist.com