Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Glamorgan Farm is a 3.4 hectare agricultural property located on a rise of land in North Saanich. It is comprised of eleven log and wood-frame structures surrounded by paddocks, grassed fields, mature trees and plantings, with a double row of Lombardy poplars lining the entry drive. The cluster of massive log barns is unique, and is a visual landmark in the area.
One of the oldest continuously operated farms on Vancouver Island, Glamorgan Farm is valued as a tangible link with the agricultural history of North Saanich, evocative of the spirit and pride of generations of local farmers. Established in 1870 by William Booth and later owned by Richard John and his four sons, Glamorgan Farm is an important representation of long-term development and settlement in North Saanich, an area which has been primarily agricultural since 1852. After the original large farm property was subdivided, this portion was purchased by gentleman farmer John Samuel Henry Matson, who developed the site as a model farm in the early twentieth century. Agricultural use of the site has continued, and although the farm has been greatly reduced in size through the expropriation of land for an air base (now Victoria International Airport) during the Second World War, and later through subdivision, the impressive core of the working compound has remained intact. Local farmer, politician and author Anny Scoones, who acquired Glamorgan Farm in 2000, has worked to preserve the unique collection of buildings, and has documented her life at Glamorgan Farm in her books.
Glamorgan Farm is also valued for its association with Matson, a wealthy entrepreneur who owned Victoria's Daily Colonist newspaper, initiated ferry service to the Gulf Islands and built the Royal Theatre in Victoria in 1913. Matson typified the capitalistic ambitions of the era, but his great love was farming, and he spared no expense in constructing new buildings and making Glamorgan a show farm. His herd of imported purebred Jersey cattle achieved national fame and was used to improve the breeding stock on many local farms.
The farm is also valued for the unprecedented scale and concentration of its farm structures. Matson added outbuildings to the existing John farm buildings on a grand scale. Huge logs were floated across the Saanich Inlet from Mill Bay to build the massive new barns; the use of log construction on this scale is unusual. The structure and design of the barns is highly sophisticated, indicating the care, attention and resources that Matson lavished on the farm. At the centre of the complex is a unique two-storey log barn built in a symmetrical cross-shape with 30 metre-long wings on each side. The Jersey cattle barn is a linear structure with walls of log infill. Along with the log farm worker’s house, other log and frame barns, a chicken coop and auxiliary structures, this compound formed the working core of a major agricultural operation.
Source: District of North Saanich Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of Glamorgan Farm include the:
- collection of agricultural buildings that forms an intact farm compound, including a residence, massive barns and other functional structures
- two-storey cross-shaped barn, with notched log walls, a heavy internal timber structure from which the second floor is hung on tension rods, a gambrel roof with a central belfry ventilator, and hoists and double doors in each of the four gable ends
- Matson Jersey Barn, a two-storey linear structure with upright log posts with horizontal log infill walls, and a gabled roof with clerestory windows
- three-storey hay barn with a gable roof, high concrete foundation, log first-storey walls and board-and-batten cladding on the two-storey loft above
- farm worker’s house, a log structure with a hipped roof and symmetrical hipped dormers
- one-storey log hay barn with a gabled roof
- other wood-frame agricultural buildings such as a chicken coop, smaller barns and sheds
- associated landscape features, such as paddocks and fenced yards, Lombardy poplars lining the entry drive, Garry Oaks, an ancient quince and various mature trees and shrubs
- continuous use as a working farm
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Food Supply
- Farm or Ranch
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
District of North Saanich Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection