by Jo Barnes –
With a simple stroke of a pen, history was made.
Ardmore Golf Course in North Saanich has served as a hub of sportsmanship and fellowship for 73 years, but on March 1, 2020 in a special ceremony in its clubhouse, ownership by the duTemple family transferred to the Pauquachin Nation.
“It is fee simple land, part of the North Saanich District, and the Nation will continue the running and owning of the property and business,” says Pauquachin Chief Rebecca David. “It’s a viable opportunity for the Nation to demonstrate that we can move forward owning and buying land here; it’s also enhancing our relationship with the District.”
The Ardmore transaction is a landmark event and represents a multi-million-dollar investment by the Pauquachin Nation into the Saanich Peninsula community.
Excitement at the signing ceremony, led by Al Sam of the Tsartlip Nation, was palpable. The Chief, elders and leadership council of Pauquachin Nation gathered together with members of the duTemple family, North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr, Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith and other community members. Reflecting Salish traditions, selected witnesses were named, given gifts and asked to safekeep and pass forward knowledge of the ceremony. A gift of a blanket was given to Wally duTemple by the Pauquachin. As well as a handmade Inuit scroll, the duTemple family gave the Pauquachin a drum which the Chief immediately played. She and her councillors sang: “We will stand together, stand united, we are one.” The words were powerful.
“Thanks to the Pauquachin people for allowing us to be here in unceded territory,” shared Wally duTemple. “Time has flown. It has been a labour of love.”
Known as the North Saanich Golf Club, then later Ardmore Golf Course, the property was originally primarily a farm where hay, potatoes, corn and apples were grown. By the early 1930s, the property was owned by Alan Steamships Ltd., and a golf course layout was established then enhanced. It was enjoyed by community members through the war years, and in 1946 retired RCAF Wing Commander George duTemple purchased the property. He, his wife Alice and sons Ronald, Barry, and Wally moved into the small house on the acreage. Thus began a venture that impacted their family over generations.
“At age 12, it became my job to take the tractor out just before dark, driving around to each green and putting the sprinklers out on each,” shares Cindy duTemple. “I treasure my memories of Ardmore Golf Course, and I always will.”
Ardmore has deep roots in the North Saanich community, and over the years has been a popular destination for both serious and weekend golfers.
“It’s a good hometown golf course that’s been here a long time,” shares Alison Lee, former General Manager. “Ardmore has been very involved with the community, for instance, doing drives for the food bank.”
The Ardmore transaction marks a transfer of stewardship of land but also improves opportunities for Pauquachin and the Peninsula.
“I grew up in the cottage on the property and went to school with Pauquachin kids,” says Teri duTemple. I’m excited to see what they will do with it.”
“Pauquachin has always been small, but now we’re becoming more progressive with being able to reach opportunities that we’ve never had. Now the floodgate is opening in terms of how open we are to relationship building and how important it is,” shares Chief Rebecca. “We’re starting to stand up now. There’s so much we want to do.”
Ardmore will continue on with the same staff and daily operations, but there is potential here for new community interactions, such as partnerships with schools in creating a youth golf academy, hosting more First Nations tournaments, or creating signage on the course to educate visitors about the history of the area.
As new landowners and District taxpayers, Pauquachin will also have a voice at the local economic level.
“This opens up an economic relationship with the greater community,” says Wally.
“Our doors are open to creating new relationships. There’s benefit when we are working collectively,” shares Chief Rebecca.
Upholding the beauty of Ardmore and preserving it as a place for community recreation has long been the goal for one family, and now this will continue by the Pauquachin. But maybe even more importantly, it opens up economic doors and strengthens community bonds for future generations.
Photo 1st image: Wally du Temple and Chief Rebecca David. Photo 2nd image: Chief Rebecca David with Herman Henry, Councillor. Photos by Amanda Cribdon Photography.