HERITAGE ACRES: The Peninsula’s Best Kept Secret in Extraordinary Events and Time Travel

by Kelly Finerty | photos by Tanya Murchie – 

I’ve had several instances of time travel. Typically it happens in a dream, or while watching a period piece of film or TV, maybe even a short déjà vu where I’m almost certain I’ve had this experience before. On this occasion, however, I had the pleasure of a new experience visiting Heritage Acres in Central Saanich, British Columbia.

Imagine as I tell you how this beautiful place filled with gems of the past will entrance you with its charm and entice you to explore the nearly 30 acres of mostly wheelchair accessible out-buildings and forest trails. All this is waiting at the end of Lochside Drive, and open to the public for adventure and events.

Heritage Acres is run by the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society, a not for profit, and staffed solely by 150 volunteers who dedicate their skills to the grounds and trades, keeping the property and the historical treasures housed within it pristine. Sawmill workers, historians, blacksmiths, metal workers, restoration specialists, engineers and many others lend their heroic efforts building out the property to attract communities, families, school groups and people from all over to enjoy everything Heritage Acres has to offer, which as it turns out, is endless.

Exciting events, organized and curated by the volunteers, are happening over the summer, and you won’t want to miss these:

June 15 and 16 bring the whole family (including furry family on a leash) to the 2024 Summer Fair! Starting at 9 a.m., and only $5 per person (children 12 and under FREE). Spend the day participating in adventurous activities watching blacksmiths forge amazing creations (a Harry Potter-like wand perhaps?), the sawmill buzzing through raw logs, and steam tractors roaring to life. Take a ride on the model trains through the forest tracks from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. operated by the Vancouver Island Model Engineers. There are many fun foods to try and memories to make at this historical event!

Starting July 3 until mid-September, every Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. come and enjoy the Heritage Acres Barbecue for $30 per person. Served family style in the courtyard with several protein choices, this social event will keep you coming back to step into the past, while indulging in delicious summer foods of today. Book your tickets through Heritage Acres’ website.

As a mother to two exuberant children, attending the first ever Children’s Day at Heritage Acres August 10 will be a wonderful way to round out the busy summer months. The event features a treasure hunt through the grounds that the kids will love (and grown-ups too!), with plenty of children’s games and activities to boot.

Love local foods? Heritage Acres hosts Food Day Canada August 3, celebrating farmers and chefs serving fresh produce and exciting dishes. Tickets are booked through Eventbrite, and your tastebuds will thank you!

Have an event of your own? The grounds are perfect for almost anything you can dream up! Book your wedding, school outing, corporate retreat, family reunion, celebration or gathering of any kind. Visit the Heritage Acres website for more details.

I had the pleasure of taking my tour through time guided by the President of Heritage Acres, Phil Clark. The detailed knowledge he graciously shared with me as we freely wandered the buildings and grounds was an astonishing gift. I felt a part of something nostalgic, grasping historical events in the perfectly restored items you must see for yourself.

Donations provide Heritage Acres with its opportunities to share their labours of love with the public. The community returns to the grounds to “step back in time and have an old-fashioned enjoyable family day out,” and I agree with Phil on this whole heartedly. Bring a picnic any day of the week and enjoy the acreage! Entry is by donation.

To donate to Heritage Acres in other ways, visit their website –www.heritageacresbc.com – or visit the grounds in person at 7321 Lochside Drive, with summer hours daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Excited to learn more in real time? Follow them on Instagram to see their latest projects @heritageacresbc and step back in time every day with the “Peninsula’s best kept secret” (though not so secret anymore)!

Shopping Cart