“I knew that my grandfather had roots that started in Scotland” Stacy Ross’s mother, Sharie Epp explained. “So I was googling around, and I eventually found my great,... More
“Well, I was the fourth generation to be born here” CHEK News reporter Tess van Straaten said. “My kids are the fifth generation to grow up here…” Her mom, Dee... More
Sue Coleman grew up in England, but married a Canadian. She’s lived in Victoria, in Metchosin, and home is now beautiful Cowichan Bay. But her story of coming to Canada begins in Colch... More
“So, mum and dad were married in ’47” says Nora Dowsett, as she points to the picture of their wedding in Finland. Nora explained that her parents decided there was more op... More
Grace Nickels has lived in her neighbourhood for 93 years and shared her story. “This is where McKenzie Avenue was put through, from Burnside past the Interurban…” Grace Ni... More
“I was in Duncan hospital” explains an animated Gillian Rees.
It was June 30, 1967, and she was about to deliver her second baby.
And the nurses told her, “Listen, hang on, hang on, because if you’re the first baby born in the second century [after Canada’s first one hundred years], you will get free education, free groceries, free diapers…”
But Gillian couldn’t hang on, and Gareth Rees popped out a few hours before midnight, on June 30, 1967.
So, how did the family come to Vancouver Island?
Alun Rees, who confirms with a smile that this is the correct, welsh, spelling of his name, picks up the tale.
“I was born in Wales, yes…A-L-U-N!
“My father’s a miner. I’m from a very small community.”
He met his wife Gill, when they were both teaching in London, England.
“Where you meet all the best ladies, right! Ha ha ha!”
They married, and headed to Bermuda to teach. Back in London eighteen months later, with a new baby in tow, “a pal of mine who was living in Victoria wrote to me and said, ‘listen, why don’t you come to Canada? There are jobs here, particularly in British Columbia.'”
Alun got a teaching job at Brentwood College. And taught rugby too.
“I was raised rugby, that’s my religion” he explains.
Gareth nods in agreement. “That [rugby community] was like our family. That was our Christmas parties, that was our Sunday dinners, and weekends were spent
on the side of the rugby or field hockey or soccer pitches, just supporting our Dads and Mums. That’s just how we were raised.”
Gareth played rugby growing up, then headed to England to study, and honed his rugby skills.
“I came back to London after doing my post grad at Oxford, and taught at Eton, and ended up teaching Prince William, and Prince Harry, amongst others at Eton College.”
Considered the country’s greatest rugby player, Rees was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
I asked Gareth’s dad Alun if he and Gill are glad they came to Canada? He gives an emphatic yes.
“There’s just no better country in the world – there really isn’t.
“I think, if you’re an immigrant, and you demonstrate that you have a work ethic, Canadians will embrace you.”
Sitting next to his wife of sixty years, Bob Bell begins to tell his story. “I was born in Manchester, England” Bob says, thinking back to his childhood. “Some of my earlie... More
In 1951, Brigitte Bauersach Wolff’s family, which included Brigitte’s parents, she and her husband, two sisters and a brother, arrived in Canada. They had come from Germany, but... More
Tanya Descoteau Witt and Mereta Witt’s father, Ove Witt, trained as a cheesemaker in Copenhagen, but there were few opportunities on post-war Denmark. And, as his daughter Mereta expla... More
“My mum was from East Germany, and Dad from Hamburgh” explains Olympian, Author, and Motivational Speaker Silken Laumann, “and after the Second World War it was a really to... More
Stacy – some of our viewers might remember ed’s claim to literary fame – his book – men are from mars – ed is from castor (alberta) – but this book pales... More
This is Mandi Schubert’s story, in her own words: When I was three months old, I was abandoned and placed in a cardboard box beside the road in Seoul, Korea. I was found by a police of... More
Camil Dufort and his wife Judith Hodgson, both from Manitoba, met in Victoria more than thirty years ago. But Camil’s Canadian roots date all the way back to the mid-16oo’s. In 1... More
“On my father’s side,” explains First Nation Master Carver Carey Newman, “my grandfather was Kwakwaka’wakw from the Kukwakam, Gixsam and Wa’welibayi clans... More
Patricia Ball’s roots in Victoria date back to 1852, when her great, great grandfather Thomas Skinner and his wife Mary mary arrived. Thomas was a bailiff, and had been hired by Sir Ja... More
Valdy is an icon in Canadian Folk Music. He’s produced fifteen albums, twenty-two singles, and four gold records. He’s won two Juno Awards, with another seven nominations. He... More
Russ Courtnall begins the story, explaining that his grandfather emigrated from England. “Our grandfather moved over in 1920, 1922. They were quite a large family and they sailed over... More