Catherine Taron
Vancouver Island Visual Artist
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Elkington House

11" x 14" pencil on sketch paper (NFS)

I live near the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve and walk past it quite often. There’s no public access to the site, but there is an interpretative walkway that allows some limited viewing, to appreciate what’s there, species-wise. This is thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, its current owner, and to volunteer stewards. The preserve’s land was previously owned by the Elkington family, who arrived in the 1860s and began farming. Thankfully, the family left a portion of land relatively undisturbed; thus, the current ecological preserve. The Elkingtons also built a home on the site, called Oak Park, which remains to this day, although vacant and, if not cared for soon, could be lost. Fortunately, some enthusiastic locals are looking to preserve the building and have formed a new non-profit society for its renovation and operation. This is good news indeed, and I look forward to hearing more about the soceity's plans and progress.