Posts Tagged ‘Fireside Grill’

Royal Oak Community Gardens

Written by Harold McNeill on November 12th, 2012. Posted in Guest Posts


Community Gardens in Saanich play an important role in helping maintain the rural ambiance of our Municipality. The land is available in Royal Oak along with a group willing to spearhead the initiative.
(The above photo was modified from a copy posted on the Saanich District Web Site)   (Jun 2019, 2810)

June 2019  Read the updates coming from cfair and Saanich.

Article Summary:

The small parcel of land on the east side of the Royal Oak Shopping Centre on West Saanich Road has never been developed beyond the historical building, now called the Fireside Grill, that sits at the north end.

In 1964, John Maltwood gave over the entire property, including a sizeable endowment and valuable art collection, in trust to the University of Victoria. After maintaining the building and art collection into the late 1970s (ten years after the death of John Maltwood) the University began proceedings to divest themselves of house and property.

Photo (September 2012): View of the 2.77-acre parcel looking south from West Saanich Road at the entrance to the Fireside Grill.

After a successful court challenge, the University removed the art collection and sold or gave the remaining property to the Municipality of Saanich. While the details of discussion leading to the transfer is not known, it seems likely the University was anxious to see the property transferred as quickly as possible as they were receiving a great deal of adverse press over their decision to break the Maltwood trust.

After taking possession, Saanich administered the building and property for several years as a lease, with the first lessee opening the popular Chantecler Restaurant. After the Chantecler closed, Saanich sub-divided off a portion of land around the building and through a bid process, sold the building and small parcel of land to the current owners and operators of the Fireside Grill. At some point in time, the entire property was rezoned as C-2 (commercial development).

There is little doubt Saanich realized a sizeable profit on the transaction and at the same was able to retain clear title to the 2.77-acre parcel. The question that remains — what is to become of that 2.77-acre parcel of valuable green space?

Both historically and presently, residents and businesses in the Royal Oak area have expressed a strong preference for keeping the property in the public domain either as green space, parkland, allotment garden or some combination of the three.

The purpose of this article is to provide additional background on the property, of previous attempts to develop a strip mall and of the recent community-based suggestion of turning the property into an allotment garden.  No one in the surrounding residential area or the present business community has either now or in the past, openly expressed interest in seeing the property turned over to commercial development.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    July 25, 2021 |

    Glad you enjoyed Craig. It was fun researching and writing that particular post. It seems I was in school many years before you, the 1950s to be more precise. Cheers, Harold

  • Craig Patterson

    July 18, 2021 |

    Thank you for sharing this. I grew up in Cold Lake (former town of Grand Centre) and we’d heard many stories over the years. Today I was talking to my Mom about the Kinosoo and I came to this article when I was searching images of the fish — I recall when I was in school in the 80s where was a photo supposedly taken (I think it’s the one of the ice fisherman above).

  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.