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Booth Bay Resort

Nonnie Guthrie

Mrs. Guthrie gives a full and detailed description of what life and holidays at the resort were like, with many elements of life revealed.

Accession Number 989.031.042 Interviewer
Date Feb. 7, 1986 Location Cassette tapes box File #24 to File #48 Shelf 8C
Media Audio CD
ID 37 Topic Booth Bay Resort when it was Acland’s l947-67




Unknown Speaker 0:00
Hi, this is Tony Guthrie and I'm going to talk about the Boothbay resorts in Paris. According to I've loaded, the original building was put up by one of his many military relations, I think possibly and I'm hoping my parents always thought had just been built by Ernest Rossi, who was an uncle of Desmond.

Unknown Speaker 0:35
Great, John Clapton.

Unknown Speaker 0:39
Anyway, they came to Salt Spring Island at the end of World War Two, looking as they fought for a motel My mother has done some resort work before to sick of cooking. What she would like to do something that didn't involve so much time in the kitchen. So I came over with about, I think it was about 1947 and see what they were going to get into. The took one look at the little motel. And besides that, that that was episode they traveled down the hill to salt spray Labs, which was on the other side of the street. Close to went back. And they've gone for a long time and I waited and then they came out of the Salt Spring labs. We

Unknown Speaker 1:34
headed off to the Ganges road, going down baseload.

Unknown Speaker 1:39
I didn't really know what was coming to look at. And as we came down the hill, it was a wonderful March day was a very bright and sparkly and there was a huge lottery last spring. Here was this incredible old house with these turned up roofs. And I can see a huge grid spreading over my father's face because I suspect we always pound themselves as a Country Squire. Anyway, they both fell in love with us. And they bought this is my favorite real estate story in the property. world were 105 acres each meadows, hills, rocks, a mile and a half north. The old house, two cottages, one converted garage, and the other not so converted to chicken house. And the total price for this crime. South facing blowback war was $15,000. That always makes me laugh. So I think the price is up to us right now. So they moved in in addition to the buildings, they inherited a lab sheet that became very much part of the Si Si was the result developed. There were only really three pieces of rooms to rent. And of course, my mother robbed herself back in the kitchen cooking again. Over the years they developed an incredibly loyal clientele because of the bad news. And lack of one of the really best water other features of the photosites forgotten, right. Plus class plus the oysters plus a huge vegetable garden and very relaxed and peaceful there was nobody quite living down the road or tall in those days. My father's name was bevels

Unknown Speaker 4:13
Acklam B C, the Ilac L A N

Unknown Speaker 4:20
D. His wife's name was Marjorie ma R J O R R E and they ran the resort for about 20 years. I guess they were 50 ish when they start rattling my father became ill so I think the guests enjoy was the fact that it was not really like a public resort call and it was like family home with a lot of accommodation and family style cooking. In fact, my mother really wouldn't have known what restaurant cooking was. So the food that she served was exactly as she served into her own family. And believe because she had very high standards. I got for her two summers to give her a bit of a mess. I got to know that she was no easy lady, please. It was always absolutely first rate the dad route me best. Anyone who's lived on Saltspring for any length of time knows how little really good gardening lab there is. And they were lucky enough to have at the back of the property is the space where there had been an old tennis court and for some reason the soil underneath it was absolutely superb.

Unknown Speaker 5:59
See, she

Unknown Speaker 6:02
also contributed to the great veggie patch. There had been an old barn up at the top of the hill, the Shiva children in the winter when this was Brett data. He also filled out tons and tons of requests. So all the time Jordan was able to supply the kitchen with vegetables, never with fresh vegetables. Just come into the kitchen and say well, these are based carrots. lettuces. berries in season strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, foliage lights this morning, so sort of half an hour from the kitchen garden into the bottom of the table. And how I used to do all the shopping because I'm sure cams are pretty busy. In those days, the two grocery stores it was Ben's Nike dollar in the basement with a superb meet. And the old trading company not quite as glamorous as it is now was operating in the same place where spilling the milk and cream came from George Hi Nikki's there if I'm down for souviens never was there better cream. Know that one of my chores in the summers when I was cooking was to have our cat always homemade ice cream they our little turtle squeaks. And then of course the clams on the beach which used to entertain the guests go down they're still getting my mother's handled things was to organize the cooking she had some help never really quite at least wasn't big enough to accommodate the outside type of piece. So she usually has one girl working with her ultimately housework tables. There's a separate place for people University to come in, sometimes and very often, the health plans and over the years the customers became friends too and they came back year after year. In fact, great friends of mine still come over who spent their honeymoon resort I should say this when my parents ran this place, they simply called after course the name has to be changed when they sold out. And it's been called the coupe resort ever since just carry to the various owners. What's happened since they started immediately. My parents were times in business, building more cabinets, which was the obvious thing to do and I think now that probably 12 cameras set out to the point. Another point of interest. Is that the point of spiffs the most will face now is an old Indian middle and the old orchard for which there's still remnants now see, I was an Indian burial ground. My kids were small things We've been digging around it's fortunate to see swiped years but it's still possible to find work. Now congressman, Washington dryers the room which is now the dining was the family living, which was also opened. Yes. And there's two of these wave wrenches used to develop in the guests will come down upstairs rooms and spent the parents say they just became absolutely proposed to submit to my parents that was one nurse from Victoria who's come over every year in the wild Bramble seeds nuts I don't mean this huge Groundlings blacklist. Still for a little while Brown, so delicious to spend a whole holiday pitching his grandmother's bring them down to the lady who absolutely exquisite my mother's problem was always he was a great storyteller and people used to congregate in the kitchen, which made life very difficult some ways.

Unknown Speaker 11:39
And I can see her now she was late smoker, unfortunately. And there's the wander around with her long average cigarette. Yeah, well, while she was making bread or ashes off selling, certainly that the basement like my mom, then around 11 o'clock, those who felt in the circle here in the kitchen, because behind the kitchen stove was always a five gallon crock of the grind, which was accomplished. In the morning, if the words children, they are often how intense or they use the chicken houses as their headquarters, but most of them actually. And the children would be fed at the kitchen table, it was a little look up to one side. And I'm sure there are people in their middle years now who side that the days when much as they used to call her used to dish out every single day one of her famous rice pudding, just the rice milk, a little bit of sugar cooked really slowly in the oven of your wood stove. And their mothers would get desperate when they got home because they could never really reproduce this masterpiece. So that would probably be a great memory for some of the younger members who serve and designing. The stove itself was incredible. I have never cooked on what I do all my grown up years. But it was a wood stove in front of my father's principal chores was everyday chock full with the kindling. Stack the wood box. And really a wood stove is very efficient when you get out of juice will drop good dry wood, you can get it up to 700 degrees in 15 minutes. And the trick is to call it off when you want to do something really slowly like orangs. And the secret of that is to keep a sink strainer in the in the same room put in the last names and TDs and snowflakes to find people's garbage out happen to be fired immediately so I thought it'd be a pretty good spin off. It is incredible to see now this huge professional guest sitting in the same quarter. The kitchen live on Saltspring was very much similar in those days. For one thing, the population of the artist was well under 1000. As of course in a number of organizations, clubs and associations were there some that were very, very much smaller my father walked to the Chamber of Commerce was and I think that probably was the only sort of service that you will remember there may have been service clubs, but he certainly didn't have time. My mother was. So they both are Staller, members of the Anglican Church, but it was my mother's job to engage in that running the Anglican church for years. When she was in her heyday, it was in her time that the World Relief team was started. She and another much older time on on Saltspring Jones Springwood this device the idea of having a tea to raise money for World Relief in the first few years, it was a small enough thing to be done in various private houses, very successful. And each year it got more and more successful to finally have been moved out into the business calls on an island of course, it still does now is not just an academic thing. But an inter church thing. is sponsored by a different denominations each year says it's really really a permanent feature. Raised on the island. The tourist business was obviously much simpler in those days there was the old Asou Vyas is the one that that's burnt down eventually was of course harbor house, which seemed to have been going forever, it was still run by the crafters. And there may have been other smaller places, but I certainly was not aware of after the tourist association was sort of beginning to gather steam. I remember the first time a sort of questionnaire came round about what the accommodation was, what the prices were. This sort of thing and it seems to me that at one time in the early days, my parents were running this resort charging something like $5 a day for three meals, mid mornings, and afternoon tea and lavish food. Well, they never made any money out of the resort. It was a it was a little bit of a story. But they eventually started to sell off huge chunks of land. Because the land went around all the way from well at the canal with the canal alarm to the quarry which is well on his way to Serbia so some big acreage is were chopped off. And so prices which now seem absolutely absurd 20 acre piece with 1000 feet of waterfront color for something like $10,000 changed him some years ago, we're reaching out to other houses. It's a different ballgame. But the the resorts still has the best part as a property 12 acres surrounding the lodge. And there's a wonderful beach which in my father's time also supported in oyster and ISIS. With the their purchase of the resort, they not only acquire these 11 Incredible sheep, but also this oyster license. And so in the winters when business was pretty well nonexistence my parents used to go down in the middle of life because that's where the tides were low. Collect up sacks of buckets of oysters and spend their days in the chilly winters shucking oysters on the beach. They finally got out of that business because the government became very much more picky over the kinds of regulations they had over the country and boisterous a little bit quiet building a proper semantic shed with running water and so on and they would really be doing this for fun. So getting that so they sold a visitor's badge came over to move along to craft. However, very soon For that, there was one incredible year when the tide and the winds and the temperature and the oysters, sex life were all imbalanced. And there was a phenomenon spat, the baby oysters, and their first day just float. And they will float it all over the water and space and so on and bring all the way up all the way to alignment. So the whole coastline was simply covered with oysters. Unfortunately, people are greedy. And it is not possible to protect oyster beds. If you haven't gotten a license. My father sometimes had to go out in the night with a shotgun and warn off boats that were coming in to rub his voice to bed. Well, there's nothing to stop if you have a license. And I believe the islands have been largely cleaned off now. We've never had a wonderful years. Like last year, the disposal of garbage would stand the harem, and environmentalists that methyl mentalists we wouldn't think anything of it from those days where there would be absolutely no no nowadays they call passports obviously went into father's magnificent complex, but the CANS on the box was to be collected in sacks. And we would take one of the thingies and grow out into the bay admittedly a good long way out and dump these bottles from the cows overboard. There must be a remarkable middle somewhere out there in the middle of the day, but nobody thought anything of it. And that's what everybody used to do. Rainbow resort was running in those days. Sure that garbage went out to see the same as, as my parents.

Unknown Speaker 22:12
I mentioned the sheep that came with the resort. And they were always a source of irritation and interested they were always breaking through the fence and everybody would be turned out in the middle of the night to stop eating my mom's flowers or my dad's vegetables. But they did add interest especially towards the end of the summer when sharing time came around and a truck would come down and the sheep would be rounded out and they would meet people have their coats will be sent off I think Winnipeg and would come back as nice wool blankets which finally wound up in short beds. There were also Smoky Mountains, which the children used to adore. And the little Sophie rooster called George who was very attached to my father but attacked everybody else. Plus his two large and beautiful elcome dogs very dignified, well behaved. And in this crackpot little farm and nothing really ever worked the way it was supposed to do is she would try to sleep in the basement. The bathrooms would sleep in the dogs kennel dogs sleep in the house if they if they could possibly get in there. They were it was really a very interesting arrangement, especially just pa wasn't a farmer that he cared about his sheep. And of course there were no fences anywhere and they could and did Wander along the banks practically to pursue this as as sheep lamb very early on in Salzburg, he will sometimes be out who lived here. As my mother said, looking like Jesus for one of the sheep which might have thrown the lamb in a snowbank or something she'd been incredibly stupid anyway. But she would see him coming back with a lamp around his neck. And he also always went off with a bottle of brandy, which he said was two for five we use another belt and he probably even does after dragging these the sheep back through the through the snowbanks. One year there was an old girl that had triplets lout and it was too much water and she died and mother cried and dead. Raised these lamps in the kitchen. Something I could never understand the the lamps of course began to grow up and the person used to eat lamps in the kitchen when you're trying to do the cooking. Anyway, a fearful time arrived to male lamps as an example. Butcher all these three words perfectly came. And there was one little ewe lamb mother told me about this one How could you do it they were just cracking down, picked up the two males mounds and left a little you for future reading purposes. And she burst into tears when the lamb ran up the drive following brothers cry pit. As I was saying those were simpler days, people came to Salt Spring on specific specifically to acklins to be in a peaceful country seem to enjoy the really superb swimming occasionally that there was an efficient I always used to think mostly for eating because they regularly still might have a spoon every day that they were there. And I think what the conversation on the good feeling of the resort had I may say that my father was known to stop people at the gate if they were just coming down on spec to see if they could get a room and interview them and I think they were the right kinds of people for the resort. You can tell them. No way. So everybody they had to stay but it was really ingenious. There's still lots of people around this. Remember Aqua Smith? We have action? Yes, I should say a word about Salt Spring. There are various areas of the island with Salt Springs. Specifically on the Fernwood side, but on the resort property is one that was well known to the Indian with, which also explains why there is a myth, Nam at the spin of the mouth of the cows. The Indians used to come over in the spring have a huge gorge of claps down at the spit. And they knew where the soles spring was. It's just about Baker road. And they would go out there and dose themselves with the water from the spring and have a great purge. When father found spring, it's just a tiny little trickle. It comes out of the rocks all the way around. He took a sample and had it tested. And it turns out that it is pure Epsom salts quite unlike any of the others on the island. So that is one of the Salt Springs Saltspring he built a little sort of log cabin over this and just a tiny little mini cabin. Yes sometimes you still wonder after their taste the the water that came out from it certainly was mild enough to the Epsom salt so it was not really a very popular drinking. You