We made a quick stop at the General Store on Providence Farm in Duncan while on our tour of the Cowichan Valley.
Its history dates back to 1864 when the Sisters of St Ann purchased 400 acres of land on the promise that they would occupy and build upon it. It has gone through several stages of being a boarding school, an orphanage, and a school for boys. In the 1950s it was expanded and Providence House was a school for boys and girls until 1964. In 1979 they founded the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association, a non-profit society.
The Providence Farm is now a therapeutic community that hosts activities, programs, even weddings and annual events such as a Christmas craft fair and plant sales, along with blues and folk music festivals. It provides services and resources to those with disabilities through horticultural therapy and their vocational training programs. The guiding principle for Providence Farm is, “that caring for the land together is by nature healing and therapeutic.”
The greenhouse and farm store provide training for individuals, while there are workshops that teach furniture making, timber frame making, welding, work with animals, and much more. They also provide allotment gardens for those who wish to purchase and maintain a garden within the community.
Providence Farm will also be the home of this year’s Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island. It’s a gourmet outdoor experience with professional chefs, local ingredients, and a mix of Farm Folk/City Folk. Online tickets are already sold out so you’ll have to pick them up in person before the event on September 20th.
The land is beautiful and the gardens are full of colour and fragrant scents (the perfect spot for a photowalk at the very least). Unfortunately we only had a few minutes to look around but Providence Farm is certainly a stop of interest when you’re in the Cowichan Valley.
I recently toured the South East portion of Vancouver Island with Tourism BC. You can read all of my posts from the trip under the tag: ‘Cowichan‘.