History to be found in Central Saanich cemetery

Cemetery tour at Shady Creek United Church this weekend.

Member of Shady Creek United Church

Karen Hoshal walked around to the back of Shady Creek United Church. It’s there that the church’s cemetery is located, a place rich with history.

Hoshal is a member of the congregation and is also a descendant of the Alexander family, who are buried in the cemetery. She pointed out her great grandparents and two of their sons and one of their grandchildren, along with Hoshal’s father.

Charles and Nancy Alexander arrived on the Island in 1858 from the United States and proceeded to build the first Shady Creek church, which burned down. They decided to build a second one in 1895, and it still stands today.

“It still has Sunday services every Sunday at 10:15 a.m,” said Hoshal.

Among the first black pioneers in the area, the Spotts family — also buried in the historic cemetery — arrived at the same time as the Alexanders and farmed in Central Saanich.

“A lot of them must have come from other places as well but they lived here most of their lives,” she said.

“They raised their families here and they’re buried here,” she said.

Hoshal, during the tour this Saturday, will tell a story about the church and will then take people outside to do a cemetery tour of around 12 to 14 graves. Each are significant to the history of the church and the community, as many are pioneer families, like her own family.

Following the tour, guests are welcome to enjoy some tea in the church hall.

The tour is by donation and begins at 2 p.m. on Aug. 20.