A familiar face around the Peninsula has unexpectedly passed away.
Mike Fleming, co-owner of the Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm, suffered a heart attack while harvesting trees in the Kootenay Region on Oct. 27, just five days shy of his 66th birthday.
The longtime farmer who grew up on 10 acres near Elk Lake and attended Claremont Secondary School had a passion for growing the “best Christmas trees in Western Canada,” according to his family.
With his sister Joan Fleming, he’s owned and operated the tree farm since 1981, which over the years expanded with two locations in Saanichton and Brentwood Bay.
Bill Erving called Fleming’s passing “such sad news,” saying: “We bought our first Christmas tree from him when we moved to Saanich from Newfoundland. I always enjoyed sitting with you both during the auction at the Saanich fair.”
“This is so so sad!” wrote Craig Thornber. “Mike was a true character of Cordova Bay, Royal Oak and Claremont. Buying Christmas trees just won’t be the same. RIP Mike.”
Karie Legg wrote: “Mike was always so wonderful to me. He would always have a 14 foot special tree just what I liked for many, many years. Thank you Mike for helping make many wonderful memories for our family.”
A celebration of life is planned for Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Saanich Fairgrounds’ main hall (1528 Stelly’s Cross Rd.).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support youth in agriculture at the South Malahat 4H District Council c/o Doug Kong, 1433 Courtland Ave., Victoria, B.C. V9E 2C5.