Settler Occupation & Historical Farming
Cowichan people have lived at Ye'yumnuts for thousands of years. The story of the site since Euro-Canadian settlement is much shorter. For a detailed account of this history, see the Timeline section of the website. The land around Ye'yumnuts was occupied by settlers in 1876. It was bought by the Kingston family in 1877 to use as a farm, which it remained until 1971 when it was sold to Timbercrest Estates who began development. Charlie Kingston owned and worked the land until 1971. In an interview in November 2017, he describes his family's arrival:
"Remember, there’s no roads on Vancouver Island, so he [William Kingston] went on and he canoed. Somewhere north of Somenos Lake he put his canoe in. And he came down, and he came around this curve and there’s this beautiful land that reminded him of Ireland, and he wanted it. And then, he came—he whistled—he couldn’t get any connection here—they said it wasn’t for sale and everything. He went down to Victoria, and it was for sale, and then he came back."
Charlie's forebears knew that the presence of Cowichan people remained on the landscape. While it remained a working farm, Charlie's father emphasized to him that the area near Ye'yumnuts should remain separate:
"They were wondering if there were any crosses or anything, and I said no. Just a heap there, that’s all…I wasn’t supposed to even know about that, actually, but that was just for protection, I figured afterwards…father knew where it was. He said just keep the fences where they are and you’ll be alright. But he wouldn’t mention it either."
Artifacts and other traces of the legacy of the Kingston Farm can still be found around Ye'yumnuts. Some of these are displayed below:
The Timbercrest Estates development now surrounds Ye'yumnuts, and many community members use the area and the nearby Garry Oak Protected Area for walking dogs, accessing Somenos Creek, and watching wildlife.