Cougar Annie's Garden

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Cougar Annie's Garden

In 1915, Ada Annie Rae-Arthur moved with her husband, Willie Rae-Arthur to Boat Basin, 34 miles north of Tofino, on Vancouver Island's West Coast.

Upon arrival she began to clear a five-acre garden on a tract of pre-empted land in the rainforest. Here she raised her family and gradually established her nursery business. She opened a tiny general store in her house, catering to the sparse population of Hesquiat Harbour, and later a post office.

Cougar Annie's house still remains in her garden, slowly collapsing now, returning to the soil.

Today the garden consists of a five-acre clearing, criss-crossed with over two kilometres of meandering pathways and dotted with outbuildings that once housed goats and chickens. Resurrected from a tangle of salal, Scotch broom, and salmonberry, this garden has endured for one hundred years.

The survival and the continuity of the garden make it an important heritage site. No other pioneer homestead in Clayoquot Sound remains in private hands; no other garden of this scope exists on the West Coast.

Now, the Temperate Rainforest Field Study Centre rests on the ridge overlooking the garden. The Field Study Centre hosts university students learning about the rich natural history of Clayoquot Sound.