Oak Bay’s Lucy Gething penned her memoir

Oak Bay’s Lucy Gething penned her memoir

Oak Bay author reflects on a life well-lived

Canada 150 feature follows the travels of Oak Bay's Lucy Gething

Jennifer Blyth

Oak Bay News

Lucy Gething took a long and winding road to her current home in Oak Bay, but along the way, she learned how to live.

Her journey began back at her childhood home in Switzerland where she was keen to escape a rigid home life where opportunities were few.

“I am over 80 now and looking back at my lifetime adventures, which I thought were nothing out of the ordinary, I finally realize that yes, thanks to my motto of ‘Why not?’ my life was a bit out of the ordinary,” reads Gething’s opening paragraph.

Why not, indeed.

Gething’s motto took her far beyond the standard route of a single female immigrant of the post-war era.

Sparked by her brother, who yearned to be a farmer in a country where farmland was hard to come by, the two joined forces and made their way to eastern Canada in 1947 by way of a troop ship. After landing in Halifax, they made their way to a Grand Valley mink farm, through connections from their father’s fur store.

“The people were fantastic,” says Gething, who recalls teaching herself to drive tractor on the farm. “This is what I liked about Canada. They gave you a chance to do things … things I’d never have done (back home).”

While her brother decided what his future would look like, Gething yearned to see more of her newly adopted country.

A connection on an Alberta ranch drew her west where she worked and rode horses for six months. Another friend in Vancouver piqued her interest for the West Coast and she hopped another train, with a fortuitous stop in Banff, where the mountains reminded her of home.

The local community of ex-pat Swiss guides was having a party and there she would meet her future husband, Tony, recently landed in Canada from England, and making his way with a friend, an Alberta rancher, to hunt in the Rockies.

Invited along, again Gething said, ‘Why not?”

“I was a bit gutsy, I guess,” she reflects with a laugh.

She and T were later married in Banff and when her brother got his own dairy farm, they joined him in Ontario for 17 years.

Two children came along, and after many harsh Ontario winters, the two decided to head west once again, this time to Vancouver Island “because it’s warm there. We didn’t know where we were going,” she says.

Landing in Sooke, “it was nice, a little village.”

Finally near the ocean, they built a boat and sailed around local waters, sightseeing and fishing, and even circumnavigating Vancouver Island.

Tony was a builder and Lucy and her daughter would run Breakers Café in Jordan River for a time – another unexpected adventure – before Tony’s health concerns drew them into town, and to Oak Bay where they could be closer to the hospital.

Today, favourite local destinations include the beach and Cattle Point. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now,” Gething says.

“I went through all those things and I don’t regret anything. I learned to live.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

Penny Hart is calling on the community to help find her son Sean Hart who was last seen on Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Search spreads for Saanich man missing from mental health facility for nearly a month

Family hopeful as possible sightings reported across Island and in Vancouver

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health issues apology over racist practices in health care system

Report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read