W̱SĺḴEM (Tseycum) meaning "land of clay" in SENĆOŦEN is one of the First Nations that constitute the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, who have stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial and to this day.
Geographically, the Sandown site sits between two village sites: the original Tseycum village W̱SE¸IKEM on the east side of the peninsula, and the later village site on the west side, where the Tseycum community lives today. Following colonization and the displacement of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, North Saanich became a centre for agricultural activity, and the land became part of the 500-acre Glamorgan Farm. The original buildings from this historic family farm are still in operation across the road.
Aerial photographs from 1952 show the first signs of work on two racetracks which became the Sandown Racetrack from 1955 - 2005. In 2011, because the operations were no longer economically viable, the owners expressed interest in rezoning land.
In 2014, the District of North Saanich approved the transfer of this Agricultural Land Reserve land to the municipality as part of the priority actions in the District's Agricultural Strategy. After a period of community consultation and input called Vision Sandown (led by the local food organization CRFAIR), land title was transferred in November 2017. There was strong community sentiment for Sandown to serve as a site for local food production, teaching & learning, supporting emerging farmers, and land and water restoration & stewardship. From this, the vision for Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture (SCRA) emerged.
Given the history of the horse race tracks and roadways, the soil at Sandown remains heavily compacted and degraded. Restoration is a key component of our work towards regenerative agriculture.
Thank you to our key funding partners for your support and leadership, we couldn't do this without you!