The British Ensign Hotel is built by Edward Cutler from whip-sawn lumber and hand cut nails.Serving as a hotel for sportsmen, The British Ensign quickly becomes a regular stopping point forstagecoaches travelling to Sooke, as well as “a quiet retreat for those unmarried, who require a littleprivacy.”
During these early times, the building saw a wide array of functions: it served as atemporary school, performed church services, and even received the scar of a bullet hole after a disputewith rail workers that had been working on the Canadian National Railway. Eventually this popular landmark becomes known as the 17 Mile House Pub, as it is located 17 miles from Victoria City Hall.
Owned and operated by Mrs. Mary Jackson, the 17 Mile House Pub housed the area’s only telephone. Mrs. Jackson obtained a beer licence, drawing thirsty patrons long distances. Brawls were known to break out from time to time, sometimes with guns blazing.
1940 to 1970
Mrs. Edith Wilson or “Ma” Wilson operates the 17 Mile House Pub. She ruled the Pub with an iron hand, closing the business over supper hour and refusing to serve more than two beers to family men. She kept a loaded shotgun under her bed “just in case!” Colourful Dutch tile floor is made and installed by Robert Marsh, a Victoria craftsman who did the tilework in the Christchurch Cathedral, and the local parliament buildings and legislative museum.
“Ma” Wilson passes away, leaving the 17 Mile House Pub to her grandson Chuck. He operates the Pub for several years before passing it onto his brother and his wife, Bill & Noni Wilson.
Patrons can enjoy a quiet game of chess and a Traditional Irish Coffee by the wood-burning fire, play a round of pool, or simply sit back and watch the game with a perfectly poured pint of Guinness.