The Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of the Village of Ladner, in Delta, BC. In the early 1900's, protective dykes had been built along the Fraser River to protect Ladner's thriving farming and fishing-based community from the Fraser River and the tidal waters of the Strait of Georgia. Nearby river islands, though, were only partially dyked or left to flood each year naturally, and were often sites of fishing camps which supplied the numerous local salmon canneries.
The northwest part of Westham Island consisted of such undyked islands when George C. Reifel bought his property in 1927. Natural river channels such as Ewen, Robertson and Fuller Sloughs dissected the property and retain their names still within the Sanctuary waterways. Although all equipment and building materials needed to be barged in, by 1929, Mr. Reifel had created a large recreational family retreat in this idyllic location. Dykes and causeways were constructed to create waterfowl habitats and road access connecting his land ("Reifel Island") to the rest of Westham Island. Although the family ran successful real estate and brewery businesses, Reifel Farm, as it became known, was also very successful, and during WW2 was responsible for over one-third of the sugar beet seed production of Canada.
Please don't hesitate to send us your suggestions!
Submit your suggestion