The Roe Farmhouse

The house was built by Robert and Margaret Roe in 1908 as a typical farm house of that era.  The house was constructed from a "kit" with the lumber largely pre-cut to the amount and dimensions required.  All components above the foundation were delivered by barge to Roesland and the house was completed in five days!

The invoice from the Chemainus Lumber Company shows that the delivered cost of the material was $589.62.  The original layout on the first floor consisted of an entrance hall, a parlour, kitchen and pantry and three bedrooms.  The second storey was a large loft with limited headroom.

Later, c1935, all interior walls were removed to create a large open space to serve as a community hall for the entertainment of the guests of the resort.  Still later, c1975, the open space was divided to create a workshop and additional storage space.

When Parks Canada acquired Roesland, the original homestead had sadly deteriorated and was close to collapse as many of the foundation posts had rotted away. Parks Canada offered the use of the building to the Pender Island Museum Society with a long term lease at negligible cost if the Society would restore the building to a condition suitable for public access as a museum. The Society would also assume full responsibility for all maintenance and annual operating expenses and would receive no financial assistance from Parks Canada. The Society accepted the offer and began a two year restoration process that included replacing the posts with a proper perimeter foundation and the reconstruction of the missing front porch and portico. The Museum was officially opened in July 2005.


Roesland began as a pioneer farm, literally carved out of an old growth forest whose dense foliage overhung the beaches.  As there was no market for timber, the land was cleared for farming by burning the standing trees until they fell and then continuing the burn of the trunks and stumps where they lay.  By this means some 30 arces were cleared for cultivation.

In 1912, a cottage on the property was casually rented and its popularity for further rentals indicated the potential for more vacation cabins.  By 1917, Roesland began advertising itself as a "Farm-Resort".  Guests, more often than not, willingly participated in the chores of the farm from the milking to the haying.  Accommodation in these early days was spartan by any standards with guests providing their own bedding, china, cutlery and kitchen utensils.

The Roes

Robert and Margaret Roe emigrated from Scotland and settled in Victoria c1896.  A few years later they moved to Pender and purchased land from Washington Grimmer on the Port Washington Road.  In 1906 they purchased over one section (650 acres) of virgin land on the south side of Otter Bay and began the arduous task of developing a simple farm which they named Roesland.

Gradually their son "Bert" and his wife Irene took over the operation of the farm and the developing resort.  In 1971, the property was sold to David and Florence Davidson.  David had been a regular guest at Roesland for more than 40 years and he and Florence continued the warm, hospitable and family nature of the resort until it closed in 1991.