Edenbank: The History of a Canadian Pioneer Farm


186 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-303-0
DDC 630'9711'37





Reviewed by W.J.C. Cherwinski

W.J.C. Cherwinski is a professor of history and Canadian Studies Program
supervisor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the co-author
of Lectures in Canadian Labour and Working-Class History.


There are too few places like Edenbank, an idyllic farm nestled in the
British Columbia interior near Chilliwack that was first settled by
gold-seeker Allan Wells (and grandfather of the author) in 1867. Since
then it has nurtured generations of his successors, and they in turn
have molded the land, always moved by a instinct to grow and nurture. By
the late 19th-century, Edenbank was well known for the prize cattle
reared there and the reputation continued through most of the 20th
century. More recently, part of the farm was turned into a birder’s
paradise with a wildlife preserve specializing in marsh birds.

The number of photos taken of this farm and its occupants over more
than a century is testament to the love they had for its many charms as
it became the centre of their world. Nevertheless, while the book is an
affectionate tribute to a place, which in many ways resembles that after
which it was named, the world outside still serves as an overlay for the
farm’s history. Two wars, a depression, and several natural disasters
cast their shadows over Edenbank and shaped its development. However,
Edenbank is less a history and more a copiously illustrated tribute to
the people and the animals that exemplified a rural way of life that is
rapidly disappearing, especially near major metropolitan centres like


Wells, Oliver., “Edenbank: The History of a Canadian Pioneer Farm,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 4, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/18090.