Deslandes Heal Holdings Is a Canadian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The company wholly owns Classic Claims Service, LLC., Forest Flower Design, Ltd., and BCFlagging.com. The group also holds investments in commercial real estate and land across Canada and the United States. Deslandes Heal Holdings traces its roots to John Heal & Family, who owned multiple Land Lots in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the early 1800’s. In 1860 Fred and Charlie Heal bought land sections 126, 82 and 83 from the Hudson's Bay Company. The land was farmed and leased including portions developed in 1915 which became Heal’s Rifle Range. The range opened in 1916 and has remained an active military range throughout the years. Additional land owned by the Heal family was sold to the city of Saanich and developed into what is now the Commonwealth Pool and surrounding commercial development in the Royal Oak area on Vancouver Island.
Heal’s Rifle Range was once a seasonal lake and marsh. Local First Nations knew this beautiful valley as a good place to find tule reeds for woven mats and capes.
In 1860 Fred and Charlie Heal, sons of John Heal, bought portions of this valley, later known as Sections 126, 82 and 83, from the Hudson’s Bay Company. They both farmed and leased the land. The Sisters of St. Ann later bought some of the Heal property and grew vegetables there for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
In 1915 a proposal suggested that the land be developed as a military range for the army, partly as a solution to serious unemployment in the region. The region’s mayors and reeves wrote to their Member of Parliament with urgent requests to create jobs for locals. The range began operation in 1916.
The reality of war was always present at Heal’s: many soldiers trained in weaponry there, and far too many did not return. On Sept 10, 1915, the Daily Colonist noted that “Mr. Samuel Cameron, foreman of Heal’s Range, has received a “Missing in Action” report for his son Kenneth, member of 50th Gordon Highlanders, 16th Division, 1st Contingent”.
Heal’s Range has remained an active military range throughout the years:
Saanich Archives files:
Deslandes Heal Holdings, Inc.
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