Miss P’s Vision

Foundations of the 12 foot diameter WWII radio defense tower

When Evelyn Packham,  a well-traveled WWII era Registered Nurse working at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, made a decision to retire, it was not with the intent to rest.  In 1952, she invested in a long stretch of clear cut coastal land and rocky beach on the remote West Coast Road, about 40 miles west of Victoria on Vancouver Island.  There she set up housekeeping with a couple dozen Burmese cats in an abandoned 12 foot diameter radio defense tower that stood near the rocky point of “Point No Point.”   It must have been a lonely life, as lonely as you can be in such a small space with that many cats.   The winter storms can be blustering and brutal, and the summer sunsets bright orange, painting a brilliant pathway on the waters of Juan de Fuca straight to her small spiral staircase leading to her compact living quarters.

photo by Nate Gibson

“Miss P” was apparently not one to dwell on loneliness.  As a gourmand with expertise from her many travels, she set to work having a tea house built inland on her property next to the coastal highway, perched high above the beach with expansive views to the south and west, so she could start cooking lunches and fixing afternoon teas for travelers spending a day or two visiting secluded beaches of the west coast of Vancouver Island.    There they could sit with binoculars in a sunroom with more windows than solid wall, gazing out at the passing orcas and gray whales as they swam by the Point.

She soon had a dedicated following of visitors and began building cabins for people to be able to stay at the Point, wander meandering pathways through the regrowth forest, and spend time on the beaches of the point.  She moved to a cabin herself, and the observation tower was pulled down, leaving only the octagonal foundation to remain covered with weeds.

We met Miss P in 1981 when we stayed at Point No Point for our honeymoon.  She was as formidable as the stories about her predicted, but determined that every visitor receive her personal greeting.   She sold Point No Point to a couple who lived near by who had worked for her over the years, and she remained in her cabin until her death in 1988.  Her ashes were spread out on the rocks of her beloved Point that she preserved with such determination and dedication.

Miss P's cabin
Miss P's cabin

Now when we go to Point No Point with our family, we ask to stay in Miss P’s cabin.  Even though it has been remodeled since her death, I can imagine her presence around each corner and out on the deck.    The bird song of the thrush and the call of the ravens have not changed from the day sixty years ago she arrived at the Point, and the waves crashing against the rocks of the beach are just as steady and unrelenting in their eternal rhythm.

The footbridge to the Point

Miss P bought a place that generations will continue to appreciate and enjoy, thanks to her foresight into the future from a little 12 foot diameter observation tower that had been built for defense purposes so many years ago.

Bless that vision.

Miss P's plaque on the Point far out on the rocks

Enjoy the Point No Point website at www.pointnopointresort.com

One thought on “Miss P’s Vision

  1. Just one small comment … Miss P was much more than your average “WWII era Registered Nurse” … she finished the war and retired from the Army as a Colonel. She was the head of the Nursing branch of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. I’m not sure if there would have been another woman to attain that rank during WW 2. My late Aunt Gladys, who was with my Mum, also an WW2 Nursing Sister, sent me the obituary page from the Victoria Times-Colonist after Miss P’s death.

    I am living in Ontario now, but often think of the times when I lived in Esquimalt and spent many pleasant weekend afternoons at Point-No-Point, enjoying tea and tramping through the property.

    Like

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