For the past 38 years, Saanichton farmer Mike Fleming has donated the Christmas tree to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
At the end of October Mr. Fleming died suddenly of a heart attack while harvesting Christmas trees in the Kootenays.
I had the honour of remembering Mike Fleming on behalf of the whole house.
Today I stand in this House and pay our collective respects to a constituent of Saanich North and the Islands and a friend of this Legislative Assembly. For the past 48 years, the Christmas tree that has lit the main rotunda of this House has been donated by Mike Fleming. On October 27, Mike passed away suddenly of a heart attack while harvesting Christmas trees in the Kootenays.
Mike grew up on the Saanich Peninsula on a ten-acre farm near Elk Lake. He’s a graduate of Claremont Secondary School. He worked for more than two decades in Haida Gwaii as a log-scaler. In 1968, Mike established Woodstock Evergreens, his first Christmas tree enterprise.
Following his retirement from log-scaling, he partnered with his sister, Joan, and they established the Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm in 1981. You can’t miss their farm on the Saanich Peninsula if you’ve taken a drive down East Saanich Road. Mike and Joan grew more than Christmas trees. You can stop by their roadside stand and purchase fruits, vegetables, flowers and even ostrich eggs.
But Mike’s reputation was built on Christmas trees. He was even the past president of the British Columbia Christmas Tree Council. Mike was a long-standing member of the Saanich Fair and a proud supporter of the local 4-H Club. He had a deep love of animals. The ducks, chickens, pheasants, sheep, pigs, cows and turkeys were all an important part of Mike’s life, but no more than that of his beloved black Lab, Lucy.
I’m honoured to be asked to stand today and recognize and celebrate the life of Mike Fleming on behalf of all of us. He will be missed on the Saanich Peninsula and in this House. When we see the Christmas tree this year, perhaps we’ll take another moment to be thankful for the generosity of people like Mike that make our province an amazing place.
Thank you, Mike Fleming. HÍSW̱ḴE, and may you rest in peace.