Cougar Annie's Garden

Cougar Annie's Garden: History

In June 1915, Ada Anne and William Rae-Arthur and their three children moved to Boat Basin. They eventually cleared five acres of rainforest and were deeded 117 acres under the Homesteading Act of BC. Ada hoodwinked Royal Mail Canada into establishing the Boat Basin Post Office and created a mail-order nursery garden business to support it For other income, Ada trapped fur-bearing animals and lured and shot over 5O cougars for the bounty payments. Ada Annie bore eight more children at Boat Basin and outlived four husbands.

Ada departed her beloved garden for the final time in 1983. Ada passed away two years later, days short of her 97th birthday.

After most of Ada's children moved away the garden slowly reverted back to rainforest. Against all odds, the garden has been restored, a process of over thirty years' hard work. In 1998, Boat Basin Foundation was established as a registered charitable organization to own and maintain the property and garden and to encourage appreciation and education in temperate rainforest ecology.

The survival and continuity of Cougar Annie's Garden makes it an important heritage site. No other pioneer homestead of this scope exists on the West Coast.

Cougar Annie's Garden Map

Cougar Annie Centennial Knife

Cougar Annie Knife

Seth Cosmo Burton, Salt Spring Island knifemaker, founder of Cosmos Design, and frequent visitor to Boat Basin, created the Cougar Annie Centennial knife in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the garden. A generous portion of sale proceeds from this limited edition is donated to Boat Basin Foundation.

The knife design is based upon the Scandinavian bush craft knife used over the past three decades during restoration of Cougar Annie's Garden.

Please visit for a description of the knife-making process and for more details of the Cougar Annie Centennial Knife.