100 years and counting

Vi Fraser of Abbotsford marked her 100th birthday on Dec. 9.

Vi Fraser received a visit from Mayor Bruce Banman at her 100th birthday celebration on Dec. 12.

Vi Fraser received a visit from Mayor Bruce Banman at her 100th birthday celebration on Dec. 12.

Vi Fraser of Abbotsford celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 9.

A celebration was held Dec. 12 at Hallmark on the Park, where she resides.

Vi was born in Victoria, B.C. Her father fought in the Boer War and the First World War, returning with shrapnel in his leg and respiratory issues. He took advantage of a soldier settlement program and farmed a 160-acre piece of land on Vancouver Island near Sooke. As a young girl, Vi spent hours wandering the wildlife trails, and swimming and fishing at the beach.

Vi met and married a millworker when she was 17 years old.

“I was far too young, but I was mesmerized, you could say, and I just couldn’t live without him!” she said.

The couple lived in rented rooms in Vancouver during the Depression. Theirs was a difficult pairing, and Vi later felt it necessary to care for her son and daughter on her own.

When the Second World War started, there were plenty of jobs available, and Vi found work at Hudson’s Bay.

“The minute I got a couple of dollars, I went back to England. And then I went to Alaska – oh, the size of it! I went in July, and you couldn’t see anything but mosquitoes, they were so thick, like a cloud!” she recalled.

When Vi was 60, she married a longshoreman, and they shared a happy 25 years together before he died in 1996.

“We got along like a million dollars because we understood one another. Not only that, he took me around. I think I fished in every creek and park in Alberta and B.C. He made a lot of money, and I drove around in a Cadillac. See? There’s life after 50!”

After his death, Vi lived independently in an Abbotsford townhome until, at the age of 99, she moved into Hallmark retirement residence.

She continues to live out her love of exploration. When asked what her dreams are now, her response is instant:  “Writing,” she says. “I want to write my life story!”

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