Hamish Crawford with just some of antique cars he owns. Don Denton photography

Hamish Crawford with just some of antique cars he owns. Don Denton photography

At Home with Hamish Crawford

Creator of bakery, restaurant and winery is also an avid antique car collector

  • Sep. 17, 2018 12:01 p.m.

-Story by Hans Tammemagi

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Hamish Crawford — lean, fit and exuding energy — is waiting at the entrance to the bustling Roost Vineyard Bistro and Farm Bakery. He’s dressed in jeans and working farm clothes, and his face is framed by a white moustache and large sideburns. But what really stands out is an irrepressible smile and a twinkle in his eye. He is clearly a man who enjoys life and, as I am to learn, he’s also a remarkable person.

Early Years

As we start a tour of his 10-acre farm, he explains how in 1965 he emigrated to Canada from Scotland at age 21. He worked for the National Grain Company, first in Winnipeg and then in Calgary.

One year, when he and his family holidayed in Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula, he became smitten by its rural softness, which reminded him of the fishing village in which he’d grown up. In 1989, he purchased — sight unseen from a newspaper ad — a 10-acre farm south of the airport.

With a love and knowledge of farming — he has a diploma in agriculture — Hamish decided to grow wheat, an unusual crop on Vancouver Island. His goal was to start a bakery. The venture proved successful: the wheat grew, a bakery followed and it flourished.

The bakery grew into today’s Roost Vineyard Bistro and Farm Bakery, which is immensely popular, serving a wide variety of fresh-baked goods such as breads, muffins, pies and croissants as well as meals. Hamish believes it’s the only bakery in British Columbia that grows and mills its own wheat.

Cars!

Asked about his hobbies, Hamish says, “Cars! Come, I’ll show you.”

We enter a large, barn-like building and — surprise! — it’s like an automobile museum with 16 shining vintage cars, including a striking black and white 1949 MG touring car with a supercharger, and a 1928 Model A Ford Huckster complete with rumble seat.

“I love mechanics and have been working on cars since I was 12. I always have one on the go,” he says. “It takes me about a year to refurbish a car. At the moment I’m working on a 1926 Austin 7 Chummy.”

We climb to an extended balcony and look down on the rows of gleaming cars. The balcony has a bar bearing several bottles and a sign, “Hamish’s Happy Spot.” Even here, however, Hamish doesn’t rest, for strewn about the floor are parts of an airplane he is assembling to hang from the ceiling above his cars.

Wine and Dungeon

“After visiting California I decided we should grow grapes and make wine,” says Hamish.

He planted two acres of Siegerrebe grapes and now makes white wine, ginger wine and blackberry wine. The winemaker, of course, is Hamish himself.

He leads me into a long, narrow tasting room in the basement of the barn. A full suit of medieval armour stands near the entrance.

“That was a birthday gift after I broke my hip. My friends felt I should be fully immobilized,” jokes Hamish.

He leads me past an elegant table with two candelabras into a dusky back room with foreboding concrete walls.

“This is the dungeon,” he says, pointing to a skeleton and ominous, full-size rack “comfort” chair and iron maiden, which look in perfect working condition.

“I’m still developing the dungeon and tasting room,” he explains.

During a trip to Napa Valley, he visited a winery with an Italian castle where the owner said the dungeon was the most popular part of the property.

Hamish Crawford shows off a lock for his new medieval themed wine tasting room. Don Denton photography

Daughter Sarah

Hamish’s daughter, Sarah Bohl, joins us as we stroll to another building — Hamish’s workshop.

The interior is crammed with two cars partly disassembled, airplane wings and parts, wine containers, tools scattered everywhere and hundreds of jars, bottles and cans.

“This is where Dad spends most of his time,” says Sarah.

When I ask Sarah how it is to work so closely with her father, she gives him a hug and responds. “I love my Dad, he’s my idol. Everybody looks up to him. He’s terrific to work with and he’s very patient.”

She describes how when she was young, living in Calgary, her dad built her a recumbent bike. He also built several other bicycles, so their home became a popular spot for youngsters. Several of the bikes now hang in the rafters.

The three of us walk past a field of grazing sheep to Hamish’s home, an attractive two-storey Early American Farmhouse built in 1990. Sam, a black lab, greets us and accompanies us through the comfortable home, which is full of nautical and antique car memorabilia.

A Rubber-Chicken Cannon?

Back at the Roost, Hamish points to a large, horizontal propane tank with a pipe protruding upward from one end.

“That’s a rubber-chicken cannon I made,” he says. “When school groups come, the kids love it. The chicken flies more than 100 yards.”

Asked about his next project, a twinkle comes into his eye. “A distillery. I think I’ll start a distillery.”

We meet Dallas Bohl, Hamish’s son-in-law.

“Since 2008, Sarah and I have run the bakery and winery business,” says Dallas, “and Hamish supplies the ideas and the energy.”

Hamish counters, “I’m just the hired farmhand.”

Not true. Hamish is one of those gifted people, who not only brims with ideas, but also has the drive and talent to put them into action. And he wears a smile the whole time.

agri-tourismAntiqueAutomobileBakeryCar CollectorDiningHamish CrawfordMedievalrestaurantTasting roomThe Roost Vineyard Bistro and Farm BakeryTourismWinery

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(899 Vanderhoof Air Cadets/Facebook)
Vanderhoof Air Cadets to hold fundraising raffle this summer

Winners will be announced in May this year

Artemis Gold is taking a different approach with the Blackwater Project. The company will be working in three phases. The average gold production at Blackwater will be 248,000 ounces in Phase 1, 420,000 ounces in Phase 2 and 316,000 ounces in Phase 3. (Submitted image)
Artemis Gold provides update on Blackwater Gold Project

Ore grade control drilling, metallurgical test work and more being conducted

NDIT logo.
NDIT grants over $160K to Vanderhoof for street lighting project on Burrard

Total cost of the project is approximately $380,000

Internet speeds in Vanderhoof have been a cause of concern for many local businesses. (File photo)
Lack of good connectivity puts rural communities at a disadvantage: Vanderhoof Mayor

The district is working with RDBN to get better internet facilities to town.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels after found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

This photo of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin and her daughter, Lexi, is part of Townsin’s documentary, RARE HUMANS - Turning Hope into Action, her capstone project for her graduate degree from Royal Roads University. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin)
Vancouver Island mom’s grief fuels documentary of ‘Turning Hope into Action’

Lexi, 6, died in 2019 from Blau Syndrome and is among the children documented

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read