“One of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in my adult life was to portray ‘Queen Victoria’ on my annual visits to the senior homes in the Valley,” says Doreen Leach with a big smile and lots of enthusiasm. She has been a tenant of Heritage Place for the past two years.
“I had so much fun entertaining hundreds of seniors on Victoria Day every year, along with my friend and, at that time, my ‘Lady-in-waiting’, Victoria Roscoe-Romanus. She was so good and helpful!” Leach said.
“We laughed and made others laugh by reading funny scripts that I used when addressing our ‘Canadian subjects’ as their royal visitor.”
She recalls that the dress she wore on those visits was from one of her plays she performed at the local Capitol Theatre.
“Many years ago I was asked by the theatre staff to be part of the cast by portraying Queen Victoria at a production—and I gladly accepted.”
Leach, who was born and raised in Surrey, England, and moved to Canada after marrying a Canadian soldier after the war, is the mother of four girls (one passed away) and one boy, all but one living in other places in the province.
“My son is one of the managers for the provincial ferry corporation. I am proud of all of them.”
Leach’s love for animals took her to work for the SPCA in Penticton and she became the first female inspector for that organization in the province. She then worked in a pet shelter as well. Once she moved to Port Alberni, she continued her work at the local animal shelter for a while.
“I do love animals and I certainly want to care for them. I have had several dogs in my lifetime,” she says.
A few years ago, she was also a volunteer for Shaw Cable and conducted many interviews with local citizens.
Nowadays, Leach keeps an active life by attending a wide variety of programs that are offered by Heritage Place.
“This is a wonderful place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is in need of living independently but at the same time who enjoys the social aspect of it,” she comments.
“I am 85 years old, I have my own suite with access to my own garden, isn’t it lovely? And, in order to keep fit, I go on daily walks for several blocks, depending, of course, on the weather.”