Annie Laurie Wood

A sepia-toned portrait of Annie Laurie Wood in a white ruffled dress with puffed sleeves. Her hair is pulled back, and she is looking towards the camera.
An early portrait of Annie Laurie Wood

Annie Laurie Wood

Homesteader and Ladies Auxiliary Member

1879 – 1957

Annie Laurie Wood, born Annie Laurie Parker in Nova Scotia and known to some islanders as “Granny Wood,” came to Bowen early in her life. She was orphaned when still very young and grew up in Minnesota, but she arrived on the island in the 1890s to find work as a nanny.

She became a live-in helper for the Miller family, after whom Miller’s Landing is named, leaving briefly for the mainland to marry Frederick Billington. The two returned to Miller’s Landing after marriage, trading on Annie’s existing connection to the Millers, but soon moved to Grafton Bay where they constructed a homestead. Annie cared for their three children as they attended the first Bowen Island school. Their remoteness presented unique challenges—she fended off one cougar armed with nothing but a broomstick, and according to legend shot another outright.

The First World War sharply affected the trajectory of Annie’s life: her husband signed on in 1915 and was permanently affected by a gas attack, spending much of the rest of his life at Shaughnessy Veterans’ Hospital. He never returned to Bowen, and the two divorced soon after the war. Annie remarried Peter Wood in 1920, and the two remained at Grafton Bay for the rest of their lives.

Though she would have been almost 60 at the time, Annie was a charter member of the Ladies Auxiliary, which supported Bowen Island’s branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and various charitable causes. Over her 20 years of membership she made herself indispensable. She served three years as the Auxiliary’s president, overseeing fundraising in the midst of the Second World War during her 1941 term.

Annie was a well-known figure on Bowen right up to her death in 1957, but her name lived on long after, thanks to the establishment of the Annie Laurie Wood Memorial Library by the Ladies Auxiliary—the first on Bowen. Though that library was replaced by the current Bowen library, her name is still present: the Annie Laurie Wood Annex remains open to patrons to this day.

Annie Laurie Wood and her husband leaning against a fencepost in a field together. He is wearing a dark shirt, and she is wearing a white shirt and apron, and dark skirt.
Annie Laurie Wood and her husband Peter Wood in a field
An elderly Annie Laurie Wood and Peter Wood sit on chairs on the porch of a house. She is wearing a a white dress, and he is wearing a dark shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He holds a drink in one hand, and possibly a cigarette in the other. The picture is sepia-toned.
Annie Laurie and Peter Wood later in life
A picture of a red wooden building with a red and blue post-office sign. It has a set of stairs on the right side, and is surrounded by trees.
The Annie Laurie Wood Library when the building was in use as a post-office
A black-and-white photo of a wooden building surrounded by trees.
Another angle of the Annie Laurie Wood Library when the building was used as a post office

To read about other extraordinary women from Bowen Island, head back this way.