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Elphinstone Chronicles: The winding story of the Pratt Road hedge maze

And a fond farewell to its founders, Bill and Liz Hook

The hedge maze on Pratt started as a misunderstanding. Some 20 years ago, a tree planter offered Bill Hook a few boxes of tiny trees leftover from a season up north which were destined to be dumped. “Sure,” said Bill, unaware that each of five boxes he’d receive would contain some 600 plants each. 

Bill and Liz Hook moved to Area E in 1979, and loved the property so much they never shuffled around. The land they purchased was the old Peterson homestead, built in 1923 by Emil Peterson and subsequently where Les Peterson, who wrote many of the Sunshine Coast history books, was raised. In a happy-sad twist of events, the Hooks have sold the property and will move to Vancouver Island to be close to family and their youngest grandson. “We’ve been very happy, and very lucky to have great neighbours and Mount Elphinstone as our backyard,” says Bill.  

When Bill received the surprising amount of trees, he firstly started planting them around the property but quickly realized there were far too many for willy-nilly placement. His thoughts wandered to creating a hedge labyrinth. In 2006, he asked a strapping young man by the name of Kris Hepburn to clear the alders in the front part of the property and planted a large square outline to see what it would look like. Then he let it sit while he contemplated designs.  

Nothing seemed to work, as he had particular requirements for the maze of his dreams. He spent time playing around with his own designs, as well as studying books. One day, he stumbled across a tiny picture of an old hedge maze in Ireland. “It was exactly what I wanted,” said Bill, and he took it to be blown up into a large design to do measurements. Incredibly, it was an exact fit for the outline he had already planted. And the rest, as they say, took time. 

Bill and Liz are delighted that the new family who bought the place will keep the maze open and maintained. School children come every year to visit, and the locals love it. Bill spoke of the natural ease of parents being able to bring their kids to the maze and relax while the children run around getting lost inside without having to ask their folks for money, or screen time.  

When I asked if the community generally behaves themselves, the Hooks say people generally respect the privilege of having a hedge maze here in Area E. Bill often tells people “Hey, it’s your maze,” meaning everyone helps to keep it clean and cared for. 

The only thing the Hooks will not miss about the Coast is the water restrictions. They wish well for all the good friends they’ve made over the years and will truly be missed here in Elphinstone, as they leave big gumboots to fill when they leave the community.  

I would love to hear feedback, take suggestions on topics in our neighbourhood, and hear from all 3,883 residents of Elphinstone. Email me at