Canada. Department of Agriculture. Experimental Station (Saanichton, B.C.) : The Experimental Station at Sidney B.C. was established in 1912 under the directorship of J.H. Grisdale, Director of Dominion Experimental Farms. Horticulture quickly became a prominent feature of the Station's work owing to Vancouver Island's mild climate; it notably proved to be an asset for testing fruits, nuts and cereals that could not thrive in more frost-prone areas, for producing vegetable and flower seed, for researching ornamental plants and bulbs, and for maintaining an extensive collection of trees and shrubs, both native and imported. Equipped with its first poultry infrastructure in 1916, the facility also undertook research in many aspects of aviculture, notably garnering attention in 1920 for raising the standard on egg production through its pedigree breeding work and continuing to do so in subsequent years.
Although it was initially known as the Sidney Experimental Station, departmental reporting would alternate between Sidney and Saanichton until 1931 when referring to facility's geographical location.
In 1966, the Experimental Station was made into a Research Station, and a portion of its land and facilities was set aside for the establishment of a Postentry Quarantine Station, the only program of its kind in Canada. Even though the two entities belonged to different branches at Agriculture Canada, the Research Branch and the Food Production and Marketing Branch, this marked the beginning of a long collaborative relationship; the Research Station provided irrigation and plot maintenance to the Quarantine Station, and its scientists routinely contributed research expertise pertaining to the control, identification and elimination of viruses affecting tree fruits, grapes and ornamentals.
Over the following years, Agriculture Canada would alternately refer to this extended facility in its reporting as the Research Station, Saanichton, B.C. (1966-1970), the Research Station, Sidney, B.C. (1971-1978), the Saanichton Research Station, Sidney, B.C. (1979), and finally, the Saanichton Research and Plant Quarantine Station, Sidney, B.C. (1980-1986).
By 1986, the Research and Quarantine station served as the ornamentals and greenhouse vegetable research centre for British Columbia, and maintained its responsibilities running the national postentry quarantine program. Research was conducted in floriculture, greenhouse and field vegetables, nursery plant production, virus eradication, tissue culture, biological control of pests and diseases, and greenhouse technology.
Upon the creation of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 1997, the Station was placed under the Agency's jurisdiction and renamed the Centre for Plant Health. Genetic testing for virus analysis and detection became another focus of research, as did genomics. The construction of a new, state-of-the-art research and innovation facility in Sidney, B.C., was announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food in April 2018.