It was the turn of the 20th century, and as the child of wandering parents, Annie had already lived in California, South Africa and England before fetching up in Vancouver, aged 18. There she met and married Willie Rae-Arthur. Willie was from Glasgow and a remittance man, the charming but notorious son of a wealthy family, paid by them to stay away. He obliged and his wealthy sister Isabella, in Scotland, continued to sign the monthly cheques.
But Willie, already an alcoholic, had recently succumbed to the opium dens of Chinatown in Vancouver. The family valuables were going and unsavoury characters visited the home. Isabella, a staunch Presbyterian, was horrified when she heard. She couldn't, she wouldn't support him any longer.
Annie has to think fast. When she hears of an opportunity to own a large parcel of land with beachfront and a pretty cove on remote Vancouver Island, she is convinced she's found the answer. But Annie needs Isabella's help to start anew.
The family decides that Betsy, the eldest of five at 16, will journey to Scotland to intervene on their behalf. And Betsy, appealing and intelligent, is a good ambassador. She convinces her aunt, who is charmed by this colonial child. She pledges to continue her support of the family.
Everybody sees that remote Refuge Cove may be the last chance to save the Rae-Arthur brood.
Inspired by a true story. In development as a series for television.
Annie's World, A Sketch by Bruce Alcock
Developed with assistance from Canada Media Fund and the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation