Sooke as seen from Woodward Point in East Sooke.

Aerial View- Woodward Point to Sooke

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

We’re looking for help with this photo, so we do hope to hear back from readers. Some weeks ago we published a colour image of downtown Sooke suggesting the date as 1957. Since then, a Victoria reader, Darryl Sheilds, contacted us and identified for us that it was actually 1958, as determined by the fishtraps pilings.

With the photo we are showing this week, we believe the scene is much earlier, perhaps mid 1920s? Taken from East Sooke, it shows Woodward Point, with the camera moving west towards west Sooke. The aircraft appears to be heading directly towards the fishtraps wharf operation at the foot of Maple Avenue.  In the open field above the fish camp in the photo, you can see Burnside House (white). At that time it was no longer owned by the Muirs, and had begun a succession of different owners/tenants.

On either side of the wharf, fishtraps pilings are anchored in storage along the waterfront and at far right you can just make out the wharf built at the foot of Murray Road by J H Todd & Sons when they initiated the fishtraps operations in 1904. We believe we can see the Anglican Church close by as well.

At left, the open waterfront of Sooke Bay leads right into Woodside Farm. The roadway running at right of the open Woodside farmland was called at the time, Sooke Way, but is the same route as the current highway, West Coast Road.  During the 1920s and 30s Woodside was owned and farmed by the Arnold Glinz family.  Further along the coast you can see the Sheringham Lighthouse, installed in 1912.

Within the harbour, almost in a line directly down from the lighthouse, pilings appear in the water. These were likely driven by CPS, who once logged and hauled from the Tugwell Road area. Pat Forrest, who was a youngster in the 1930s, says the partly submerged boat lying near the wharf is the Diana, an old whaler that was later blown up as a navigational hazard.

If you look along the road heading west from Maple Avenue, you can just see clusters of buildings and tents of the Standfast Bible Student colony that settled at the corner of Whiffin Spit Road in 1923.

In the water off Eliza Point you can see a partially submerged vessel; Pat Forrest also remembers playing on this wreck. East Sooke readers may be surprised to see all the well-cultivated farmland that existed then, when you consider how many dwellings stand on this waterfront scene today.

We hope someone can tell us what was the reason for the four poles standing in a line in downtown Sooke? just west of what must be the intersection of Murray, Otter Point and Sooke Roads.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum