Perhaps it was the self-consciousness of being photographed by a Victoria Press photographer that made everyone look so serious as they demonstrated they could get the tune right when a Victoria daily printed a story about the Sooke Community Hall’s social activities in 1968.
Some days they enjoyed lunches, some days they gathered at the piano, some days they played cards, some days they did crafts, but mainly they enjoyed visiting, these senior folk who gathered in the dining room of the hall for nearly half a century.
This photo shows members of OAPO #88 who, according to the news story, got together twice weekly. This group was instrumental in raising funds for the purchase of land on which senior housing could be built. The fruit of their dedication and fundraising can be seen today, as we admire the fine “campus of care” now being provided at the entire Ayre Manor complex through the Sooke Elderly Citizens Housing Society.
It was 1969 when members of the group gathered for the sod turning ceremony when the purchase of the land was finalized. Phyllis Johnson had been the group’s president when it was formed in 1964, and we know that, were she alive today, she would be thrilled at today’s complex assuring a variety of care services.
In this photo in the hall dining room, we see Doc Wilkinson (white shirt and tie) a retired physician living on the Saseenos waterfront, Mrs. Mapes, Mrs. Evie Floyer in the white blouse and Reg Dunster second from right, who lived on the Sooke Harbour waterfront next to Shirley and Tuck Vowles.
In the colourful shirt, arm on the piano, is Sooke’s longtime Santa Claus, who donned the white beard and red Santa garb each year to entertain the kiddies at Sooke Community Hall parties. His name was Zeb Worthington, who lived for many years on land he held along with his son Doug Worthington, on Church Road. This property later became the site of the recently built Jehovahs Witness Kingdom Hall and also of the Church Hill Meadows development.
Sooke Region Museum