North Sooke school students in 1931

Who was at the party in 1931?

The first of a series of articles by Elida Peers on the Sooke Community Association

Twenty-five years ago, in April 1987, Sooke celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Sooke Community Hall. It’s been fun to look at the amateur video we made that year, to see the faces of so many people who had created this community.

The reunion banquet seating 400 had everyone buzzing; so many smiles, so many chances to tell tales. One of the families that stood out was the Lorimer family. The photograph here, of North Sooke School pupils in 1931, shows the five Lorimer siblings. We believe that four of them were in the hall that 1987 night to share in the story telling.

The Lorimer kids grew up in a two-storey house that stood at the eastern corner of Gillespie Road where it meets Sooke Road today. (The building served later as Highway Grocery and burned down in 1982.) While the photo shows the entire school population of grades one to eight at North Sooke School in those days, many of these kids went well beyond.

For the Lorimers, it meant correspondence courses by mail, or bicycling west to attend Sooke Superior School, which went to Grade 11 at that time. Margaret, the only girl with four brothers, is pictured at far right in front of the teacher, Charles Storch. Margaret grew up to marry Wilf Strong, of the Strong farming family on Church Road, and the couple was all smiles at the party.

The tallest student, center rear, was Malcolm Lorimer, who became a mining engineer, working in far-off countries. Left rear was Duncan Lorimer, who became a teacher, finishing his career as principal of Victoria High School. Seated, second from left is Jimmie Lorimer, who became a lawyer and politician, serving as Solicitor General in the government of Premier Dave Barrett in the 1970s.

Last of the five was George Lorimer who stood beside the teacher.  He was the one who was not able to be present at the party. When World War II came and the four brothers served overseas, all returned but George. Along the Galloping Goose Trail in Sooke Basin, his memory is marked by Lorimer Point.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum