A stage once ran from East Sooke to Metchosin to Victoria.

Billy Burnett’s East Sooke stage

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

He was a popular fellow, Billy Burnett, driving the stage between East Sooke, Metchosin and Victoria. Billy was the eldest son of a true pioneer lady – his mother in earlier days had run the first hotel in Sooke, at the foot of Murray Road, built in 1864 because of the Leech River gold rush.

Sheila Anderson, eldest daughter of Alexander Gillespie of Glenairley (and mother of former federal Liberal Cabinet Minister David Anderson) recalled, years ago, “from 1910 to 1929 when I was there … in those days we had Billy Burnett who had a stage coach – he’d take his team and wagon, he and Tom Parker did the shopping for you – they went around to the shops – they bought the things, and the bill was sent later – so you see in some ways, it was easier then.”

After the gold rush days had settled down, Mrs. Burnett left her hotel, hastily built on pilings on the waterfront of Sooke Harbour. Occupants who move into the new co-op housing enterprise currently being built near Horne and Murray Roads will find themselves on a historic location, so near where the gold seekers disembarked and headed up the trail to the gravel flats where the Leech and Sooke Rivers met.

Mrs. Burnett, who had three sons – Billy, George and Dave, married a Mr. Keil who owned the land immediately west of Woodward Point on the East Sooke shore. This became the home base for the stage run to Victoria.  At that time, there was no crossing from East Sooke to Sooke except by water, as Gillespie Road and the connecting bridge had not yet been constructed.

The arrival of the stage, which brought mail, freight and the news, was a valued hallmark of those times, and stage drivers are fondly remembered for their important place in history.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

Saanich resident sends distress signal over cell-phone tower

Wes Solomonson says proposed cell-tower will undermine value of his rural Saanich home

Caring trumps racism for retired Langford fire chief

Support for Haitian orphans continues

Passengers bound for Victoria say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Third Victoria person pricked by needle in past week

Police say this one appears to have been deliberately placed

Sooke swim team competes well at end-of-year meet

The Tyee Aquatic Club finished off 2017 strong, as multiple swimmers beat… Continue reading

Community rallies behind Sooke boy with rare condition

Dozens called on government to cover cost of drug for six-year-old Landen Alexa

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Witnesses sought to reported sexual assault in downtown Victoria

Early morning incident happened near Quadra and View streets

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

Jodi Moskal discovered the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club continues to ban women as members, as it has done since opening in 1909.

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management department sent a mistaken warning

Toronto girl dies after being pinned between vehicles while picked up from school

Police say an SUV with no driver in it rolled forward and pinned the girl against her father’s car

Most Read