By Brianna Shambrook
The Sooke Region Museum has several artifacts relating to All Sooke Day. Three of these artifacts are paintings depicting logging sports at All Sooke Day, by local artist Linda Anderson (nee Walker).
The first All Sooke Day was on Wednesday, July 25, 1934 at the Sooke River Flats. Before it was called All Sooke Day, it was called The First Annual Celebration of the Progress of Sooke.
The celebratory event was born out of the struggles of the Great Depression and also the 70th anniversary of the discovery of gold in this region. This annual celebration included food, games, contests and logging sports competitions. It was run by the Sooke Community Association for nearly 70 years.
The last All Sooke Day was on July 20, 2002.
Linda Anderson was raised in Sooke and began her art training as a teenager attending Milnes Landing High.
Her first job was painting signs for Sunder Transport located in Victoria. She attended the Victoria Art College and was trained by artist Bill Alexander, who taught her the wet on wet painting method. This artist also trained the beloved Bob Ross, who uses the same technique in his television show called The Joy of Painting.
Anderson has always been eager to share her talent with the Sooke community. She opened the first art gallery in Sooke called the Moureen Gallery, which was located where the Lazy Gecko restaurant is today. She has also painted several murals including some in the Sooke Legion.
Anderson remains an active participant in Sooke’s art scene; her pieces can be seen at galleries, exhibits and cafes around town.
These three All Sooke Day paintings are oil on canvas and were professionally framed (1990.038.001-003). Two of the frames measure 20 inches wide and 24 inches high and one is 24 inches wide and 18 inches high.
These pieces were initially part of a series, called The History of All Sooke Day, that was painted for a B.C. artists show. Anderson donated these three paintings to the museum in 1990, the year she painted them.
One painting depicts Ron Hartill performing the log chop. The second painting shows Norm Goudie doing the chokerman’s race. The third painting shows Susan Hansen and an unidentified man log burling.
For these three paintings, Anderson was inspired by her father who was a high rigger at Elder’s Logging Camp and participated in the All Sooke Day logging competitions. She also volunteered at All Sooke Day as a young adult.
You can refer to the April 6, 2016 Curator’s Corner in the Sooke News Mirror for details on the museum’s All Sooke Day trophy collection.
Brianna Shambrook is the collections and exhibits manager of the Sooke Region Museum.