Sharron Ho photo Jim Arden and his wife Elsie

Sharron Ho photo Jim Arden and his wife Elsie

Former president remembers the way it was

Jim Arden was the president of the Sooke Community Association

Former Sooke resident, Jim Arden, 93, was the recipient of a miniature carved chair at the Sooke Community Hall’s 75th anniversary celebration on April 28.

Arden, who was president of the Sooke Community Association in 1949, fittingly won one of two chairs made during the carving demonstration.

His long-standing history with Sooke stretches back to his childhood, where he lived and played at the lighthouse at Sheringham Point.

His father, Eustace Arden, opened the first store in Sooke in 1909, and worked as the lighthouse’s watchman.

During the early years, the lighthouse’s access road did not extend all the way to the main highway. Arden humorously remembers the days when his father would make the arduous commute to Victoria in the 1900s.

Arden said his father would run and walk a mile and a half to get to the family’s vehicle, which he would then drive into town to catch a horse stage into Victoria for work.

Then during the night, Arden’s father would return on the same route through the “wild” to perform his watchman duties.

The family extended the access road in 1927, after the government refused to develop a connector.

Due to a lack of heavy duty machinery, the Ardens employed the alternative — ingenuity.

The main hindrance to the project were large boulders that riddled the path to the main highway.

In response, the boulders were set on fire, doused with water andhammered into oblivion.

In the 1950s, Arden and his wife Elsie moved to Port Alberni to start a logging company, where they currently reside.

Despite spending the second portion of his life in the lower-central Island city, Arden said there’s no place like Sooke.

“It’s a great place, no place like it that I know of.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

A new round of COVID-19 exposures has been reported at Dunsmuir Middle School, with potential exposure dates on April 7 to 15. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
New COVID-19 exposures reported at Colwood middle school

People may bave been exposed on April 7 to 15

It’s time to upgrade Metchosin’s connectivity, some residents are saying. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Petition signals desire for Metchosin cellphone coverage

It’s crazy for a Victoria suburb to be a dead-cell zone, petition writer said

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read