Vancouver Island, as we know it, is one big island. It takes an average of nine hours to drive it tip to tip, and along the way lies some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
There’s also far more that meets the eye, as each pocket of the Island is jam-packed with colorful history and culture. Whether you’ve a recent transplant to B.C. from another province, or even new to Vancouver Island, an easy guide about this place is integral.
Fortunately, there is. It’s called the Vancouver Island Book of Everything, and in its recently updated second edition, it’s bigger and more detailed than its 2008 version.
And it really does cover everything, from First Nations history, places and people of interest, climate and weather, culture, economy, politics, and demographics, to name a few.
“There are contemporary facts that don’t come up in Google Search, you need to work at it,” said Peter Grant, who wrote and collected much of the data in the book.
Two key chapters are the Essentials chapter, that includes demographic data, socioeconomic data, and the Economy chapter, which provides easy to follow stats directly from B.C. Stats Canada.
Grant also identifies Vancouver Island as a significant food centre, and “slow” food in particular, referring to the service in the local restaurant trade. In the movement more towards local ingredients in locally grown food, he noted Sooke has become a name of its own.
“In Sooke, you have the mecca, the fountainhead, the ground zero of slow food,” he said, referring to the Sooke Harbour House that laid down the foundation for the idea of locally grown food.
“You get your food locally, you make sure it’s organic, you make sure it’s sustainable if you’re serving seafood, such as locally caught by hook rather than net,” Grant said.
In the Essentials chapter, Grant’s research revealed the Island has varied socioeconomic indicators, such as economic hardship, crime rate, health problems, educational concerns, children at risk, youth at risk. Stats are published by B.C. Stats by local health areas, 77 in B.C.
A low socioeconomic indicator indicates a relatively healthy community. A high socioeconomic indicator indicates a community with more social and economic problems.
In retrospect, Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, Langford area ranks 11th out of 77, so “doing pretty good” in that field, noted Grant.
History of the Sooke area is embedded throughout the book as well, going back to the area’s early logging and fishing days, as well as its origins and the evolving community diversity.
There are also lists of music, food and drink festivals that reflecting the microclimate, with events such as Seedy Saturday and the Sooke Fall Fair.
One thing’s for certain; if you can think of something you’d like to know, the Book of Everything is there to help better understand Vancouver Island and her still-mysterious wonders.