SOOKE HISTORY: A community hall wedding

Sooke Community Hall the scene of many weddings and showers

This wedding party included three well-known local families: Stolth, Cains, and Pontious. (Sooke Region Museum)

This wedding party included three well-known local families: Stolth, Cains, and Pontious. (Sooke Region Museum)

Back in the days when almost everyone knew each other in Sooke, the Sooke Community Hall was the scene of many weddings and showers.

This wedding photo, taken on Dec. 20, 1944, included three well-known families: Stolth, Cains, and Pontious.

Indeed, the three ladies looked lovely, given that Sooke had no florist at that time, and the world was going through the difficulties of the Second World War, it must have been a challenge to arrange their beautiful bouquets.

Perhaps it would have been the local greenhouses that still stood on the Belvedere Hotel site, run by Welshman Robert Fitton, which supplied the blossoms that winter.

The bride who centred the photo was Mary Stephenson; while there are not many still in Sooke today who would remember her, many folks will have memories of her brother, Bill Stephenson, who became the longest-serving volunteer fireman in Canada, and for whom Sooke’s main firehall is named.

When Mary married Dick Cains, he had recently earned an engineering degree at the University of B.C.

Dick was the son of Bill and Irene Cains and had grown up right alongside his Uncle Ken, his aunt Jean and his cousin, Stanley.

Across the street stood the Cains Garage (now WestShack Auto), where Dick cut his teeth in business and sawmilling.

If you happen to live on Mount Matheson, that’s where Dick Cains created a land development with a beautiful oceanview in later years. Cains Way is named for the family.

Mary had two attendants, Norma Stolth on the left, and Edna Pontious on the right. Norma, who grew up on Sooke River Road, was sister to Smoky and Eleanor Stolth and married forestry worker Bob Lajeunesse. The couple lived mostly in Jordan River, where she became the mother to three sons and two daughters. One of her sons, Dana Lajeunesse, currently holds a seat on Sooke council.

Edna Pontious grew up in the centre of Sooke, at Caldwell Road, where the family had a small farm. Surrounded by seven brothers, who worked at the fishtraps or in logging, Edna, the youngest, was the only Pontious daughter. She married Bill Korpan and lived in Nanaimo, where, in the next generation, it was her son Gary Korpan who became mayor of that town.

I’m afraid I didn’t get to know the fellow, Don Wales, who was the best man to Dick Cains.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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