SOOKE HISTORY: A home on wheels for the Cains

Bill and Ken Cains once operated a garage in Sooke

This wooden structure parked on a truck was destined for the Cains property. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

In historical mention, we generally think of the Cains brothers, Bill and Ken, as garage operators on Sooke Road next to Charters Road.

This photo is a different view of the family’s early life in Sooke; the wooden structure perched on their truck (is it a Model T Ford?) in the mid-1920s, right across the road from the garage, looks like it was parked in front of Bill’s house.

Bill and Ken Cains were sons of Richard (Poppa) Cains, a Newfoundlander who had come to the west coast as a sealer in 1890, later going into boat building.

Richard married Margaret, a daughter of William Bell and Louise Charters, and the parcel of land holding their garage and their side-by-side homes had come to them through the Charters family.

When I was growing up, walking to Sooke Superior School from Saseenos, I recall Poppa Cains in his 90s living in a little red-trimmed white cottage just west of the garage. In his active days he had been a boatbuilder, and it was a real treat to be invited to cruise the harbour in one of his vessels.

Bill Cains married Irene Arden of Metchosin, and brother Ken Cains married Jean Purgavie, a Scottish lass.

The mechanically-minded brothers worked in a solid partnership in the service garage, which also pumped gas. Prior to the garage, the brothers had worked for their uncle at Charters Sawmill. Another job was cutting stave bolts for shipping to Sweeney Cooperage in Vancouver.

Bill and Irene’s son Dick Cains became an engineer and it was he who created the development atop Mt. Matheson (think Cains Way, and also Western Slope, which was the name of one of the boats his granddad built to fish black cod off Alaska). Ken and Jean Cains had one son as well, Stan, who became a schoolteacher.

A couple of weeks ago there was a joyous 50th anniversary reunion in town, of Edward Milne Secondary students – (the name of the school in the 1960s) and it was so nice to see a visiting Diane Cains, granddaughter of Bill and Irene, chatting with friends of half a century before.

Crews working today on vehicle repair at WestShack Automotive, the historic garage site, would likely be all agog if they were to view a scene like this across the street today, but no doubt they’d be impressed by the wooden-spoke tires.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Sooke Bluffs staircase closed due to rot

District to consider replacement for ‘high risk’ staircase in fall

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Sooke minor hockey set to get kids on ice by mid-September

President says re-opening dependent on SEAPARC installing ice in time

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read