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

Just Posted

Trauma sufferers support group takes shape on West Shore

Aaron’s Society open to more peer support groups with certified trauma practitioners

Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

West Shore RCMP cite 14 percent increase in calls concerning mental health in 2019

Tenants above Wellburns uncertain after ‘nightmare’ sewage flood ousts them indefinitely

Tenants evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Imagination and Christmas spirit combine at Sooke Festival of Trees

Sooke’s festival part of a larger fund raising effort for Children’s Hospital

Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

High traffic along a corridor needs to be considered, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition says

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Camosun for annual checkup

The RBCM, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations teamed up to care for the car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

EMCS hosts winter concert

Concert Band will share its festival pieces

11 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Most Read