SOOKE HISTORY: Christmas party at Gibsons store in 1959

Elida Peers | Contributed

Perhaps Christmas parties were a little more homespun 60 years ago in Sooke, but the spirit of fun was always there.

While half of the celebrants in this photo have died, clearly they were the life of the party back in the day.

It was December 1959, and Bob Gibson, owner of the shopping centre, which he developed from the old Throup store, believed in treating his staff like extended family.

This photo was taken in the grocery department of the store which Bob Gibson and his wife Julia had bought in 1946, coming here from the prairies after Bob’s service in the Second World War.

Standing at left is George Diamond, whose family lived on Goodmere Road, then Bill Greenhough, whose family lived on Eustace. These two fellows were to team up later, with Larry Hunt, and ran the grocery section between 1964 and 1966.

When Bob Gibson sold the business in 1966, Stan and Marion Jones bought the grocery section, making it an independent outlet, which faced onto Otter Point Road.

The young fellow in the checked shirt is Jimmy Gibson, kid brother of Glenda Gibson (who became Mrs. Ray Pimlott) and Esther Gibson (who became Mrs. Dick Herrling) children of Albert Gibson, and unrelated to the store owning family.

On the right, with the husky suspenders, is the entrepreneur Bob Gibson. Bob Gibson was full of ideas, and was the first business to bring Santa Claus to Sooke, where the jolly old fellow charmed many little kiddies who came in to be photographed sitting on his knee.

Perched in front are, left, Yvonne Sullivan (who became Mrs. John Reibin), Roberta Adcock (who became Mrs. Tim Goudie), Lois Haldane, sister of Evan Haldane (who became Mrs. Bob Timms). Last, is Muriel Hesp, sister of Marion (who became Mrs. Stan Jones), and of Dorene (who became Mrs. Len Jones).

It was a time in the community when everyone knew everyone else, and grocery shoppers always had time to chat and visit with the girls at the till.

When Bob Gibson retired, the hardware and appliance section was bought by the Carolans, and the drygoods section was purchased by the Mazurs. In 1974, twin brothers Stan and Len Jones built Cedar Grove Mall, Sooke’s first shopping mall, which faced onto Sooke Road.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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