It looks a bit different today, but this is the way Sooke’s busiest intersection looked in 1916. (Sooke Region Museum)

SOOKE HISTORY: How Sooke’s downtown core developed

Elida Peers | Contributed

It looks a bit different today, but this is the way Sooke’s busiest intersection looked in 1916.

If you stood at the Otter Point Road junction at Grant Road today, and looked towards the harbour front, you would see many lanes and a traffic light, as traffic flows onto Murray Road, or onto Otter Point Road, or head west (right) toward West Coast Road.

The photo came to us from the collection of Frances Sullivan, whose dad, Eustace Arden, built the store at the corner in 1909.

When Frances Arden was a baby, her mom, who minded the store, brought her to work, setting her bassinet on the counter. Eustace Arden drove a horse stage to Victoria, while his wife Anne (Sanderson) sold general goods in the store.

At the top of the rise where the photographer would be standing for this photo, Eustace kept the stables for his horses, just about where the SeaFlora outlet is today.

In 1912 when Eustace Arden got the position of lightkeeper at Sheringham Point, the store was taken over by his wife’s aunt, Caroline Sanderson. George Throup, who farmed north of the road we call Throup Road today, on land which now houses Ecole Poirier and Journey Middle school, married Caroline Sanderson, and so the building became well known as the Throup Store.

The structure remains today, a timeless landmark which still serves customers at Sooke’s busiest street corner, alongside our first traffic light, which was installed in 1983.

The hip roofed house seen at the right of the store was built as the Arden home, and later housed younger generations of that family. On the right of that, one can see the old Sooke Hall, which had been built by a partnership of John Murray, Dr. Richard Felton, Adam Godtel, and Caroline Throup.

For a time later, after the Sooke Community Hall was built by volunteers on Arden land nearby, that same corner site held the cenotaph, and nowadays it holds the three-storey Sheilds Business Centre, built by Shane Fedosenko.

On the left edge of the photo one sees the hip-roofed home of Adam Godtel which was moved over to Grant Road later on; a bowling alley was next to be built in that area, by Bob Hughes. Today a business block housing the Route 14 Bistro and a series of other businesses operates on the site of the former bowling alley and the Godtel house.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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